Rod Pricing

One might call it Rod Pricing instead of Road Pricing, given the important role that Rod Eddington of Eddington Report fame is having on the Road Pricing debate over here. Two articles from the anti-pricing Telegraph
* here and
* here
discuss the issue. Rod seems to have introduced some sense into the argument, suggesting it is only appropriate for city centers. In economic jargon, this is the area where marginal costs are increasing. On uncongested roads, marginal costs per use are falling or zero, the fixed cost of the road is spread across more users, but congestion has yet to set in. (This of course is concerned with congestion costs and construction costs, not environment costs, which should be dealt with differently).
The government moving towards zones (or cordons) is some progress on the issue. One must ask though whether the collection costs will be larger than the revenue in rural areas (I strongly suspect they will), or whether a few pence per mile will affect behavior much (I suspect it won’t).
Andrew Odlyzko and I recently (two days ago) finished a draft paper on the subject “Too expensive to meter: The influence of transaction costs in transportation and communication”, which he has put on his website
at
this link