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Report on the Value Pricing Pilot Program Through April 2012

Appendix A. Summary of Ongoing Congestion Pricing Activities and Related Research

Efforts are underway to evaluate the impact of congestion pricing on travel behavior. In 2010, the Volpe Center embarked on a household panel study analyzing how and why users of an urban highway/transit corridor change their travel behavior in response to the application of congestion pricing strategies. This particular study will evaluate two UPA/CRD program sites (SR 520 and I-85 Express Lanes). Measures to be analyzed will include route choice, mode choice, and trip timing. The study will also explore changes in travelers' satisfaction with transportation services and their attitudes toward tolling, congestion and related issues. Similarly, outside of the VPPP, much research in the field has been conducted by implementing agencies, universities, and research organizations such as the TRB, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, and so on.

Samples of some of these studies are described below:

Road Pricing Can Help Reduce Congestion, but Equity Concerns May Grow, U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2012

In this recently published study(19), the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined (1) the Federal role in supporting congestion pricing, (2) results of U.S. congestion pricing projects, and (3) emerging issues in congestion pricing. The study is based on an evaluation of 14 congestion pricing projects as well as interviews with officials at the sponsoring agencies regarding the performance and impacts of their pricing projects.

The GAO found that the 14 congestion pricing projects that have current and complete evaluations generally show that pricing can help reduce congestion, although other results are mixed, and not all possible relevant impacts have been assessed as part of these evaluations. The HOT lane projects, which aim to reduce congestion by decreasing travel time and increasing speed and the number of vehicles using the lane, have reduced congestion, but some HOT lane projects also added new lanes, and studies did not distinguish the extent to which performance improvements were due to added lanes versus pricing. In addition, although the number of cars using HOT lanes has risen, there were fewer people in those cars because of an increase in the proportion of toll-paying solo drivers or a decrease in carpools.

Peak-period pricing projects, which aim to reduce congestion by encouraging drivers to travel at off-peak times, have shifted some travel to those times. Other congestion pricing effects—such as income equity impacts—have not always been evaluated. Income and geographic equity impacts are important to assess as they address the public and elected officials' concerns about the effects of pricing on travelers and communities. Ongoing multiyear evaluations across six metropolitan areas will assess the performance and effects of congestion pricing projects using a specific set of measures to assess the effectiveness of congestion reduction strategies.

National Evaluation Framework and Plans for the Urban Partnership Agreement and Congestion Reduction Demonstration Projects

Based on a guidance document published by the FHWA Office of Operations in 2008 that established a National Evaluation Framework (NEF) for all six UPA/CRD sites, evaluation plans were developed for UPA/CRD programs in Los Angeles County, Miami, Minnesota, San Francisco, and Seattle. The reports provide an analytic framework for evaluating projects funded under UPA/CRD and provide valuable guidance to other regions seeking to conduct an evaluation of their pricing programs.

Four objective questions that were posed by the DOT serve as a starting point for the NEF and the evaluation plan at each site. These questions are:

  • How much congestion was reduced;
  • What contributed to the reduction and what were the associated impacts;
  • What lessons were learned about non-technical factors for success; and
  • What were the overall costs and benefits of the congestion reduction strategies.

The four objective questions were translated into several evaluation analyses, which in turn consist of hypotheses and questions, measures of effectiveness (MOE), and data required for the MOEs.

These documents can be a useful reference for practitioners in other regions where pricing programs are being planned or implemented.

Synthesis of Congestion Pricing-Related Environmental Impact Analyses, FHWA Office of Operations, 2010

This report summarizes the state-of-the-practice and presents a recommended framework for before-and-after evaluations of the environmental impacts of congestion pricing projects, such as HOT lanes and "cordon" or area pricing schemes. The report focuses on the three environmental impact areas that have been most commonly examined in such evaluations: air quality, noise, and environmental justice (sometimes referred to as equity). Since environmental impacts are a function of the travel impacts of congestion pricing projects, this report also examines state of the practice regarding evaluation of travel impacts such as traffic, transit and travel behavior.

The state of the practice results are based primarily on a review of the published literature associated with eight congestion pricing study projects from around the world. A number of gaps in existing practice and understanding are identified and recommendations are provided to address those gaps.

Congestion Pricing – A Primer: Metropolitan Planning Organization Case Studies, FHWA Office of Operations, 2011

Pricing programs have often come about separate from the traditional metropolitan planning process through pilot projects and demonstrations. Given that federally funded pricing demonstration projects have shown road pricing to be an effective tool, there is a growing need to incorporate road pricing into long-range plans.

This report summarizes the results of a study on how road pricing was incorporated into longrange planning by four MPOs, providing examples and guidance to support other regions seeking to do the same.

The four case study regions were selected by the FHWA based on a previous study, A Domestic Scan of Congestion Pricing and Managed Lanes and represent places where road pricing has been included in long-range plans successfully: the Dallas/Fort Worth region, the Puget Sound region, the Minneapolis/ St. Paul region, and the San Francisco Bay area. In each of these regions, the progression of road pricing through the planning process follows a unique path, based on each region's own distinctive history of attitudes toward pricing, jurisdictional relationships, and politics that influence how pricing is perceived.

