Roundtables on Transport Economics



Valuing Convenience in Public Transport.  Roundtable Report 156 Valuing Convenience in Public Transport
Roundtable Report 156

The experience of transport systems users, in terms of comfort, reliability, safety and above all convenience, is critical in determining demand for transport services, at least when there is a choice of alternative ways to travel. Convenience is one of the strongest attractions of the private car for passenger transport. For users of public transport, convenience is also clearly important but not always clearly defined and not often measured in designing transport systems or monitoring their operating performance. In many situations, an increase in public transport convenience reduces the unit costs of travel (euros/dollars per hour or cents per minute) and so provides benefits equivalent to an increase in travel speed.

This report focuses on convenience and its importance to the user experience. It reviews operational definitions of convenience, evidence for the willingness of users to pay for convenience and the use of indicators to assess and improve the convenience of public transport, with a view to making it more effective and more competitive.

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180 pages; OECD, Paris, January 2015
€50 ;  $70 ;  £45 ;  ¥6 500 ;  MXN900
ISBN 978-92-821-0767-6

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Other languages: Évaluer la commodité d'usage des transports publics
The Economics of Investment in High-Speed Rail.  Roundtable report 155 The Economics of Investment in High-Speed Rail
Roundtable Report 155

High-speed trains can compete successfully with road, air and conventional rail services on densely trafficked routes where willingness to pay is sufficient at the relatively elevated fare levels needed to cover costs. High-speed rail investments can also relieve congestion on the conventional rail network, and the capacity for high-speed rail to provide fast city centre to city centre services creates new possibilities for day-return business trips and short-stay leisure trips.

The long cost recovery periods for high-speed lines imply government involvement in the financing of most investments. The high costs mean that governments can be exposed to accumulation of large debts, particularly if demand develops more slowly than expected. Where high-speed rail investments are designed to promote regional integration rather than meet commercial demand, significant subsidy from central and regional governments will be needed for the construction of infrastructure and possibly also for train operations.

This report examines the key factors that drive the costs of high-speed rail investment and reviews the economic benefits delivered by high-speed rail services on the basis of experience in countries that have developed large high-speed rail networks.

Go to summary and conclusions publication      Other languages: L’économie de l’investissement dansla grande vitesse ferroviaire. Synthèse et conclusionsde la table ronde

180 pages; OECD, Paris, January 2015
€57 ;  $80 ;  £52 ;  ¥7 400 ;  MXN1030
ISBN 978-92-821-0774-4

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Major Transport Infrastructure Projects and Economic Development.  Roundtable Report 154 Major Transport Infrastructure Projects and Economic Development
Roundtable Report 154

This report discusses the state of the art in understanding the economic effects of major transport infrastructure projects. It examines the limits of socio-economic cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and reviews the development of complementary and alternative approaches to assessing the benefits of investment in large, transformative projects. CBA has proved a reliable tool for ranking projects that are similar and for assessing investments that make marginal improvements to the transport system. It is much less suited to projects designed to transform the economy or for comparing transport investments designed to enhance regional economic productivity with non-transport uses of public funds to promote growth. In particular CBA does not capture all the wider benefits of transport investments, notably agglomeration effects and responses in labour markets to improved access to jobs. At the same time, the benefits of investment can be communicated with most audiences much more effectively in terms of impacts on jobs and GDP than time savings and net socio-economic welfare benefits – the language of CBA.

For all these reasons attention in many jurisdictions is focusing on examining wider economic effects, in addition to standard project appraisal. The microeconomic and macroeconomic tools available to do this have improved markedly in the last decade but are far from mature and require significant resources. For large public investments, particularly where projects are designed to drive development and transform productivity rather than simply release bottlenecks in the existing transport network, the additional evaluation effort is worthwhile and critical to identifying the full value of the project. This report focuses on practical appraisal tools developed for assessment of the Grand Paris super-metro and London’s Crossrail project.

