Report on the Value Pricing Pilot Program Through April 2016
The Value Pricing Pilot Program: Project Updates
The U.S. Congress established the Congestion Pricing Pilot Program in 1991. It was subsequently renamed the Value Pricing Pilot Program under Section 1216 (a) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) in 1998, and continued into Section 1604(a) Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), P.L. 109-59. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST) did not make any additional funding available. However, FHWA's ability to enter into cooperative agreements for projects that require tolling authority for their implementation under this program remains.
Congress established the VPPP to demonstrate whether and to what extent roadway congestion could be reduced through the application of congestion pricing strategies and to estimate the magnitude of the impact of such strategies on driver behavior, traffic volumes, transit ridership, air quality, and availability of funds for transportation programs.8 The program has provided tolling authority and discretionary grants to State or local governments to facilitate the demonstration of congestion pricing applications and report on their effects. According to the statutory requirements of VPPP, the FHWA may enter into cooperative agreements with up to 15 State or local governments or other public authorities to establish, maintain, and monitor value pricing pilot programs. Currently, there are 11 State-led programs and 2 city-led programs participating in the VPPP: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington State, New York City, and the District of Columbia. Many of these programs have multiple projects.
The VPPP encourages the implementation and evaluation of value pricing pilot projects to manage congestion on highways through tolling and other pricing mechanisms. Although there is no longer a discretionary grant component, many States have gained experience with pricing strategies with the help of the VPPP, and States now have the capacity to implement larger scale value pricing projects. The FHWA continues to support States' and regions' pricing initiatives by offering guidance and expertise in choosing the most promising and appropriate of the emerging strategies. Congestion mitigation, environmental concerns, and limited funding for highway construction have led to increased interest by State, regional and local transportation agencies in exploring the use of demand-based pricing as a strategy to manage congestion on oversubscribed roads.
In 2015, FHWA used remaining Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 funds and unspent VPPP project funds to award $3.4 million to an additional five projects. These projects are presented in Table 1.
In addition to the new projects identified in Table 1, numerous other projects have received funding since FY 2008. Appendix A includes a list of all previous awards. The following section provides updates on projects currently being studied. The projects are categorized by projects currently in progress and projects that were completed since 2014. The projects are further separated into projects involving tolls and projects not involving tolls. The VPPP has consistently awarded a portion of its funds to projects that did not involve highway tolls. The majority of the non-toll projects fall into one of three categories: parking pricing, priced vehicle sharing and dynamic ridesharing, or PAYD-pricing initiatives.
The Express Travel Choices (Phase II) study examines the potential of implementing a cordon/areawide pricing pilot in major activity centers within the Los Angeles area in conjunction with build-out of the planned managed network of express/HOT lanes across Southern California. Through collaboration of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), this study aims to integrate pricing into a comprehensive approach to congestion management, developing a concept of operations (ConOps) for the Southern California region.
The study team for the express lane network component of the project completed traffic and revenue forecasts and developed phasing/tiering recommendations for the network under consideration. With continued guidance provided by county agencies and Caltrans in reviewing recent analyses, a "financially constrained" express lane network has been recommended for inclusion in SCAG's Draft 2016 Regional Transportation Plan. The study team is finalizing operational policies for the ConOps.
The study team also continues to analyze financial, economic, and environmental justice/equity components of the cordon project. Continued stakeholder engagement is underway with civic organizations, elected leadership, and partner agencies.
Following the successful Phase II project, this SCAG Phase III pre-implementation project will bring cordon pricing closer to fruition in Westside Los Angeles through an enhanced equity analysis, aggressive public outreach, and the pursuit of needed institutional arrangements, additional transit agency coordination, and preparation of an environmental assessment.
The project's primary goals include promoting a balanced transportation system by encouraging travelers to consider mobility options, increasing the use of transit and active transportation modes, improving quality of life by reducing congestion levels, and reducing vehicle miles traveled/vehicle hours traveled VMT/VHT and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Pre-implementation study efforts are being conducted by the SCAG in coordination with affected jurisdictions—the city of Los Angeles and the city of Santa Monica.
The Phase III pre-implementation study is funded through the end of 2016. Results are expected through FY 2017.
The Treasure Island Mobility Management Agency (TIMMA) staff has developed toll policy recommendations and has prepared a toll system ConOps. The toll policy recommendations, developed as the Treasure Island Mobility Management Study, pay particular attention to transportation affordability for current and future residents in below-market-rate housing on the Island. This affordability focus responded to the Board and community input heard through three major rounds of outreach.
The toll system ConOps describes the components of the toll system and how it will operate. Issues of particular importance include how the Island toll system will relate to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll system; and the "trip building" aspect of the system, which will ensure that only Bridge-bound trips, and not local trips, will be tolled.