Congestion Pricing Primer Series

The Congestion Pricing Primer Series serves to introduce the various aspects of congestion pricing to decisionmakers and transportation professionals in the U.S. The primers are intended to lay out the underlying rationale for congestion pricing and some of the technical issues associated with its implementation in a manner that is accessible to non-specialists in the field. Titles in the series include:

  • Congestion Pricing Overview.
  • Non-Toll Pricing.
  • Technologies That Enable Congestion Pricing.
  • Technologies That Complement Congestion Pricing.
  • Transit and Congestion Pricing.
  • Economics: Pricing, Demand, and Economic Efficiency.
  • Income-Based Equity Impacts of Congestion Pricing.

Active Parking Pricing and Management Primer

The FHWA is developing a primer on Active Parking Pricing and Management to provide information about cutting edge parking management and pricing policies and systems, especially the systems that use ITS and other advanced technologies that are being deployed by cities and large institutions. In addition to covering "how to" technical subjects, the primer will detail best practices for strategies, policy design and implementation and for approaches to conquer obstacles.

The primer will address public-acceptance, policy, and technical issues. It will also provide insights on the policy environment in leading cities and will answer the following questions for government controlled parking strategies that are considered best practices:

  • What policy considerations are there in managing the municipality's parking stock?
  • How does parking utilization information affect price changes and what are the specific mechanisms to bring about such changes?
  • What residential parking program innovations are being deployed?
  • How is government as an employer setting an example, such as by charging its employees for parking, offering parking cash-out, or providing incentives for alternativemode commuting?

Exemplary government policies to influence privately provided parking will be explored by answering these questions:

  • What policies are being implemented to encourage better management and pricing of parking that is not government controlled (e.g., taxing parking that is not directly priced to the user, mandating parking-cash out, providing employer tax credits for alternativemode commute benefits)?
  • What is the relationship between how parking is handled within the zoning code and the city's public policy and livability objectives vis a vis parking?

VPPP Projects Funded Since 2008

2008 San Francisco Bay Area CA SFPark Urban Partnership $10,000,000
2008 MNDOT MN MN Innovative Choices for Congestion Relief UPA $5,000,000
2008 WSDOT/King county/Puget Sound WA Seattle/Lake Washington corridor Tolling and Transit UPA $10,000,000
2009 Caltrans/Valley Transportation Authority CA Implement roadway pricing on SR 237 Express Connectors $3,200,000
2009 Twin Cities Area MN Feasibility study on pricing innovative lane additions on Trunk Highway 77 $540,000
2009 Twin Cities Area MN Pre-implementation study of priced managed lane on I-94 $400,000
2009 Greater Buffalo Niagra Regional Authority NY Pre-implementation of study of GPS-based truck pricing system $717,000
2009 Puget Sound/Seattle Area WA Express lanes system concept study $1,280,000
2010 Caltrans / Santa Clara County CA Strategies to manage traffic and parking. $2,358,000
2010 Caltrans / City of Berkeley CA Strategies to manage on-street parking and reduce congestion from circling vehicles. $1,800,000
2010 Caltrans / Santa Barbara County CA Testing of carpooling system that uses participation incentives. $158,400
2010 Florida DOT FL Initiative for a regional priced managed lane network that can serve as a model for other regions. $900,000
2010 Tampa-Hillsboro Expressway Authority FL Advancement of first regional network of bus toll lanes in the Tampa area. $800,000
2010 NCDOT and Charlotte MPO NC Advancement of first regional network of priced lanes in the Charlotte area. $400,000
2010 MnDOT MN Expansion of project to test incentive alternatives to monthly parking passes and discourage daily driving. $24,800
2010 Texas DOT TX Usage-based insurance pricing and additional incentives for efficient travel choices. $1,948,000
2010 Virginia DOT and Washington Council Of Governments VA Advancement of regional pricing in DC including pricing existing facilities. $320,000
2010 Washington DOT and King County WA Implementation of incentives as alternatives to parking. $1,024,000
2011 Caltrans/SCAG CA Express Travel Choices $1,080,000
2011 Caltrans/MTC CA Priced Electric-assist Bicycle Sharing in San Francisco $1,054,221
2011 Caltrans CA Parking Pricing and Regulations Study in San Francisco $480,000
2011 Connecticut DOT CT I-84 Viaduct, Hartford, CT $644,000
2011 Connecticut DOT CT I-95 Corridor Full Facility Pricing: New York to New Haven CT $1,120,000
2011 Florida DOT/Florida Transportation Enterprise FL Integrated Congestion Pricing Plan $600,000
2011 Illinois State Toll Highway Authority IL Integrate and Finance Transit w/ Priced Managed Lanes $528,840
2011 Massachusetts MA Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance in Massachusetts $2,144,000
2011 Oregon OR Peer-to-Peer Ridesharing in Portland, Oregon $1,725,000
2011 Texas TX Integrating Transit Related Pricing Incentives in Support of Managed Lanes $160,000
2011 Texas/NCTCOG TX Influencing Travel Behavior and Considering Environmental Justice $588,301
2011 Texas/CTRMA TX 183A Turnpike Pilot Downstream Impacts $1,220,424
2011 Virginia VA Dynamic Ridesharing with Financial Incentives in Northern VA $447,200
2011 Washington WA Parking Pricing for Delivery trucks in Seattle $446,000


19 Road Pricing Can Help Reduce Congestion, but Equity Concerns May Grow, U.S. Government Accountability Office, January 2012,

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