136 pages; OECD, Paris, January 2015
€40 ;  $56 ;  £36 ;  ¥5 220 ;  MXN 720
ISBN 978-92-821-0771-3

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Other languages: Grands projets d'infrastructures de transport et développement économique
Expanding Airport Capacity in Large Urban Areas . Expanding Airport Capacity in Large Urban Areas  Expanding Airport Capacity in Large Urban Areas
Roundtable Report 153

Expanding airport capacity in large metropolitan areas is difficult. Community agreements on noise constrain growth at existing airports. Land prices can be prohibitive for relocating airports. Most new sites require extensive investment in surface transport links to city centres. In multi-airport regions, options for expansion at the airports are to an extent interdependent, complicating assessment of whether to build new runways.

Many major airports are hubs for network carriers at the same time as serving a large local market. The complementarity between these functions may be a prerequisite for viable network operations, suggesting that distributing services over multiple airports instead of expanding the main hub would be costly. Hub airports and their network carriers often compete with hubs in neighbouring regions. The strategies of network carriers and potential new entrants to this part of the market need to be taken into account in assessing future demand for airport capacity. The requirements of low cost and other point-to-point carriers are equally important, but different.

This report reviews international experience in reconciling planning and environmental constraints with demand for airport capacity and the potential benefits in terms of productivity and growth from developing international airline services. Experience is compared in London, New York, Tokyo, Osaka, Sydney and in Germany’s main airports with particular attention to the dynamics of airline markets and implications for airport planning in multi-airport cities.

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172 pages; OECD, Paris, May 2014
€60 ;  $84 ;  £54 ;  ¥7 800
ISBN 978-92-821-0738-6

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 Long-Run Trends in Car Use
Roundtable 152

The growth of car use in several advanced economies has slowed down, stopped, or turned negative. The change can not be attributed to adverse economic conditions alone. Socio-demographic factors, including population ageing and changing patterns of education, working, and household composition matter. Rising urbanisation and less car-oriented policies in some cities also reduce the growth of car use, perhaps combined with changing attitudes towards mobility. Some groups choose to use cars less, others are forced to.

This report summarises insights into the drivers of change in car use. It shows that explanations are place-specific, and that projections of future car use are increasingly uncertain. The task for policy-makers is to identify mobility strategies that are robust under an increasingly wide range of plausible scenarios.

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160 pages; OECD, Paris, January 2014
€45 ;  $63 ;  £40 ;  ¥5 800
ISBN 978-92-821-0592-4

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Better Regulation of Public-Private Partnerships for Transport Infrastructure Better Regulation of Public-Private Partnerships for Transport Infrastructure
Roundtable 151

Many governments seek to attract private finance for infrastructure through public-private partnerships (PPPs) in order to maintain investment at the same time as limiting public spending. Experience with PPPs has, however, been mixed. Some transport PPP projects have delivered major cost savings but many more have exceeded their budgets. PPPs are prone to overestimating revenues and when projects run into financial difficulty, risks have a tendency to revert to the taxpayer.

The report examines the nature of risks and uncertainty associated with different types of PPP project and the practical consequences of transferring risks to private partners. It assesses the fiscal impact of PPPs and discusses budget procedures and accounting rules to limit the public liabilities they can create. The report also reviews the relative merits of tolls, availability payments and regulated asset base models for attracting finance for public infrastructure from private investors on a sustainable basis.

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228 pages; OECD, Paris, September 2013
€45 ;  $63 ;  £40 ;  ¥5 800
ISBN 978-92-821-0394-4

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Better Economic Regulation: The Role of the Regulator
Roundable 150

Efficient provision of transport infrastructure is critical to economic growth. The long asset lives of much transport infrastructure indicates governance through regulation, rather than through contract or public ownership. This can ensure predictability in long-term relationships whilst preserving some flexibility to deal with changes in external circumstances.

The transparency created by a fully independent regulator is invaluable for ensuring sufficient investment is forthcoming, while maintaining reasonable conditions for user access. Discussion at the Roundtable focussed on how to achieve effective independent regulation and how to reconcile independence with the legitimate control of policy by the executive part of government.

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117 pages; OECD, Paris, May 2011
€31 ;  $44 ;  £28 ;  ¥4000
ISBN 978-92-821-0327-2

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Other languages: De meilleures réglementations : Le rôle du régulateur. Cliquez pour accéder à la librairie en ligne de l'OCDE

Improving the Practice of Transport Project Appraisal
Roundtable 149

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is indispensable for making good decisions on what transport projects to fund. It essentially aims to figure out which projects offer the best value for money. However, the practical relevance of CBA does not always live up to its appeal in principle. One problem is that there is sometimes disagreement over what to include in CBA, both on the cost side and the benefits side of the analysis. As a result, value for money is not always fully transparent. More politically, value for money is only a partial criterion for decision-making, leading to disagreement about the relative importance of the results from CBA compared to other inputs to the decision-making process..

