The impact of anti-congestion policies on fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and urban sprawl: Application of RELU-TRAN2, a CGE model
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RELU-TRAN (Regional Economy and Land Use and Transportation) is a numerically solvable general equilibrium model (Anas and Liu, 2007), which treats in a unified manner the regional economy, urban land use and urban personal transportation sectors. In this dissertation, the model is extended by adding the consumer-workers’ choice of private vehicle type according to the vehicle’s fuel economy, by treating congestion on local roads as well as on major roads and by introducing car fuel consumption as a function of congested vehicle speed. By making the extensions, the model becomes more suitable to analyze the fuel consumption and CO2 emission consequences of urban development. The model is calibrated and simulated for the Chicago metropolitan area. By adjusting the model to the longer time span gradually, the shortand long-run price elasticities of fuel consumption are examined. As the time span becomes longer, fuel consumption becomes more elastic with respect to gasoline price, but when technological improvements in car fuel economy over comparable time spans are introduced exogenously, then the elasticity of fuel with respect to gasoline price becomes similar to that estimated in the econometric literature. Comparative statics exercises show that, if travel by auto becomes relatively more attractive in terms of travel time or travel cost than travel by public transit, then the Chicago MSA becomes more sprawled in total developed land area, whereas if public transit travel becomes relatively more attractive, then the Chicago MSA becomes more centralized. To mitigate fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, relative effectiveness of quasi-Pigouvian congestion tolls, a fuel tax on gasoline, a cordon toll around the downtown and a downtown parking fee are tested. All of these policies successfully reduce the aggregate fuel consumption and CO2. The urban growth boundary (UGB) is an alternative policy tested by the model. The UGB directly makes the Chicago MSA more centralized by prohibiting the development into urban use of a part of the vacant land in the suburban areas. The UGB also reduces aggregate fuel and CO2 emissions, but the impact is much smaller than the quasi-Pigouvian toll. Although Chicago MSA is centralized by both the UGB and the quasi-Pigouvian toll, the auto travel is directly discouraged by quasi-Pigouvian toll and but not by the UGB.