Reducing Traffic Congestion in Beirut: An Empirical Analysis of Selected Policy Options

100 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2017

See all articles by Alex Anas

Alex Anas

SUNY at Buffalo, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Economics

Sayan De Sarkar

SUNY at Buffalo, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Economics

Maya Abou Zeid

American University of Beirut - Faculty of Engineering & Architecture

Govinda R. Timilsina

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Ziad Salim El Nakat

World Bank

Date Written: August 3, 2017

Abstract

Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, faces huge traffic congestion, the cost of which is estimated to be more than 2 percent of the city's gross regional product. Effective policies are needed, based on weighing their overall economic cost and benefit to society. This study developed an empirical model based on microeconomic theory, accounting for production and consumption behavior related to transportation in the Greater Beirut Area, to simulate various policy combinations. A key finding of the study is that individual supply-side policies, such as the expansion of roads or introduction of a bus rapid transit system, are quite effective at reducing traffic congestion while increasing economic output and welfare. They also account for most of the benefits from implementing policy packages with supply- and demand-side measures. The introduction of bus rapid transit with expansion of the road system to feed the bus rapid transit system reduces congestion by about 16 percent and congestion costs by more than 50 percent. This would increase Beirut's gross regional product by roughly 2 percent, and the average social welfare of the residents of Beirut by 4 percent. In contrast, demand-side instruments, implemented alone, lower gross regional product and welfare with limited effects on congestion.

Keywords: City to City Alliances, Regional Urban Development, Urban Economics, Urban Economic Development, Urban Communities, Urban Transport, National Urban Development Policies & Strategies, Transport Indicators, Transport Economics Policy & Planning, Transport in Urban Areas

Suggested Citation

Anas, Alex and De Sarkar, Sayan and Abou Zeid, Maya and Timilsina, Govinda R. and El Nakat, Ziad Salim, Reducing Traffic Congestion in Beirut: An Empirical Analysis of Selected Policy Options (August 3, 2017). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8158. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3013433

Alex Anas (Contact Author)

SUNY at Buffalo, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

415 Fronczak Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
United States

Sayan De Sarkar

SUNY at Buffalo, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

Buffalo, NY 14260
United States

Maya Abou Zeid

American University of Beirut - Faculty of Engineering & Architecture ( email )

Bliss Street, PO Box 11-0236
Beirut
Lebanon

Govinda R. Timilsina

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street NW
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Ziad Salim El Nakat

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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