This report examines the extent to which these shortcomings can be addressed. In terms of what to include in CBA, discussion focuses on equity and distributional impacts, productivity effects, agglomeration benefits and external costs. The focus then turns to how best to present guidance on project selection to decision makers. The report includes papers on the way CBA is used in three countries – France, Mexico and the United Kingdom – and how it is evolving in response to changing policy priorities.

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112 pages; OECD, Paris, April 2011
€43 ;  $60 ;  £38 ;  ¥5500
ISBN 978-92-821-0129-2

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Other languages: Améliorer la pratique de l'évaluation des projets de transport. Cliquez pour accéder à la librairie en ligne de l'OCDE

Stimulating Low-Carbon Vehicle Technologies
Round Table 148

Governments around the world are increasingly intervening in automobile markets to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions of CO2 from new vehicles. This report reviews the rationale for such intervention and examines measures for maximum effectiveness and minimum cost.

The Round Table brought together economists, policy makers and auto engineers with the aim of advancing understanding of why car markets currently fail to deliver sufficient fuel economy. It started by questioning whether any additional measures would be necessary once an appropriate price for carbon dioxide is established via fuel taxes. It confirmed that there are indeed market imperfections that merit additional government intervention. Fuel economy and CO2 regulations are an essential part of the package. The key to maximising the benefits of such regulations is long-term planning. The longer the timeframe, the less industry investment is handicapped by uncertainty.

Subsidies to electric vehicles are more problematic because of the risks of prematurely picking winning technologies and creating subsidy dependence. And electricity production has yet to be decarbonised. However, intervention to steer innovation in this direction is merited so long as the risks of not attaining climate policy targets are seen as higher than the risks of intervention.

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164 pages; OECD, Paris, January 2011
€65 ;  $91 ;  £58 ;  ¥8400
ISBN 978-92-821-0291-6

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Implementing Congestion Charges
Round Table 147

Recent advances in the scientific understanding of urban traffic congestion have only strengthened the already solid case for congestion charges as an element of a successful urban transport policy. But examples of real-world congestion charging systems remain few and far between. What can be done to improve the chances of their more widespread adoption in practice? This report draws lessons from attempts to introduce congestion charges.

Technology is not an obstacle, and technologies should serve policy purposes instead of define them. Charging systems are not cheap and thus should only be used where congestion is severe. Public acceptance is seen to be the key to successful implementation. Although environmental benefits and careful deployment of toll revenues may improve acceptance, a charging system should never lose sight of its principal aim, which is to reduce congestion.

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147 pages; OECD, Paris, September 2010
€65 ;  $91 ;  £58 ;  ¥8400
ISBN 978-92-821-0284-8

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Integration and Competition between Transport and Logistics Businesses
Round Table 146

Some very large multinational transport and logistics firms have emerged to provide integrated transport services to shippers in the globalised economy. Do these firms escape regulatory oversight from national competition authorities because of their sheer scale? Do they pose additional threats to competition when they merge with or acquire other companies in the supply chain?

The Round Table brought competition experts together with researchers on maritime shipping, rail freight and logistics to identify critical competition issues and appropriate regulatory responses. An examination of the strategies of transport and logistics companies reveals that vertical integration can yield efficiencies but usually reflects a need to improve the use of expensive fixed assets rather than control all parts of the supply chain. This usually explains why shipping lines acquire terminal operators. Horizontal acquisitions, where similar companies serving the same market merge, are more likely to raise competition concerns. Problems are particularly prone to arise at bottleneck infrastructure facilities.

The Round Table report provides an economic framework for examining competition in global transport and logistics businesses, it discusses the adequacy of the remedies available to regulators when competition is threatened and explores the role of competition authorities and Transport Ministries in ensuring markets are efficient.