The TIMMA has drafted agreements with its partner agencies (such as ferry and East Bay bus transit operators) in anticipation of a program launch in 2019 to correspond to the first phase of development on the Island.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) received VPPP funds to examine the feasibility of a variety of pricing strategies to address the deteriorating conditions on I-84 in the city of Hartford, one of the most highly traveled and congested highway segments in the region. A portion of the segment traverses an elevated structure, which is nearing its end of useful life. Replacement costs will be high, and this study will examine the potential of congestion pricing both to finance part of the replacement and to manage congestion.
Data collection and evaluation activities were conducted in 2013. A stated preference survey was also conducted to generate insights into the public's willingness to pay tolls in return for a more reliable trip. A travel demand model was prepared and a draft of model development and calibration was completed in March 2014. The study is in progress and expected to be complete soon. Thus far, the study has been very valuable in providing information regarding tolling options and the ability to provide congestion relief through time-of-day tolling. It has also provided insight into the net revenue stream resulting from the variable pricing scenarios. The State of Connecticut will have to pass enabling legislation to allow for tolling and to keep all the revenue received through pricing in a Special Transportation Fund in order for the recommendations of this study to be implemented. The results of this study will be important in making the case for enabling legislation at the State level.
The ConnDOT is also currently evaluating the potential of congestion pricing strategies on the heavily congested I-95 corridor from New York to New Haven to better manage traffic and improve the efficiency of existing facilities. As with the I-84 study discussed above, this study will also explore the ability of congestion pricing to generate revenues to finance transit improvements. Data collection was conducted to understand existing traffic patterns on the corridor, including truck surveys, origin-destination surveys, and license plate surveys. This data served as inputs to a travel demand model, which is being used to assess the likely impacts of various pricing strategies. The project team completed the draft existing conditions report in early 2014. Since September 2015, the project consultant has been concentrating on completing the final study document, which is on schedule. Thus far, the study has provided valuable information regarding the potential of congestion relief through tolling, particularly time-of-day variable tolling. The study will also assess the net revenue stream resulting from the variable pricing scenarios. As noted above, the State of Connecticut will have to pass enabling legislation to allow for tolling and to keep all the revenue received through pricing in a Special Transportation Fund in order for the recommendations of this study to be implemented. The results of this study will be important in making the case for enabling legislation at the State level.
Influencing Travel Behavior, Sensitivity to Environmental Justice, and Use of Innovative Technology in Texas
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) are conducting a study to determine which types of congestion pricing incentives and programs on IH-30/Tom Landry Highway will most encourage drivers to seek alternatives to driving alone or driving during peak periods. Smart card technology will be used to track subscribers' managed lane use, and users will be awarded incentives based on how they choose to use the managed lanes. The study also includes an equity component to explore the potential impacts managed lanes have on low-income travelers.
Texas A&M Transportation Institute has finalized its draft of the "Traffic Thermostat" tool for Dallas-Fort Worth area partners to review. The Traffic Thermostat was built to help guide the user through a logical, step-wise process of examining potential changes to a managed lane/toll facility. The tool was built to be generic, allowing for its application to any managed lane facility. The Traffic Thermostat will help plan what managed lane policies and incentives are needed so that the managed lanes meet their goals and performance measures. Work has continued with partner agencies to provide transit service along the corridor and to the park-and-ride facilities once the managed lane opens.
Local drivers have been recruited to participate in the study, and their actual travel patterns will be monitored to determine how priced facilities impact all users, including low-income populations. Examples of targeted travel behaviors include, but are not limited to, peak-period pricing, transit, park-and-ride lots, ridesharing, telecommuting, bicycling, and varied work schedules.
At this time, the following activities have been completed:
The NCTCOG has begun defining incentives and plans to implement them once the IH-30 Managed Lane project opens in April 2016. It is anticipated that the project will be completed in March 2017.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has developed a 230 lane-mile system of freeway HOV lanes in the Puget Sound region that has been a popular and well-used enhancement to the freeway system. In the past decade, most Puget Sound HOV lanes have become so well used that they have lost some of their speed and reliability advantage and fail to meet State and Federal performance goals. To remedy this, WSDOT is testing HOT lanes on a pilot basis in the SR 167 corridor and is developing a dual-lane express toll lane facility on I-405. This project involves conducting a before-and-after evaluation for re-striping the SR 167 HOT lane system to allow near-continuous access, providing information and outreach to customers and the public, and performing a before-and-after evaluation of the system.
