Forecasting effects of congestion charges

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Jens West
Leonid Engelsson

This paper performs an ex-post evaluation of the transport model forecast of the effects of the Gothenburg congestion charges, implemented in 2013. We find that the predicted traffic reductions across the cordon and travel time gains were close to those observed in the peak. However, the reduction in traffic across the cordon was under-predicted in off-peak. The design of the charging system implies that the path disutility cannot be computed as a sum of link attributes. The route choice model is therefore implemented as a hierarchical algorithm, including a continuous value of travel time (VTT) distribution. The VTT distribution was estimated from stated choice (SC) data, but had to be adjusted to be consistent with observed outcome. One reason for the discrepancy may be that VTT inferred from SC data does not reveal travellers’ long-term preferences. Another reason may be that apart from distance, travel time and charge there are other factors that determine drivers’ route choice.

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