Estimating the marginal cost of railway track renewals using corner solution models

Mats Andersson
Andrew Smith
Phillip Wheat

Economic theory advocates marginal cost pricing for efficient utilisation of transport infrastructure. A growing body of literature has emerged on the issue of rail marginal infrastructure wear and tear costs, but the majority of the work is focused on costs for infrastructure maintenance. Railway track renewals are a substantial part of an infrastructure manager’s budget, but in disaggregated statistical analyses they cause problems for traditional regression models since there is a piling up of values of the dependent variable at zero. Previous econometric work has sought to circumvent the problem by aggregation in some way. In this paper we instead apply corner solution models to disaggregate (tracksection) data, including the zero observations. We derive track renewal cost elasticities with respect to traffic volumes and in turn marginal renewal costs using Swedish railway renewal data over the period 1999 to 2009. This paper is the first attempt in the literature to apply corner solution models, and in particular the two-part model, to disaggregate renewal cost data in railways. It is also the first paper that we are aware of to report usage elasticities specifically for renewal costs and therefore adds important new evidence to the previous literature where there is a paucity of studies on renewals and considerable uncertainty over the effects of rail traffic on renewal costs.



Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) workshop in Stockholm

An open seminar and workshop in Stockholm will be held on 25-26 April 2018. The workshop deals with the use of CBA as a basis for decision-making in the public sector. The workshop is organized by, among others, Professor Jan-Eric Nilsson, VTI.



Ulf Sandberg has been presented with the TTI Lifetime Achievement Award 2018

VTI’s Senior Research Leader Ulf Sandberg has been presented with the TTI Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 for his work on research into tyres and road surface.


Steps need to be taken to increase traffic safety of automated cars

Several steps are necessary to ensure that automated and connected cars will lead to increased traffic safety – everything from ensuring that technology takes vulnerable road users into account, to new forms of driver training. This has emerged in a position...


FALCON examines challenges in the transport sector

VTI is one of several important partners in the major FALCON project*, whose purpose is to create knowledge and insight regarding the transport sector. In an initial subproject, VTI has produced a manual on transport, logistics and multimodality.


VTI joined research cooperation in China

In December 2017 VTI became a member of China-Sweden Research Centre for Traffic Safety (CTS).


Swedish German research collaboration on Electric Road Systems

The project “Swedish-German research collaboration on Electric Road Systems” (CollERS) has now officially started. The goal of the project is to increase the common knowledge around Electric Road Systems by cooperation between Germany and Sweden and to...


Electric Road Systems Conference 2018

After a successful first conference in June 2017, the Swedish research and innovation platform for electric roads is arranging the second dedicated International Conference on Electric Road Systems (ERS) June 13th and 14th 2018.