The objectives of our research in transportation economics and related areas revolve around (a) gaining a better understanding of socioeconomic impacts of congestion and various congestion-mitigating strategies such as congestion pricing, road space rationing and tradable mobility credits, (b) designing efficient and practical congestion-mitigating strategies that are market-based and more acceptable to the public; (c) investigating new alternatives for transportation financing via, e.g.., public-private partnerships, and (d) developing methodologies to evaluate and prioritize multimodal transportation projects.

Example Projects

“Pareto-Improving Road Pricing Schemes for Sustainable Mobility” (May 2007April 2011, PI: S. Lawphongpanich; Co-PI. Y. Yin; Funded by National Science Foundation).

This project seeks pricing schemes in an urban network that reduce congestion without making anyone worse off. The results demonstrated that Pareto-improving tolls may exist in vehicular or multimodal networks with heterogeneous users, and mathematical programs with complementarity constraints are formulated for finding Pareto-improving tolls. Additionally, this research provides mechanisms for developing pricing schemes that have a better chance of gaining public acceptance and lead to sustainable mobility.

“From Pricing to Cap-and-Trade: Analysis and Design of a Quantity-based Approach to Congestion Management” (September 2012–August 2014, PI: Y. Yin; Funded by National Science Foundation) 

This project offers the first comprehensive comparative study of the quantity-based (i.e., tradable mobility credits) and price-based (i.e., congestion pricing) approaches in travel demand management. The project generates analytical tools for explaining the underlying working mechanism of a tradable credit scheme with much enhanced representation of traffic and behavioral realism as well as establishing a blueprint for optimizing its implementation and design.


Abhinav Alakshendra, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Zhong-Ren Peng
Department of Urban and Regional Planning