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Working paper
Miquel-Àngel Garcia-López, Ilias Pasidis, Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal

2020/11: Congestion in highways when tolls and railroads matter: evidence from European cities

Using data from the 545 largest European cities, we study whether the expansion of their highway capacity provides a solution to the problem of traffic congestion. Our results confirm that in the long run, and in line with the ’fundamental law of highway congestion’, the expansion in cities of lane kilometers causes an increase in vehicle traffic that does not solve urban congestion. We disentangle the increase in traffic due to the increases in coverage and in capacity. We further introduce road pricing and public transit policies in order to test whether they moderate congestion. Our findings confirm that the induced demand is considerably smaller in cities with road pricing schemes, and that congestion decreases with the expansion of public transportation.

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