The physical changes to the roadway to achieve continuous access were completed in late summer of 2014, and the system has been operating smoothly since. The WSDOT collaborated with the Washington State University Transportation Research Center (TRAC) program to perform the before-and-after evaluation of this project. A first draft of the evaluation was based on 6 months of data prior to the access change and 6 months of data after the access change. After a review of the draft findings, both WSDOT and TRAC agreed that it would be prudent to include a larger set of "after" data before publishing the evaluation. The additional data required for this evaluation has been collected and the draft final report is currently in production by TRAC.
The San Francisco Travel Smart Rewards Pilot Program is anticipated to mitigate severe BART system overcrowding by deploying a mobile enabled Web site and cash incentives to encourage riders to shift their travel to the shoulders of the peak period.
The main goal of the project is for BART to provide a quality customer experience by reducing crowding in the East Bay to downtown San Francisco travel market. The objective is to reduce crowding by approximately 5 percent in this market during the peak period.
The San Francisco Travel Smart Rewards Pilot Program will mitigate severe BART system overcrowding by deploying an app coupled with incentives (such as Clipper transit cards, monetary rewards, or other) for regular peak-period users of the downtown Embarcadero and Montgomery stations to voluntarily shift their travel to peak shoulders or other stations or routes.
Program participants will sign up on the mobile-enabled Perks Web site with their Clipper transit card identification number and will accrue points by riding BART. Program participants will also earn points just by signing up and referring friends. Higher levels of points will be provided for travel outside the most congested peak travel periods. Riders will be able to choose to cash out their points for low-value cash rewards (via PayPal) or use points to play a game to win higher levels of rewards.
Through this project, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will explore how it could evolve or change existing parking practices in San Francisco. The study will explore how pricing could be used to manage parking in residential and mixed-use areas.
As part of this study, occupancy and license plate surveys have been conducted over 42 2-mile routes in the study area and the results were analyzed. In addition, an online household survey was conducted to obtain residents' travel patterns, commute modes, parking access, and use from November 21 through December 13, 2015.
The project team has initiated the implementation of a public outreach strategy that includes community open houses to share some of the findings of the project and to solicit input from community members on key on-street parking issues. As a part of this work, the project team reached out to neighborhood and business leaders in a select few San Francisco neighborhoods to discuss the possibility of conducting a pilot parking management program. The project team worked with Arup (the prime contractor) to evaluate several alternative scenarios for pricing 1-day flex permits and motorcycle permits.
The final recommended parking policy reform proposals will be submitted to the SFMTA board for approval. The intention of the project is to inform similar policy development in other cities, especially those in California.
"Pricing Your Way to Operational Efficiency: One-Way Electric Vehicle Carsharing in San Diego" is a partnership of University of California (UC) Berkeley, car2go carsharing company in San Diego, Caltrans, and the FHWA. This project is exploring the impact of a one-way, electric vehicle carsharing system on travel behavior and the effect of pricing experiments to help incentivize consumers to redistribute the vehicles in ways that lower operational costs to car2go.
The project is designed to conduct three rounds of surveys to evaluate the impacts of the system on user behavior and the effect of pricing experiments on travel patterns. The project is also evaluating activity data to ascertain whether the experiments resulted in notable changes in vehicle distribution. Two pricing experiments are involved in the study: one designed to incentivize members to bring car2go vehicles to a downtown location to improve vehicle charging, the other designed to incentivize members to remove vehicles from areas with low demand. Thus far, the project has implemented two of the three surveys of system users and analyzed activity data collected before the pricing experiment implementation.
Some key preliminary results indicate that the presence of car2go reduces the need for car ownership. Approximately 33 percent of car2go members in San Diego have either gotten rid of vehicles that they owned or opted not to purchase a vehicle because of the presence of car2go. The balance of this impact is weighted toward avoided vehicle purchases or vehicle ownership suppression. Survey data indicate that ongoing pricing experiments are having some impact on travel decisionmaking. After completion of both experiments, a joint analysis of the surveys will be conducted and the findings published in a report.
The VPPP provided funding to the city of Berkeley for the go-Berkeley pilot program. This program is now complete. Additional funding was provided to UC Berkeley to help reduce drive-alone trips to campus through a parking scheme for monthly patrons and a program to incentivize employees to reduce parking without changing parking prices. The UC Berkeley efforts are ongoing.
The goBerkeley Pilot Program was launched in Downtown Berkeley, the Elmwood, and Southside/Telegraph on July 2013 with three overarching goals: to support economic vitality, to reduce congestion and emissions, and to assess the feasibility of expanding the program beyond the 2-year pilot period. Coordinating between transportation demand management (TDM) and parking management, the goBerkeley Pilot Program conducted visitor, resident, and employee surveys and collected transit usage and parking data before and during the pilot period. The program also tested automated parking data collection methods to ascertain the most accurate and cost-effective program design going forward.
