Road User Charging for Roads in Egypt: a Case Study of Cairo-Alexandria Toll Road
K Abbas, Egypt National Institute of Transport, EG
Charging road users has several purposes, the first is to provide a mechanism by which users pay for the costs they impose on the road as well as for the benefits they enjoy from using the road. In addition, road user charging represents a source of revenue for highway agencies.
In Egypt, several rural roads are operating with toll charging. However, the charged toll rates are determined based on political consensus rather than on a financial analysis. Over the years, toll revenues were foregone due to such low toll rates.
In this research, a simulation model is developed and used to compute toll rates that financially cover the costs of these roads or that are additionally equivalent to the benefits enjoyed by road users. A case study of the first and most vital toll road in Egypt, namely Cairo Alexandria desert road, is considered. Several methodological steps are followed in this research. First, costs of maintenance and operation are estimated. This is followed by estimating the generalized cost of using this road as well as of using the alternative untolled route, namely Cairo Alexandria agriculture road. Generalized costs would include the vehicle operating costs, time costs and tolls for both roads. The expected difference in the generalized costs is considered as a benefit for road users using the Cairo-Alexandria desert road.
Data is then compiled to estimate the Annual Average Daily Traffic by type of vehicle on these roads. Two toll rates per kilometer for each type of vehicle are then computed. The first is the breakeven toll rate i.e. the rate that is expected to cover the financial costs incurred by the responsible road agency. The second toll rate is the financially viable toll rate, which is expected to charge users in addition to the costs they cause by driving on the road, a compensation for the benefits they enjoy compared to the alternative road.
Based on the suggested toll rates, revenues are computed. These are compared with the currently collected revenues. The discrepancy represents the forgone income by the road agency. The research takes the view that it might not be practical to charge such computed toll rates, as users might diverge to the alternative route or that a percentage of demand becomes suppressed. To take this into account, a route assignment model is calibrated and used in an effort to determine the optimum toll rate that generates maximum revenue from road users.
Such analysis is then simulated over the expected life period of the road, in an attempt to show the forgone future income if the existing toll rates are sustained. In doing this, a forecast of future travel demand is undertaken as well as an indexation formula of toll rates is suggested. In addition a backward time simulation is also undertaken to show the amount of past-lost revenue due to charging such low toll rates.
Association for European Transport