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Transportation

The Brattle Group advises transport companies and operators, international governments, and regulatory agencies on restructuring, regulatory reform, public policy, and strategy.

We provide economic analysis and expert testimony in major litigation matters in the aerospace, aviation, auto, railroad, postal, and shipping industries.

Our staff includes professionals with backgrounds in economics, applied econometrics, financial analysis, public policy assessment, and market research. They have published widely on subjects ranging from demand forecasting techniques to finance and marketing, and has presented papers at international transportation conferences in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.

Areas of Expertise

Engagements
REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

Below is a list of representative engagements for our Transportation practice.

European freight transportation

On behalf of the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission, we analyzed the competitive implications of a proposal by ocean carriers serving U.S.-Europe to extend their conference agreement to include intermodal freight transport and coordinated capacity restrictions. We submitted our findings to the European Court of First Instance.

Alleged monopolization in aircraft manufacturing
For a business jet aircraft manufacturer accused of attempted monopolization, a member of The Brattle Group analyzed the structure of the market and evaluated whether the availability of similar aircraft from other manufacturers constrained the defendant’s ability to exercise market power.
Dealer bribes
For a group of automobile dealers, a member of The Brattle Group conducted an econometric analysis to quantify the extent to which these dealers had suffered economic injury as a result of a scheme in which executives of the auto manufacturer accepted bribes from a subset of dealers in exchange for providing them with extra allotments of highly profitable car models. The settlement of this litigation awarded a payment of several hundred million dollars to the non-bribe paying dealers.
Distribution of new vehicles
For a group of automobile dealers engaged in a dispute with a distributor, a member of The Brattle Group offered expert testimony analyzing the new auto allocation procedures used by the distributor, the distributor’s policies regarding accessorization of new vehicles, and their economic effects on individual dealers. This work involved econometric modeling of the dynamics of dealer inventories and the determinants of time-to-sale for individual vehicles.
International transportation systems
For a consortium of major U.S., European and Japanese auto manufacturers and related firms under the auspices of the World Business Council, members of The Brattle Group played a key role in a major investigation of long-term trends in mobility. This study was worldwide in scope, addressing urban, rural, and intercity passenger and freight transportation in both developed and developing countries. The study focused on the sustainability of the current transportation system and the extent to which exhaustion of fossil fuels, environmental constraints, infrastructure shortages, or institutional barriers were likely to constrain mobility over the next several decades. Results of this work had a significant impact on the long-term business and product development strategies of the study’s sponsors.
International air services liberalization
The European Commission selected The Brattle Group to undertake a major study of the effects of eliminating all commercial restrictions on competition and investment between civil air carriers in the U.S. and Europe. Our study, The Economic Impact of an EU-US Open Aviation Area, has been widely cited in the press, and both the European Commission and the U.S. government drew upon it when negotiating the 2005 EU-US aviation agreement.

Our report highlighted the quantitative methods utilized to estimate the impact of market liberalization on airline costs, air fares and passenger traffic for transatlantic routes and routes within Europe. The study helped to determine the effects of liberalization on consumer welfare and employment.

Competitive impact of global alliances
For a large international airline, The Brattle Group provided expert analysis opposing a request by SkyTeam alliance members for expanded antitrust immunity. We replicated and updated previous studies by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to show that, since 1999, air fares had increased sharply in transatlantic markets dominated by immunized alliances relative to other transatlantic markets, a turnaround of earlier fare trends. Our analysis found that this turnaround was due in part to the exercise of market power by the immunized alliances.
Rail market structure
For a major U.S.-based freight railroad, we developed a system of models to predict traffic levels and revenues by carrier for the North American freight rail market under alternative scenarios regarding market structure and regulatory policy. This modeling system incorporated detailed representations of the North American rail and highway networks, algorithms for determining shipment routing under alternative operating policies, and a series of statistical models capturing the underlying structure of freight traffic flows.
International cargo
For the public authority responsible for the operation of one of the largest international gateway airports in the country, members of The Brattle Group conducted a comprehensive review of sources of information on air cargo movements. Using the results of this review we worked with authority staff to devise a strategy for monitoring trends in shipments by ultimate origin and destination, commodity, carrier, and type of service, and for factoring this information into a process for planning and executing air cargo facility improvements.
Market power in liner shipping
On behalf of the Federal Trade Commission, we assessed the effectiveness of liner shipping cartels in exercising market power. This work involved econometric analysis of the determinants of freight rates, including the impact of changes in cartel membership on rates. We also analyzed the impact of filing requirements, service contracts, capacity reduction agreements, and inland freight rate agreements.
Work with the Surface Transportation Board
We have offered testimony before the Surface Transportation Board (previously the Interstate Commerce Commission) on a variety of issues including competitive impacts of proposed mergers, comments on appropriate regulatory framework including proper implementation of the stand-alone cost test, cost of capital calculations, and trackage rights. These engagements required thorough knowledge of the North American rail market paired with competitive analysis, cost estimation, and demand modeling.
Alleged price fixing

For the joint defense in a high-profile price fixing case, a member of The Brattle Group directed a major analysis of posted air fares looking for patterns that could be construed as signaling. We analyzed changes in fares for dozens of fare classes by all major airlines in the U.S. and Canada over a two-and-a-half-year period.