The goBerkeley TDM Program aimed to decrease single-occupancy vehicle SOV) use and increase the use of travel alternatives. To attain that, the following financial incentives were offered in the pilot areas:
The goBerkeley TDM Program survey results showed an overall 3.1 percent reduction in automobile use, with 94 percent of participants reporting that they were walking more, 90 percent reporting using transit more, and 19 percent reporting biking more. Among almost 500 Easy Pass program participants, 82 percent said they used AC Transit more because they had the pass and almost half said they used their pass at least twice a week. The carshare program included 15 businesses and over 60 participants. Results indicated that more than 10 percent of participants used carsharing as a new travel alternative.
The goBerkeley Parking pilot assessed the long-term feasibility of demand-responsive parking management through adjusted parking rates and time limits at parking meters, parking lots, and parking garages. Analysis of the observed parking availability, meter transaction data, and community surveys indicated an overall improvement on parking availability and customer satisfaction. Results also showed a change in driver behavior and shift in parking demand to metered areas with available parking. The analysis also indicated that vehicle-mounted cameras could be used to reduce parking data collection costs and improve parking enforcement.
Considering environmental sustainability, the goBerkeley Pilot Program achieved its goal of reducing emissions resulting from SOV use and by managing parking. The preliminary analysis found that the goBerkeley program has reduced VMT by 1,649 miles per day.
As mentioned above, the VPPP program has provided additional funding to an existing city of Berkeley/UC Berkeley project designed in part to use priced daily parking to reduce drive-alone trips to campus. The project will enable a randomized controlled trial of a second-price-reverse auction for monthly parking patrons to give up their parking privileges on specific days when parking is in highest demand.
Another study conducted as part of the UC Berkley effort to reduce parking demand explores a new kind of employee parking permit, the FlexPass, which incentivizes employees to reduce parking without significantly changing parking prices, thus avoiding employee discontent. Most employees of the UC Berkeley buy a monthly parking permit with pre-tax dollars. The FlexPass is also a monthly pass that refunds money to the employee in proportion to the number of working days not parked each month. The study finds that unbundling a monthly employee-parking permit reduces parking by making employees mindful of daily parking usage.
This project is evaluating the state-of-the-art and cost-effective parking management strategies deploying a mix of technologies and data analytics. The pilot program is being implemented at the Chinatown/Penn Quarter area. Lessons learned from the pilot will help to shape eventual deployment throughout the District of Columbia (District). The goal of this pilot project is to increase on-street parking availability by deploying various pricing strategies and reducing the time drivers spend searching for a parking space by providing parking availability information in real-time. The parking management strategies will also be applied to delivery vehicles and inter-city buses in the Chinatown/Penn Quarter.
This project has launched the pay-by-space initiative from "pay-and-display" for multispace meter blocks. To facilitate that transition, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) demarcated all study area parking spaces using space number posts, developed outreach material, and updated the system infrastructure. A robust public outreach and education program was also deployed. The stakeholder outreach included a coordinated effort among D.C. agencies to engage the public and discuss the changes with study area businesses and community groups. The DDOT also collected data on existing conditions in November 2015. This included data on average time to find an open parking spot, placard usage, double parking/illegal parking activity, and a customer survey. In addition, DDOT continued with the development of a blended "asset-lite" approach to predicting real-time occupancy by incorporating sampled parking occupancy data from the portable closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras deployed in the field along with limited sensor data, payment data, and citation data. The DDOT also started engaging app developers who could take the real-time parking availability information from a published application program interface and provide it to customers.
The Tahoe Transportation District will deploy peak-season pricing at a rural tourist destination parking facility. This will be combined with enforcement of road-shoulder parking prohibitions and better user information. Outside of the VPPP project, an improved shuttle service linking tourist destinations with remote parking and better bicycle access (including an off-road trail and bicycle rental) will be provided.
Drive Smart is a New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) consumer technology project that uses data drawn from a car's on-board diagnostics port (OBD-II) to help New York City drivers save money, save time, and drive more safely. Drive Smart provides a suite of services and mobile applications to drivers—provided by private sector partners—that incentivize safe driving and environmentally efficient travel choices. Participants are also encouraged to enroll in a usage-based insurance (UBI) program offered by a leading national insurer to receive incentives for avoiding driving and for driving during less congested times or on less congested routes. Enrollees will also get feedback on their driving and their actual cost of car ownership and use. The NYCDOT will use Drive Smart data to learn more about accidents in order to support the implementation of Vision Zero, New York City's street safety initiative.
