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Creating a market for road use rights

School of Social Sciences

Dundee United Kingdom Civil Engineering Energy Technologies Environmental Engineering Operational Research Architecture, Building & Planning Economics Law Software Engineering Statistics

About the Project

Please note: there is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.

Traffic congestion is globally one of the most costly and pervasive societal problems. Vehicles impose four main categories of costs on society: congestion (e.g. loss of time, traffic management), accident externalities, pollution, and road damage. Urban adaptation, such as investments in upgraded transport systems or climate-resilient construction, could result in “one of the largest global infrastructure build-outs in history.” It is vital, therefore, to find and convey the appropriate signals for commercial opportunities monetising potential adaptation benefits. One of the most important signals is the determination of optimal prices incentivising efficient decisions not only for road use in the short run, but also for road system capacity investment in the long run. In principle, road-specific fees on motorists using congestible roads induce them to account for the negative social costs their road use imposes on fellow commuters (i.e. aggregate wages foregone). In practice, technology enables the efficient scheduling and real-time pricing of road use in order to manage traffic congestion, enhance safety, reduce pollution, and raise revenue for transport infrastructure improvements.
The concept of efficient network capacity pricing is well established in wholesale electricity markets. Efficient road use pricing, however, has become feasible only recently due to the availability of technology allowing, in real time, the communication of user preferences and the optimisation of transport routes. The established tools of energy commodity trading, such as continuous portfolio optimisation, can then be deployed in the setting of a road system. In particular, innovative approaches to road capacity allocation, including a tradable credit scheme or ride-sharing services, have the potential to transform the overarching framework of urban mobility. Moreover, purpose-built apps expand route choice and assist the risk mitigation of accidents and pollution, and appropriate laws, regulations, and spatial or temporal markets are established to support novel approaches to financing. There is, therefore, a genuine prospect not only for the provision of timely and convenient transportation services, but also for the education of road users on climate change adaption benefits. Given the relative propensities for market or state failure, how could society reckon the net benefits of alternative policies for road capacity allocation, such as the creation of markets, the imposition of Pigouvian taxes, or the establishment of command-and-control regulation?

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Rafael Emmanuel Macatangay ()
For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Applicants must have obtained a 2.1 UK honours degree or higher in a relevant discipline, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK. Applicants should normally have a good taught Masters degree (e.g. an average of B or higher) or equivalent in a relevant discipline from a recognised university.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 5.5 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s English language requirements are available online:


Step 1: Email Dr Rafael Emmanuel Macatangay () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Dr Macatangay, formal applications can be made via UCAS Postgraduate. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy: Select the start date and study mode (full-time/part-time) agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the ‘provider questions’ section of the application form:
- Write the project title and ‘’ in the ‘if your application is in response to an advertisement’ box;
- Write the lead supervisor’s name and give brief details of your previous contact with them in the ‘previous contact with the University of Dundee’ box.

In the ‘personal statement’ section of the application form, outline your suitability for the project selected.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.


Alonso-Moraa J, Samaranayake S, Wallar A, Frazzoli E, Rus D (2017) “On-demand high-capacity ride-sharing via dynamic trip-vehicle assignment” PNAS 114(3) 462-467

Anderson S, Anderson T, Hill A, Kahn M, KunreutherH, LibecapG, MantripragadaH, MérelP, PlantingaA, Smith V K (2019) “The Critical Role of Markets in Climate Change Adaptation” Climate Change Economics 10(1)

Cramton P, Geddes R, Ockenfels A (2019) “Markets for Road Use: Eliminating Congestion through Scheduling, Routing, and Real-Time Road Pricing” University of Maryland working paper, 15 April 2019

Hakam D, Macatangay R (2018) “Optimising Indonesia’s electricity market structure: evidence of Sumatra and Java-Bali power system” Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Industrial Technology. Lyon, France: IEEE

Hau D (1992) “Economic fundamentals of road pricing: A diagrammatic analysis” World Bank WPS 1070

Hindlian A, Lawson S, Banerjee S, Duggan D, Hinds M (2019) “Taking the heat: Making cities resilient to climate change” Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research

Macatangay R, Rieu-Clarke A (2018) “The role of valuation and bargaining in optimising transboundary watercourse treaty regimes” International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics

Newbery D (1988) “Road user charges in Britain” Economic Journal 98(390) Supplement: Conference Papers 161-176

Salant S, Seegert N (2018) “Should Congestion Tolls be Set by the Government or by the Private Sector? The Knight-Pigou Debate Revisited” Economica 85, 428-448 https://doi:10.1111/ecca.12259

Xiao L, Huang H-J, Liu R (2015) “Tradable credit scheme for rush hour travel choice with heterogeneous commuters” Advances in Mechanical Engineering 7(10) 1-12 https://10.1177/1687814015612430

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