Airport delays

For an international gateway airport, a member of The Brattle Group evaluated the impact of alternative ways to reduce flight delays, including a minimum aircraft-size requirement, expansion of the airport’s capacity, and a variety of pricing and slot allocation mechanisms.

Monopolistic courier services

The Brattle Group provided expert testimony on behalf of a global provider of courier services in an investor dispute filed under an international free trade agreement. This dispute alleged that the respondent national government had granted the national postal operator monopoly control over basic postal services and other special privileges. Our work involved a thorough review of the postal operator’s pricing and cost allocation procedures and our testimony defined equal treatment in the context of courier services.

Cuba travel ban

For a foreign-policy think tank, we analyzed the impact on the U.S. economy of a decision to lift the longstanding U.S. travel ban to Cuba. This study estimated the number of additional Americans who would travel to Cuba in the absence of travel restrictions and calculated the net increase in demand for travel on U.S. airlines.

Experts
Publications
Report
Warranted Surveillance? Evaluating the Economic Case for Space-Based ADS-B
January 2017
Dorothy Robyn and Kevin Neels
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Brochure
Global Transportation Expertise
November 2015
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
A Review of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis
November 14, 2014
Prepared for The Railway Supply Institute, Committee on Tank Cars
Article
The Economic Cost of Airline Flight Delay
January 2013
Nathan Barczi, Everett B. Peterson, Kevin Neels, and Thea Graham
Published in Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, Volume 47, No. 1
Report
Competitive Effects of Exchanges or Sales of Airport Landing Slots
December 2011
James D. Reitzes, Brendan McVeigh, Nicholas E. Powers, and Samuel Moy
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
Reforming the Air Traffic Control System to Promote Efficiency and Reduce Delays
October 29, 2007
Dorothy Robyn
Prepared for the Council of Economic Advisers
Report
The Impact on the U.S. Economy of Lifting Restrictions on Travel to Cuba
July 15, 2002
James D. Reitzes, Dorothy Robyn, and Bryan Church
Prepared for the Center for International Policy
News & Knowledge
June 15, 2017
Francesco Lo Passo to Present on Railway Competition Policy at European University Institute Seminar

Brattle Principal Francesco Lo Passo will present at the European University Institute’s Executive Seminar: Competition in Passenger Railways in Europe, taking place June 15, 2017 in Florence, Italy.

December 12, 2016
Management Accounting Expert Shannon W. Anderson Affiliates with The Brattle Group

The Brattle Group is pleased to announce that Shannon W. Anderson has joined the firm’s growing network of internationally renowned experts as an academic advisor.

October 21, 2015
Accounting and Finance Expert Adoria Lim Joins The Brattle Group

The Brattle Group announced today that accounting and finance expert Adoria Lim has joined the firm’s San Francisco office as a principal.

October 16, 2015
Brattle Economists Participate in Columbia Business School Centennial Colloquium Honoring Joseph Stiglitz

Brattle principal Michael Cragg and academic advisor Joshua Gans will participate in the conference “A Just Society,” honoring Nobel Laureate and Columbia University Professor Joseph Stiglitz, who is celebrating his 50th anniversary of teaching in the fields of economics and public policy.

August 18, 2015
Report by Brattle Economists Assesses Potential Economic Impacts of Boston’s Proposed Bid to Host 2024 Summer Olympic Games

Economists at The Brattle Group have authored a report that provides an independent analysis of the potential economic impacts of Boston’s proposed bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

March 31, 2015
Mark Berkman Contributes to Bay Area Council Economic Institute Report on Extreme Weather Events

Brattle principal Mark Berkman and research analyst Stephen Lagos contributed to a recent Bay Area Council Economic Institute report, “Surviving the Storm,” examining questions about the economic impact of potential extreme storm events in northern California.

December 02, 2014
Brattle Experts Involved in Closely Watched AIG Case

Last week the record for Starr International Co. Inc. et al. v. U.S. closed after 37 days of trial. This epic case involves the shareholders of American International Group Inc. (AIG) claiming compensation of nearly $50 billion for the U.S. Government’s taking and/or illegally exacting 79.9 percent of shareholders’ equity at the peak of the financial crisis the day after Lehman failed. The team supported the testimony of Brattle principal Michael Cragg who testified over the course of five days.