In July 2015, NYCDOT launched a 1-year Drive Smart pilot program with 400 volunteer drivers to evaluate the effectiveness of Drive Smart in helping drivers make smarter choices. For that purpose, NYCDOT procured 450 Drive Smart OBD-II devices to be installed in the vehicles of pilot participants, launched the program Web site, and conducted a full beta test with 25 test devices and drivers. The OBD-II devices are transmitting second-by-second driving data to the Drive Smart server in order to power the range of driver feedback applications and the UBI product offered by the Drive Smart Technology Partners. Preliminary analysis of anonymized driving data is under way in order to support the city's Vision Zero initiative and contribute to the understanding of how its road network is being utilized. Participant outreach and recruitment is ongoing and further evaluation and analysis will continue until the demonstration project ends in August 2016.
The NYCDOT PARK Smart 2.0 program enables community stakeholders to work with NYCDOT to address local curb management issues such as parking availability, cruising, double-parking, and truck deliveries on busy retail corridors. The NYCDOT works together with local merchants and residents to develop a PARK Smart plan that typically includes parking pricing strategies curb regulation changes, and parking technology. The program has been successful in increasing curbside access for shoppers, residents, and commercial vehicles. NYCDOT began by conducting an analysis of PARK Smart in the Boerum Hill/Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. Data showed that the program reduced parking occupancy while increasing turnover. The agency then began working with the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership and Brooklyn Community Board 2 on a PARK Smart on the Myrtle Avenue corridor in Brooklyn's Fort Greene and Clinton Hill neighborhoods. The agency also reached out to an array of local community and business groups in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens to discuss PARK Smart and identify additional future PARK Smart areas.
The NYCDOT began the development and implementation of a comprehensive data collection effort in over 40 neighborhood retail corridors to collect parking metrics and performance data to influence the "reprogramming of the curb" and to develop both pricing and regulatory structures that will improve the overall operability of the curb. The agency then began developing a larger framework for the development of a citywide parking management toolbox or "blueprint" that will be used to influence larger parking management policies and approaches. This program will build upon the previous experiences in each of the previous PARK Smart pilot areas, as well similar programs in peer cities.
PARK Smart is an innovative pilot program to develop a pricing and regulatory mechanism to allocate curb space for mixed vehicle classes by time of day and location on block. These "multi-function meters" and the associated curb regulations use a combination of pricing and regulations to influence driver behavior and meet parking demand. The meter rates are tailored based on observed travel demand patterns. In addition, the department is experimenting with new time bands and rate structures on these pilot blockfaces to determine their applicability at other locations across the city. The NYCDOT has also developed new geospatial datasets and refined data collection techniques to improve its ability to measure blockface performance and activity.
The NYCDOT has continued to talk to an array of local community and business groups in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Queens to discuss innovative curb management strategies as well as approaches to improving curb operations.
This project is a collaborative effort between FHWA, Getaround Inc., the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) to evaluate the effects of peer-to-peer (P2P) car sharing and other incentives on people's travel behavior in the city of Portland, Oregon. In addition, this project evaluates other factors such as usage-based insurance and peak usage pricing. To attain these goals, the project recruited about 300 car owners into the study and installed a Getaround's Carkit™ device in their vehicles to track VMT.
The project also aims to assess whether P2P car sharing reduces overall VMT by making the cost of driving for both car owners and renters variable while creating a revenue stream for car owners and increasing access to jobs and activities for those without cars. The OTREC monitored the rental activity of owner and renter participants in the study, and Getaround monitored rental income activity for owners. The OTREC has also surveyed renters regarding their rental experiences with Getaround. The OTREC is analyzing the survey data and the rental activity of owner and renter participants and is preparing the final report.
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute is leading a PAYD insurance project, to be conducted with Allstate Insurance Company. The project is intended to convert participant insurance premiums from fixed-rate to at least 50 percent mileage based. Various sources of data would be used to discern resulting driving reductions.
Subsequent to the funds being awarded, Allstate Insurance Company decided to withdraw from the project. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute is revising the scope of the project to accomplish the intended goals in a new way. They will be considering various options to move forward before submitting the re-scoped project to the FHWA, Office of Operations for review and approval.
The intent of this study is to explore opportunities for priced park-and-ride spaces in multifamily developments located near high capacity transit services and to develop a business model for this innovative source of park-and-ride parking that could be tested in future pilot programs.
Synthesis of the analysis and project objectives led to the proposal of a "hybrid" business model in which the program would be operated by a private parking management or parking technology company, and King County Metro would provide assistance with regulatory issues and with marketing the program to both multifamily property owners and park-and-ride users.
If successfully implemented as envisioned, the business model will benefit:
The long-term vision for this concept is a self-sustaining program that no longer needs financial support from King County Metro and provides real-time park-and-ride availability at a large number of diverse sites distributed throughout the county. The study identifies a critical piece in achieving that vision; namely, a conservative, near-term, pilot-project approach that proves the market and sets the stage for the concept to grow over time until financial viability is established. The study will also identify a potential opportunity for the program to become integrated with other regional public transit parking programs.
