Pricing on Entire Roadway Facilities
Pricing on entire roadway facilities introduces variable tolls on highway facilities (e.g., roads, bridges, tunnels) that are currently free, or already have fixed tolls. If flat tolls are already in place, the introduction of variable tolling is the key element of interest. As with other congestion pricing categories, the goal of the differential pricing is to reduce congestion, but toll authorities have also used the availability of off-peak toll discounts to encourage the use of electronic tolling. Projects on existing toll roads generally do not need tolling authority under the Value Pricing Pilot Program, since they are toll facilities and already have tolling authority.
- Washington: SR 520 in Seattle – Full facility tolling on SR 520 began December 29, 2011, on the existing four-lane SR 520 Bridge crossing Lake Washington. The facility is tolled by time of day, and toll revenue will fund the replacement of the 520 Floating Bridge. The project also includes electronic travel time signs on I-405, SR 520 and SR 522 directing drivers to the best route across Lake Washington, a “Smarter Highways” program on SR 520 and I-90 that providing drivers with variable speed limits and real-time driver information, and more than 130 daily bus trips across the SR 520 Bridge. Although the facility opened for tolling only recently, there was a 35-40 percent overall decrease in traffic volume on SR 520 across 2 weeks of data and a 5-10 percent increase in volume on I-90 and SR 522, suggesting that, as the project intends, drivers are shifting their travel patterns onto alternate routes due to the toll. Similarly, during peak hours, traffic volume tends to increase approximately 15 minutes prior to increases in toll price, then drops off, again indicating that drivers are making travel decisions based on the tolls.
- Additional Full Facility Tolling Examples