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Empirical Essays on Railway Infrastructure Costs in Sweden
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport and Economics (closed 20110301), Transport and Location Analysis (closed 20110301).
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The subject of this thesis concerns pricing the use of transport infrastructure. We are empirically investigating the relationship between railway traffic volumes and infrastructure management costs. More specifically, we are interested in estimating the change in infrastructure management costs from marginal variations in traffic volumes, i.e. to estimate the marginal cost of railway infrastructure wear and tear. Both Europe and Sweden have moved towards a marginal cost based transport pricing policy, thus driving the need for more empirical work on rail infrastructure costs to underpin the level of a wear and tear charge. The thesis consists of five papers. In paper I, the data situation for planning railway maintenance and renewal is surveyed internationally. The survey indicates that most infrastructure managers are still in the data gathering phase, rather than ready to use modern computerised planning tools to make sound decisions in the field of maintenance and renewal. In paper II, we investigate the data situation for infrastructure cost analysis in Sweden. A panel data set that consists of cost, traffic and infrastructure information is created. The data covers 1999-2002 and contains almost 190 annual observations. Three main cost categories are identified; infrastructure operation, maintenance and renewal. This data is used for estimations of cost functions in paper II, III and V. Econometric techniques are applied for this purpose, with several different model specifications. In paper II, the method of pooled ordinary least squares (POLS) is applied. In paper III, we turn to unobserved effects models to exploit data heterogeneity. Finally in paper V, a dynamic generalised method of moments estimator is used to explore a potential dynamic cost dependency. The main findings are that the POLS approach, which has been used in similar studies in Europe recently, is rejected in favour of fixed effects estimation for this data. Furthermore, we also reject the idea of regression analysis to capture marginal rail renewal costs. In paper IV, we suggest an analytical expression combined with survival analysis of rail ages to estimate marginal renewal costs. We derive elasticities with respect to output as well as marginal costs for the different cost categories, and find that the current charge for wear and tear in Sweden is well below these new estimates. This opens up for increased, marginal cost based rail infrastructure wear and tear charges, which would reduce the financial burden on Swedish tax-payers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2007.
Series
Trita-TEC-PHD, ISSN 1653-4468 ; 07:002
Keyword [en]
Railways, Infrastructure, Marginal Costs, Maintenance, Renewal, Econometrics, Panel Data, Survival Analysis
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4398ISBN: 978-91-85539-18-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4398DiVA: diva2:12129
Public defence
2007-06-07, Sal D3, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100622Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2012-03-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Collection and Use of Railway Track Performance and Maintenance Data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Collection and Use of Railway Track Performance and Maintenance Data
2004 (English)In: New Horizons for Rail: Proceedings of CORE (Conference On Railway Engineering) 2004, 2004Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

There is increasing pressure for track managers to optimise the mix of infrastructure maintenance and renewal activities so that better performance can be extracted from the asset at lower operating costs. Track related data is usually collected for several purposes with different players (eg: track owners, rail operators and regulators and funding agencies) requiring data at different levels of detail and about different matters. The paper reports on a review of data collection procedures as part of a project funded by the Rail CRC, aimed at "Enhancing the Optimisation of Maintenance/Renewal." The paper also reports on preliminary outcomes of an international survey of current practice with respect to track related data collection and use.

Keyword
railway, data, maintenance, data collection, data use, survey
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7189 (URN)
Conference
Conference on Railway Engineering, 20-23 June 2004, Darwin, Australia
Note
QC 20100622Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2010-07-15Bibliographically approved
2. Marginal cost pricing of railway infrastructure operation, maintenance, and renewal in Sweden: from policy to practice through existing data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Marginal cost pricing of railway infrastructure operation, maintenance, and renewal in Sweden: from policy to practice through existing data
2006 (English)In: RAILWAYS, Washington D.C.: National research council. Transportation research board , 2006, no 1943, 1-11 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The separation of infrastructure and train operations in Europe's railway sector has increased the importance of a transparent policy for pricing infrastructure use. This paper reviews the quality of data on the Swedish railway network to allow estimation of the marginal costs of railway track wear and tear. Information about costs, traffic, and infrastructure is examined and assessed in light of an econometric modeling approach. The review shows that the basic data necessary to estimate an econometric cost function are not always at hand. In particular, no extensive time series data are available, and there are instances of partially missing data. However, some problems can be overcome through the use of data imputation techniques. A database covering 749 track section observations from 1999 to 2002 was created. Cost functions were estimated via pooled ordinary least squares, and marginal costs were calculated. Separate charging regimes for operational and maintenance costs are suggested, but more research is needed before renewal costs can be recommended for inclusion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Washington D.C.: National research council. Transportation research board, 2006
Series
Transportation research record, ISSN 0361-1981 ; 1943
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7190 (URN)000241323500001 ()0-309-09425-9 (ISBN)
Conference
85th Annual Meeting of the Transportation-Research-Board Washington, DC, JAN 22-26, 2006
Note
QC 20100622Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2012-03-20Bibliographically approved
3. Fixed effects estimation of marginal railway infrastructure costs in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fixed effects estimation of marginal railway infrastructure costs in Sweden
2007 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

New railway legislation in Sweden has increased the need for transparent access charges on the Swedish railway network. We estimate cost functions for infrastructure operation, maintenance and renewal in the Swedish national railway network, using unobserved effects models and calculate marginal costs for railway infrastructure wear and tear. We find evidence of unobserved fixed effects at a track section level for infrastructure operation and maintenance costs. The estimated weighted average marginal infrastructure operation cost is SEK 0.12 per train kilometre and the estimated marginal maintenance cost is SEK 0.0073 per gross tonne kilometre. Altogether, the results indicate that the current charge for railway infrastructure wear and tear in Sweden is below marginal cost.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
VTI, 2007
Series
Working Papers, 2007:11
Keyword
Railway; Infrastructure operation; Maintenance; Renewal; Marginal costs; Fixed effects
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7191 (URN)
Note
QC 20120515Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2012-05-15Bibliographically approved
4. Marginal railway renewal costs: a survival data approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Marginal railway renewal costs: a survival data approach
2007 (English)In: Working papers, Vol. 10Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, renewal costs for railway tracks are investigated using survival analysis. The purpose is to derive the effect from increased traffic volumes on rail renewal cycle lengths and to calculate associated marginal costs. A flow sample of censored data containing almost 1 500 observations on the Swedish main railway network is used. We specify Weibull accelerated failure time regression models, and estimate deterioration elasticities for total tonnage as well as for passenger and freight tonnages separately. Marginal costs are calculated as a change in present values of renewal costs from premature renewal following increased traffic volumes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
VTI, 2007
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7192 (URN)
Note
QC 20100622Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2012-03-20Bibliographically approved
5. Marginal railway infrastructure costs in a dynamic context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Marginal railway infrastructure costs in a dynamic context
2007 (English)In: European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research, ISSN 1567-7133, Vol. 8, no 4, 268-286 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, dynamic aspects of railway infrastructure operation and maintenance costs in Sweden are explored. Econometric cost functions are estimated to check the robustness of previous marginal cost estimates by introducing lags and leads of both dependent and independent variables. We find support for a forward-looking behaviour within the Swedish National Rail Administration (Banverket) as both infrastructure operation and maintenance costs are reduced prior to a major renewal. There are also indications of both lagged traffic and costs affecting the cost structure.

Keyword
railway, infrastructure operation, maintenance, marginal costs, panel data
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7193 (URN)000272245600001 ()
Note
QC 20100622Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2012-03-20Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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Output format
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