The SR 237 Express Lanes (Phase 2) project was an extension of the existing first phase of the SR 237 Express Lanes project called SR 237/I-880 Express Connectors. The SR 237 Express Lanes (Phase 2) project involved the conversion of the remaining 4 miles of HOV lanes on SR 237 to Express Lane operations. It provided solo drivers the option of paying a toll to use the Express Lanes during commute hours. Carpools with two or more occupants, motorcycles, transit buses and eligible hybrids continue to use the Express Connectors free of charge. Tolls are collected electronically using the proven FasTrak transponder technology already in use throughout California. Tolls for solo drivers vary based on the level of congestion and are adjusted to maintain a free-flowing ride on the Express Lanes.
The SR 237 Express Lanes project has now been in successful operation since March 2012. The existing operating segment was developed using VPPP funds among other sources. Since the start of operations, this express lane has resulted in over 200,000 hours of total travel time savings in both the express lanes and adjacent general purpose lanes. Over 10 million customers have used the express lanes, about 20 percent of which were toll-paying. These customers have been the beneficiaries of a more reliable and faster commute with travel time savings of up to 14 minutes per trip, even with the recent increase in traffic resulting from a stronger economy.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) was awarded VPPP funds in 2012 to evaluate the potential of using different access approaches, such as continuous access with no painted buffer between the Express Lanes and general-purpose lanes. As part of this project, 1 mile of existing striped buffer was removed on a pilot basis. After 6 months of data collection to assess the impact of this change, this change was made permanent. This conversion would extend the reach of express lanes on SR 237 about 4 miles to the west into the city of Sunnyvale. As part of this deployment, both more open access and more restricted access arrangements for the buffer striping between express lanes and general purpose lanes was studied. The analysis resulted in the selection of the more open access for the striping separating express lanes and general purpose lanes. The extension of express lanes on SR 237 is underway with the project in the final design phase. The opening of the SR 237 express lanes extension is scheduled for 2018.
The Florida Turnpike Enterprise of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) received funding under the VPPP for evaluating the potential for implementing congestion pricing along the Turnpike System. The Integrated Congestion Pricing Plan (ICPP) included three primary phases developed over several years to determine where, when, and how congestion pricing might be used on the turnpike to improve mobility. The study also explored the opportunity to incorporate carpooling and transit services into the overall congestion pricing solution. Much of this effort focused on the large urban areas of the State that experience extended periods of congestion, including Southeast Florida, Tampa, and Orlando.
All phases of the project have been completed. Phase I of the ICPP was initiated in February 2011 and completed in December 2011. Activities in Phase I included the development of study goals and objectives, identification of various policy questions, evaluation of future roadway widening needs, and assessment of tolling plans for potential projects. In addition, some preliminary engineering evaluation was completed to help make recommendations regarding preferred design criteria. Several operational issues were also evaluated, including tolling considerations and traffic management needs.
In September 2011, FDOT received a VPPP grant to help fund Phase II of this study. Phase II was the Evaluation and Coordination portion of the study that solicited customer input regarding pricing options through market research and focus groups. This Phase was initiated in February 2012 and completed in March 2014. In this Phase, FDOT developed a public outreach and education program to obtain feedback from stakeholders on the project and completed a traffic and revenue study of two express lane projects on the Turnpike. Finally, in September 2012, FDOT received a VPPP grant to help fund Phase III of this study. During Phase III, FDOT prepared a Master Plan to guide future implementation efforts. The Phase III report evaluated FTE's congestion pricing program to determine the economic impacts that the ICPP would have on Florida's statewide economy. To this end, the IMPLAN economic impact modeling system was used to quantify both direct and indirect impacts, which ripple throughout the economy of the entire state of Florida. The study also calculated future economic benefits recognized from operating revenues.
The FDOT plans to use the study recommendations to:
As part of the immediate next steps, FDOT plans to prioritize the construction of the three express lane projects recommended under this study.
The I-35E MnPASS Extension Study was a pre-implementation planning study aimed at developing and evaluating conceptual alternatives for extending MnPASS Express Lanes between Little Canada Road and CR 96 on I-35E. The study was completed in the third quarter of 2015. The study resulted in the I-35E MnPASS Extension project moving forward into the pre-design and environmental assessment (EA) process. The EA was approved in December 2015, and project letting is planned for early 2016. The MnPASS HOT lanes in this segment are anticipated to open by December 2016. Funding from the VPPP was instrumental in the Minnesota Department of Transportation's decision to evaluate this HOT lane extension. The MnPASS lanes through the I-35E/I-694 commons area will feature two of the innovative recommendations to come out of the study:
This innovative approach will be monitored and evaluated for a 2-year period following opening. The Land Use and Transit Enhancement component of the study also developed recommendations for increasing transit and carpool use in the I-35E corridor, such as informal park-and-ride sites called "Gather and Go's." Many of these ideas and recommendations will be further evaluated and potentially implemented by local governments, transit providers, and others as community and transit planning and development move forward in the corridor.