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184 pages; OECD, Paris, March 2010
€65 ;  $91 ;  £58 ;  ¥6.400
ISBN 978-92-821-0259-6

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Competitive Interaction between Airports, Airlines and High-Speed Rail
Round Table 145

How should airports be regulated to contain market power? This report first examines whether they need to be regulated at all. It concluded that because regulation is inevitably imperfect and costly, policy makers should establish conditions for competition to emerge between airports in preference to comprehensive regulation, whenever possible.

Economic regulation is sometimes necessary, such as when airports are heavily congested. The report determines which approaches are likely to work best and also assesses strategies for managing greenhouse gas emissions. It finds that although including aviation in an open emission trading scheme could help mitigate emissions efficiently across the economy, it should not be expected to produce major cuts in CO2 emissions in aviation itself.

Finally the report identifies the economic conditions under which high-speed rail can provide a competitive substitute for aviation, revealing the limited relevance of rail to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from this part of the transport market

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208 pages; OECD, Paris, November 2009
€70 ;  $94 ;  £59 ;  ¥8.700
ISBN 978-92-821-0245-9

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Terrorism and International Transport: Towards Risk-Based Security Policy
Round Table 144

Security is critical to transport systems as they are often appealing targets for terrorist attacks. The significant costs of potential damage make effective security policies a key concern for transport decision makers. This Round Table examines the contribution economic analysis can make to improving security.

The analysis covers the impact of uncertainty in assessing security policies and on the cost effectiveness of security measures in aviation and maritime shipping. Much can be criticised in current policies, which are often seen as unduly expensive and inadequately assessed. This Round Table identifies methods for quantifying the benefits of security measures and assessing their effectiveness, and examines techniques to allocate resources to targeting the highest risks. Applying these techniques would achieve better levels of security with current resources.

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150 pages; OECD, Paris, May 2009
€50 ;  $67;  £42 ;  ¥6200
ISBN 978-92-821-0231-2
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Port Competition and Hinterland Connections
Round Table 143

This Round Table discusses the policy and regulatory challenges posed by the rapidly changing port environment.

The sector has changed tremendously in recent decades with technological and organisational innovation and a powerful expansion of trade. Although ports serve hinterlands that now run deep into continents, competition among ports is increasingly intense and their bargaining power in the supply chain has consequently weakened. Integration of supply-chain operations on a global scale has greatly increased productivity but raises issues of both competition and sustainability.

Concentration among shipping lines and terminal operators may generate market power. National competition authorities have the power to address this but might not fully appreciate the international dimension. Greater port throughput meets with decreasing resistance from local communities because of pollution and congestion. In addition, local regulation is warranted but made difficult by the distribution of bargaining power among stakeholders. Higher-level authorities could develop more effective policies.

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176 pages; OECD, Paris, July 2009
€52 ;  $69.60;  £44 ;  ¥6480
ISBN 978-92-821-0224-4
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The Cost and Effectiveness of Policies to Reduce Vehicle Emissions
Round Table 142

Transport sector policies already contribute to moderating greenhouse gas emissions from road vehicles. They are increasingly designed to contribute to overall societal targets to mitigate climate change. While abatement costs in transport are relatively high, there are plausible arguments in favour of further abatement in this sector.

Fuel taxes are a good instrument. Fuel economy standards are potentially justified because of the limited performance of markets in terms of improving fuel economy. The empirical basis to decide upon combinations of fuel economy standards and fuel taxes, however, remain weak.

This Round Table Fuel taxes are a good instrument. Fuel economy standards are potentially justified because of the limited performance of markets in terms of improving fuel economy. The empirical basis to decide upon combinations of fuel economy standards and fuel taxes, however, remain weak.

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180 pages; OECD, Paris, December 2008
€65 ;  $92 ;  £50 ;  ¥9.700
ISBN 978-92-821-0212-1

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Privatisation and Regulation of Urban Transit System
Round Table 141

Urban public transport services generally run at a large deficit. This has led public authorities to seek efficiencies, notably through private sector involvement. Private entry is complicated by the essential network characteristics of public transport, with parts of the network potentially profitable and others perennially unprofitable.

Support for the sector traditionally seeks to provide basic mobility services to all segments of society, including low-income users. Intervention is also required to manage the natural tendency towards concentration and market power in the provision of these transport services. Policy towards urban public transport is increasingly aimed at managing congestion on the roads and mitigating CO2 emissions by substituting for travel by car. The sprawl of cities complicates the regulatory environment as responsibilities tend to be split among different institutional levels.

