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Essays on transportation economics and policy Wan, Yulai

Abstract

This dissertation focuses on two major topics in transportation. The first one is related to hinterland accessibility of seaports. We analytically examine the interaction between urban road congestion and competition of two seaports on a common hinterland. An increase in road capacity by a chain will improve its port’s profit while reducing the rival port’s profit. The impact of levying road tolls and the optimal road pricing rules are also discussed. Given the above theoretical predictions, we empirically investigate the impacts of hinterland access conditions, especially urban road congestion, on the competition between as well as efficiency of major container ports in the United States. We find that more delays on urban roads may cause shippers to switch to competing rival ports. Adding local roads tends to benefit the port and harm its rival (in terms of throughput) by reducing road congestion. In general, there is a negative association between road congestion around the port and port productivity. However, this relationship tends to be negligible for primary ports of entry which enjoy substantially larger container throughput volume. We further investigate the strategic investment decisions of local governments on inland transportation infrastructure in the context of seaport competition. The two seaports and the common hinterland belong to three independent local governments, each determining the level of investment for its own inland transportation system. We examine the non-cooperative optimal investment decisions made by local governments, as well as the equilibrium investment levels under various coalitions of local governments. The second topic is related to airport congestion pricing. We study airport pricing with aeronautical and non-aeronautical services, incorporating the connection between congestion delay and consumption of non-aeronautical services (an aspect that has been neglected by previous studies), and the effect of passenger types. The resulting pricing rule includes two extra terms missing in the literature. Then, we model terminal congestion and runway congestion separately to accommodate their respective characteristics and identify a number of aspects in the optimal pricing rule which differ from those in the literature.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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