This real-time ridesharing (RTR) pilot project based in central Texas linked dynamic ridesharing and tolling systems, providing participants shared rides with a toll discount. The project demonstrates an operational concept of using RTR technology with an existing tolling system for express lane occupancy verification. The project was the result of collaboration between FHWA and Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) along with key project partners including Carma (formerly Avego, Ltd.), the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), and TxDOT. The ridesharing system was centered on a smartphone application called Carma that facilitated carpool arrangements by listing drivers and riders with similar trips and providing an estimate of the cost of a trip for riders based on a preset per-mile rate.
The pilot was publicly launched on CTRMA's 183A expressway connecting Austin and Leander, Texas, on February 27, 2014, and then added service on the full length of the Manor Expressway connecting Austin to Manor, Texas. The project was expanded to include tollways in TxDOT's Central Texas system. A key feature of this pilot was vehicle occupancy verification and tolling using RTR technology.
Data on trip patterns collected through this pilot program was analyzed and reported. The study found several advantages of RTR for both system users and toll operators. The primary benefit to users was an average of $1.08 in savings per trip on tolls alone. For toll operators the primary benefit was the ability to verify occupancy and protect against occupancy fraud using RTR technology.
The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) Traffic Solutions and the Community Environmental Council were awarded a VPPP grant to implement dynamic ridesharing in Santa Barbara County. The project, launched in 2012, included a smartphone application that enabled real-time rideshare matching, micro incentives from the riders to the drivers, incentives for participating in the program, and extensive travel behavior data collection. The 18-month long project was implemented in two major travel corridors: Hwy 101 from Ventura to Santa Barbara's South Coast and Isla Vista (near UC Santa Barbara) to Santa Barbara City College. The project was branded as "SmartRide."
Two markets were targeted for this pilot: college students traveling Hwy 101 from Isla Vista to Santa Barbara City College and adult commuters traveling the highly congested Hwy 101 corridor from Ventura and Ojai to Santa Barbara and Goleta.
The pilot realized only minimal success in creating one-time carpools. This can be attributed to several factors, including the lengthy app development process, the steep learning curve for the app, as well as cultural barriers with real-time ridesharing.
Over the 3-year pilot program, 755 individuals downloaded the app; 418 users created a schedule in the app and 367 added a profile photo. Only 31 of the 755 users logged more than one trip. In total, 274 trips were made which resulted in 3,325 miles of ridesharing.
While the pilot failed to launch a viable, real-time ridesharing community, it was successful in helping develop the Avego Carma app. It was also valuable in contributing to the evolution of the concept of real-time ridesharing. Key lessons for communities interested in launching a real-time ridesharing program include the following:
Real-time ridesharing has tremendous potential to reshape the way people move. However, it may be a significant leap for many communities that have inherent cultural barriers to carpooling. A concept worth further testing is real-time rideshare groups comprised of 15 to 25 individuals rather than a single large ridesharing community of hundreds or thousands. These commuters may only have small variations in their commute and potentially belong to the same community or neighborhood. If each carpooler has a network of 15 to 25 people they know they can carpool with, they will likely benefit from the flexibility of a real-time ridesharing system while experiencing the comfort and familiarity that is needed to normalize this mode of travel. This incremental or phased approach would potentially have a better chance at immediate success than ridesharing implementation on a larger scale.
The San Francisco Parking Supply and Utilization Study (PSUS) evaluated the effectiveness and feasibility of several parking-related strategies to manage congestion and incentivize alternatives to driving. The study focused on off-street, nonresidential parking comprising garages and lots used for commercial, industrial, and other nonresidential purposes. The study evaluated strategies that could complement the existing on-street parking regulatory setting, including SFpark demand-based pricing. The study concentrated on the northeastern portion of San Francisco, which includes the downtown area.
The study evaluated the VMT and vehicle hours of delay (VHD) reduction attributable to several examined parking strategies. The study also examined the effects of strategies on parking-related revenue and considered the feasibility of implementing the best-performing strategies. A key finding of the study was that some of the most effective parking pricing strategies, such as bulk discount elimination, resulted in a 5.7 percent reduction in VHD.
The implementation of a performance parking system in Westwood Village is an extension of the intelligent parking system developed for downtown Los Angeles. The downtown project, LA Express Park, began operations in May 2012. The project used demand-based pricing for on-street parking and real-time parking availability to improve the utilization of parking spaces. In areas of high demand for on-street parking, the price was increased, and in areas of low demand, the price was lowered. The public was informed of parking availability and current pricing through the parking guidance system.