Achieving coherent transport networks that are efficient and financially sustainable is a challenge for any public authority. This Round Table examines experience in integrating private management and capital with public transport policy objectives in a number of developed economies. For network operators, the Round Table concludes that innovation is the key to surviving the rapidly changing policy and regulatory environment.

152 pages; OECD, Paris, October 2008
€50 ;  $77;  £39 ;  ¥8 000
ISBN 978-92-821-0199-5

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The Wider Economic Benefits of Transport
Macro-, Meso- and Micro-Economic Transport Planning and Investment Tools
Round Table 140

The standard cost-benefit analysis of transport infrastructure investment projects weighs a project's costs against users' benefits. This approach has been challenged on the grounds that it ignores wider economic impacts of such projects. Since there is empirical evidence that these effects can be substantial, relying on the standard approach potentially produces misleading results.

At the International Transport Forum Round Table, leading academics and practitioners addressed these concerns and examined a range of potential approaches for evaluating wider impacts - negative as well as positive. They concluded that for smaller projects, it is better to focus on timely availability of results, even if this means forgoing sophisticated analysis of wider impacts. For larger projects or investment programs, customized analysis of these effects is more easily justifiable. Creating consistent appraisal procedures is a research priority.

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208 pages; OECD, Paris, July 2008
€75 ;  $116 ;  £54 ;  ¥10.400
ISBN 978-92-821-0160-5
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Oil Dependence: Is Transport Running Out of Affordable Fuel?
Round Table 139

Oil consumption is increasingly concentrated in transport, and relatively limited fluctuations in transport demand can have increasingly significant effects on oil prices. Oil prices rose to all time highs at the beginning of 2008, exceeding $100 a barrel for the first time since the 1979 oil crisis. The underlying driver was demand for oil from rapidly developing economies and especially China, where transport accounts for the largest part of oil consumption.
OPEC market power is increasing as production of conventional oil outside OPEC has reached a plateau. Oil from tar sands in Canada and elsewhere is available in very large quantities, and is competitive at sustained prices above $40 a barrel. But processing such oil doubles CO2 emissions on a well-to-wheels basis compared to using conventional oil to fuel transport.

This Round Table assesses the policy instruments available to address oil security and climate change and examines their interaction with measures to manage congestion and mitigate local air pollution. A number of incompatibilities and trade-offs are identified underlining the importance of integrated policy-making.

This report includes an examination of the factors that drive oil prices in the short and long term and a discussion of the outlook for oil supply.

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Free PDF   Oil Dependence: Is Transport Running Out of Affordable Fuel?. Round Table 139.  Click to download    Pétrole et transports:La fin des carburants à prix abordable.  Cliquez pour télécharger         

210 pages; OECD, Paris, May 2008
€75 ;  $116 ;  £54 ;  ¥10.400
ISBN 978-92-821-0121-6

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Biofuels: Linking Support to Performance
Round Table 138

Biofuels received USD 15 billion in subsidies on OECD Member countries in 2007, but did they deliver benefits in terms of climate change or oil security? Present policies make no link between support for biofuels and their environmental performance, and biofuels do not all perform equally well. In fact, much of the current ethanol and biodiesel production may result in higher overall emissions of greenhouse gases than using conventional transport fuels - gasoline and diesel. The papers published in this report examine the economics of biofuels and assess the potential of conventional biofuel production in OECD countries, Brazilian ethanol exports and some second generation biofuels to supply world markets with transport fuels.

This Round Table analyses the critical issues for governments in determining support for biofuels, particularly the level of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life-cycle of these fuels and the wider environmental impacts of farming biomass. It also reviews recent progress in developing certification systems for biofuels - an essential tool for tying support to achievement in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, although certification cannot be expected to prevent rainforest destruction for the development of biofuels crop plantations. The report concludes with a short list of recommendations for policy reform if support for biofuels is to contribute effectively to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

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Other languages biocarburants : lier les politiques de soutien aux bilans  énergétiques.  Cliquez por télécharger

224 pages; OECD, Paris, March 2008
€75 ;  $105 ;  £54 ;  ¥10 400
ISBN 978-92-821-0179-7

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