Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working papers in Transport Economics,
CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI)

No 2012:31: Accuracy of congestion pricing forecasts

Jonas Eliasson (), Dirk van Amelsfort , Maria Börjesson (), Karin Brundell-Freij and Leonid Engelson
Additional contact information
Jonas Eliasson: KTH, Postal: Centrum för Transportstudier (CTS), Teknikringen 10, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Dirk van Amelsfort: WSP Analysis & Strategy, Postal: Centrum för Transportstudier (CTS), Teknikringen 10, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Maria Börjesson: KTH, Postal: Centrum för Transportstudier (CTS), Teknikringen 10, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Karin Brundell-Freij: WSP Analysis & Strategy, Postal: Centrum för Transportstudier (CTS), Teknikringen 10, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Leonid Engelson: WSP Analysis & Strategy, Postal: Centrum för Transportstudier (CTS), Teknikringen 10, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper compares forecasted effects of the Stockholm congestion charges with actual outcomes. The most important concerns during the design of the congestion charging scheme were the traffic reduction in bottlenecks, the increase in public transport ridership, the decrease of vehicle kilometres in the city centre, and potential traffic effects on circumferential roads. Comparisons of forecasts and actual outcomes show that the transport model predicted all of these factors well enough to allow planners to draw correct conclusions regarding the design and preparations for the scheme. The one major shortcoming was that the static assignment network model was unable to predict the substantial reductions of queuing times. We conclude that the transport model worked well enough to be useful as decision support, performing considerably better than unaided “experts’ judgments”, but that results must be interpreted taking the model’s limitations into account. The positive experiences from the Stockholm congestion charges hence seem to be transferable to other cities in the sense that if a charging system is forecasted to have beneficial effects on congestion, then this is most likely true.

Keywords: Forecast accuracy; Congestion pricing; Model validation; Policy transfer.

JEL-codes: R41; R48

19 pages, December 21, 2012

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