The goals of the program were to increase the availability of on-street parking, reduce traffic congestion and associated pollution, encourage a shift in travel choices, and improve the customer experience.
Smart parking meters and sensors were installed in all of the 460 on-street parking spaces. By linking the sensor data with the meter policies, the meters will not accept payment beyond the posted time limit until a new vehicle parks in the space.
This study explored potential regional parking policies, particularly in the realm of pricing and management. The effort resulted in the development of a regional parking database for use by local jurisdictions to inform policy. It used case studies, academic research, policy analysis, and data analysis to address the relationship between parking pricing, policies, parking supply, and parking demand in cities around the Bay Area.
Among the key findings of this study was the identification of excess parking supply, lack of an effective parking policy to balance demand and supply, misalignment of the parking requirements with demands of the local communities, and lack of analysis of alternative modes of access to transit. The study also found that employee programs that charge for parking are the most effective in reducing the number of people who drive to work.
The study also recommended strategies ranging from bold, innovative steps to small, incremental activities to reform parking policies in the Bay Area. The report recommended that Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) work closely with cities, transit agencies, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), congestion management agencies (CMA), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), development and business interests, and advocacy groups in this process of reforming parking policies.
The goal of this research is to examine and recommend changes to the design of employer-sponsored commuter benefit programs in Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA, to reduce single-occupancy vehicle commuting. The research provided an analysis of both current commuting behaviors for large employers in Cambridge as well as current incentives used in both local and national organizations to promote behavior change. The report presented the design for a tool to track the impacts of commuter benefit changes at the individual and employer level as well as a series of potential commuter incentives and their expected effects on mode share.
The report also made recommendations for the next phase of experimental trials, including strategies such as offering incentives to Kendall Square employers. The study provides a focused discussion of potential strategies that Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could employ as a large employer in the study area to promote alternatives to single-occupant vehicle commuting.
The findings of this research suggest that by changing the costs of commuting and providing both monetary and social incentives to employees, single-occupant vehicle commuting mode share can be reduced, even in high-transit, urban areas like Kendall Square. Introducing a combination of universal transit passes, parking cash-out schemes, daily parking rates, and commuter dashboards can improve transit, walking, and bicycling mode share for employers in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
King County Metro's Right Size Parking (RSP) project sought to promote livability by reducing the supply and demand for parking in new developments and by providing new residents with a range of transportation choices that are less costly than car ownership. This, in turn, is intended to facilitate the building of more compact, transit-oriented communities. The project included a dynamic Web site where users could calculate parking use at developments in order to guide decisions on building and managing parking. Incentives were offered to jurisdictions and developers to test pricing and right-sizing of parking supply, and engagement activities were conducted with the development community to encourage use of parking demand information and implementation of parking pricing strategies. The surrounding jurisdictions established a local competitive grant program for localities and developers to take aggressive actions to reduce parking supply and to promote alternatives to car ownership and use.
In December 2013, King County Metro published Right Size Parking Model Code, aimed at municipalities looking to right-size their residential parking supply. The document provides a menu of options and explanation of each policy choice. Pilots to test parking pricing, parking management, and transportation demand management strategies were awarded to four partner King County cities: Seattle, Kent, Kirkland, and Tukwila and began in 2014. The intent of the pilot projects was to apply the findings from the RSP research to better align jurisdictional parking regulations with regional goals, like increased transit ridership and affordable housing. Policy changes under consideration by the municipalities range from reductions in parking minimums to management strategies including shared parking and a residential parking program update.
The final report was completed in August 2015. The key outcomes of the RSP Project in King County include research on multifamily parking utilization, a web-based calculator to estimate parking needs, and guidance on developing parking policy and management techniques to support right sizing. The following groups have adopted study recommendations: professionals throughout King County, including local jurisdictions that have adopted new parking code; developers who now use the tool to plan new projects; and property managers who have implemented parking management and transportation demand management techniques. One important outcome from the project is the development of a multifamily transit pass program developed by King County Metro. Due to high usage of the web-based calculator tool, King County will be updating the data and underlying statistical model in 2016. In addition, King County used the findings from this study to develop a new grant project funded by VPPP, the Park-and-Ride Pricing in Multifamily Developments project. This project will test opportunities to price park-and-ride spaces at multifamily developments near high capacity transit services.
The RSP project has attracted national attention. Several regions and cities around the country, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Chicago, are currently working to replicate the RSP study and web calculator concept for their own planning purposes. Overall, RSP has significantly advanced the industry's understanding of residential parking dynamics.
8 Section 1012(b)(5) of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, PL 102-240, as amended by section 1216(a) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), and section 1604(a) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), PL109-59 .