City Structure and Congestion Costs
Vancouver School of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
University of British Columbia (UBC)
March 1, 2010
Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 10-20
This paper presents a model and an automated methodology for decomposing congestion costs in cities. We model a city as a directed graph and define the planner’s problem of finding the subgraph minimizing the congestion costs (latency) of endogenously-routing traffic flowing through the subgraph. We show that the minimal total latency subnetwork displays congestion directly proportional to city population. By applying an automated search algorithm on a widely available Internet mapping application, and hence sampling from the empirically implemented subgraphs, the paper estimates the congestion-minimizing distortions of city transit networks in a large sample of United States and Italian cities.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Date posted: May 6, 2010