Economics Seminar Series

Alexander Rothenberg, Syracuse University

Improving Mobility in Developing Country Cities: Evaluating Bus Rapid Transit and Other Policies in Jakarta

Alexander Rothenberg.

Prof. Alexander Rothenberg

Abstract: In many developing countries, urbanization is proceeding at an astonishing pace, but transport policy decisions have often not anticipated the pace of growth, leading to congestion. This paper uses reduced form and structural techniques to evaluate different transport policy options for reducing congestion in the city of Jakarta. We first study the TransJakarta Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, a public transport initiative designed to improve mobility for commuters in the greater Jakarta metropolitan area. To evaluate the system, we compare changes in outcomes for neighborhoods close to BRT stations to neighborhoods close to planned but unbuilt stations. Contrary to anecdotal evidence from other city experiences with BRT systems, we find that the BRT system did not greatly increase transit ridership or reduce motor vehicle ownership. Instead, motorcycle vehicle ownership increased substantially, while ridership in the traditional public bus system fell. Moreover, by taking up scarce road space, the BRT system exacerbated congestion on the routes it served, leading to increased travel times for other modes. To better predict the impacts of counterfactual transport policies, we estimate an equilibrium model of commuting choices with endogenous commuting times. Our findings suggest that improvements to the BRT system would only modestly impact public transit ridership. Instead, implementing congestion pricing or reducing gasoline price subsidies would have a much larger impact on mode and departure time choices.

Friday, September 20, 2019
3:30pm – 5:00pm
Fronczak 444
Small reception to follow in Room 426. All are invited to attend.