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600451-00036-1 Dissertation Abstract

Real Option Analysis to Value Managed Lanes

Sunghoon Lee, May 2016

Managed lanes (MLs) provide a backup option for travelers even when they do not use MLs. For example, travelers have the option to use MLs when they encounter unexpected congestion. The option value of MLs refers to travelers’ willingness to pay for having the ML option for possible use in the future. Despite the potential benefit of MLs, earlier studies have only considered the actual use benefits of MLs, such as travel time savings.

This research used detailed travel data from both MLs and general purpose lanes (GPLs) of the Katy Freeway (I-10) in Houston. From these data, revealed preferences between MLs and GPLs of all travelers with a transponder in 2012 were identified. This research examined two potential definitions of travelers who valued MLs as a travel option. These definitions included 1) travelers who used MLs at least once in 2012 and 2) all travelers with transponders (even those who never used MLs). This research found that the travelers who never used the MLs in 2012 were extremely unlikely to use the MLs in all of 2013. Thus, this research recommends ML option users to be defined as only those travelers who used MLs at least once in 2012.

This research used the Small-Rosen log sum method (1981) and the Black-Scholes option pricing method (1973) to estimate the option value of MLs. The log sum method estimates the option value by measuring change in consumer surplus between the situation where both MLs and GPLs are available and the situation where only GPLs are available. The Black-Scholes method was originally developed to price options in stock markets and was modified to estimate the option value of MLs in this research. This research found that the log sum method frequently provided a poor estimate of the option value. Thus, this research recommends the Black-Scholes method to estimate the option value of MLs. The option value of the MLs was found to be similar to the value of travel time savings from the MLs for the ML option users. Thus, the option value of MLs is an important component of the total value of MLs.

Keywords: Managed Lanes, General Purpose Lanes, Option Value, Value of Travel Time

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