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Priced Managed Lane Guide

CHAPTER 4. Public Outreach

Effective public outreach will help develop public awareness for the benefits of priced managed lanes as well as build political and popular support. When done effectively, public outreach can facilitate efforts to implement new projects. Public outreach can also provide valuable feedback to help decision makers evaluate a priced managed lanes proposal. Without a robust outreach program, the public may greet the introduction of a new priced managed lanes facility or conversion of an existing facility with indifference, caution or disdain. Similarly, marketing is critical to attracting users to the facility and meeting revenue goals.

Carefully planned and executed public outreach will help the public to 1) understand how a proposed priced managed lanes facility would work, 2) evaluate the advantages it might offer, 3) accept and use the facility as a new travel option, and 4) encourage travelers to become customers.

4.1.1 How Outreach for Priced Managed Lanes Projects Differs From Other Transportation Projects

While they will utilize many of the same techniques to exchange information, public outreach activities designed for priced managed lane initiatives need to be different from those designed for more conventional transportation improvements. This is especially true when converting or transitioning from free lanes to tolled lanes. A priced managed lanes or tolled project’s public outreach includes public involvement, government relations, media relations, and marketing strategies all rolled into one. Communications and marketing plans for priced managed lanes projects must be integrated to meet multiple objectives such as educating and informing the public, achieving or exceeding penetration and sales goals, and building support for the project among key political figures and opinion leaders.

In addition, any project that includes tolling or fees transforms the public into paying customers, who are concerned about their own finances and someone managing their accounts. Even more concern arises when these accounts are handled electronically. So, there are several communications plans that all have to integrate with each other, and take into consideration the sensitive nature of tolls and fees.

There will be pressure for the lanes to perform well. When priced managed lanes open to back-ups in the general-purpose lanes, severe public scrutiny or opposition, or confusion, constituents look to their elected leaders for help. There are examples where political leaders have stepped in and reduced tolls, delayed tolling, and modified operations, often reacting to outcry from their constituents. It is therefore essential to conduct sound research, educate the public and political leaders, and manage expectations from the very beginning of project inception.

While becoming more widespread in the United States, priced managed lanes are a fairly new concept in some places, and public outreach for new project proposals will necessarily involve a larger educational component than traditional transportation projects. Priced managed lanes are unlike conventional road improvements—such as roadway resurfacing or reconfiguring an interchange—where the public may readily understand the future benefits. As discussed in Chapter 1, Section 3 of this Guide, priced managed lanes often have a number of complementary goals including traffic management, revenue generation, providing new travel choices and enhancing transit service.

4.2 Public Acceptance of Priced Managed Lanes: The Issues

During the public outreach process for a proposed priced managed lanes facility, certain issues not associated with conventional highway improvements may be of keen interest to the general public and particular stakeholder groups. It is helpful for project sponsors to be aware of these issues in advance and address them proactively during the public outreach process.

4.2.1 Issues

The following issues are likely to be of interest to the public:

  • Project benefits and goals
  • Travel impacts
  • User fees
  • Project cost and use of Funds
  • Equity
  • Geographic Equity
  • Technology
  • Enforcement

These issues are discussed in further detail below. Project sponsors may also wish to confer with colleagues in other regions that have pursued priced managed lane initiatives. These peer exchanges can provide valuable insight into the issues encountered, the public outreach approach followed, and what might have been done differently in hindsight.

Project Benefits and Goals

As with any investment of public funds, constituents and stakeholder groups have an immediate interest in the benefits that a priced managed lanes facility may bring and they will want to know why priced managed lanes are the best solution to address a given problem. Project sponsors who can discuss the specific advantages anticipated from a priced managed lanes facility can more easily communicate the project’s rationale to a variety of public interests. Succinctly communicating the anticipated benefits through key messages plays an especially important role in regions where priced lane concepts may be new or not widely understood. Consider developing key messages that incorporate statements about the benefits of the project, such as those discussed in Chapter 1.

The public is generally supportive of projects that provide new priced managed lane capacity in congested corridors, as well as those such as the 95 Express in Miami or the I-10 Express in Los Angeles that involve the conversion of existing HOV lanes to HOT operation together with the provision of new priced managed lanes. The public may be more skeptical of projects that involve the conversion of existing HOV lanes to HOT operation without the provision of new capacity. In this case, project sponsors will need to address the concerns of existing HOV drivers and transit users who will likely be concerned that the introduction of paying motorists on the managed lanes could compromise existing conditions.

Travel Impacts

Research has found that in priced managed lane corridors, very few drivers choose to use the priced lanes all the time. Instead, users may choose to pay to use the lanes when they want to guarantee their trip time or avoid congestion. At other times, drivers will choose the general-purpose lanes during congested conditions to avoid paying a toll. Even frequent managed lane users are likely to make many of their trips on the free general-purpose lanes, or choose alternate modes like transit on certain days. Managed lanes allow people the flexibility to choose the priced lanes for a reliable trip some days and other modes of transportation other days.

Accordingly, project planners may use the public outreach process to address how the proposed priced managed lanes will affect travel conditions for non-users and current HOV travelers. The travel impacts on adjacent facilities will depend on the nature of the facility itself.

User Fees

In addition to the potential benefits of revenue generated by a priced managed lanes facility, stakeholders will wish to know about the nature of the user fees themselves. Many questions are likely to arise:

  • “How much will it cost?” The public will perhaps have the greatest interest in knowing how much it will cost to use the proposed facility. Because fees usually vary depending on the time of day and associated congestion levels, priced managed lanes involve an additional dimension for public outreach efforts. Informational materials, public presentations, and news articles discussing the proposed facility can explain its approach to tolls and how tolls can be paid. Project sponsors will need to ensure that all audiences understand the dynamics of the proposed tolling structure.
  • “If the price changes by the time of day, how will I know how much it costs?” When tolls are based on time of day travel conditions, additional public education is needed. Materials and presentations can explain that the current toll will be clearly posted on digital message boards at all entrances to the facility. It is important to communicate that motorists will always be informed of the current toll rate before having to choose to enter the priced managed lanes. When posted clearly prior to entrances, this information allows drivers to decide whether or not to use the facility.
  • “Can you tell us now what the tolls will be?” Although potential users may inquire about the proposed toll amounts, fee schedules are often developed in a project’s later planning stages. In earlier planning stages, outreach efforts may discuss the potential range for fees, if appropriate. However, formulating an effective toll schedule often involves marketing surveys of potential users, and final toll levels may be undetermined in early phases. Moreover, once the facility opens, facility operators may have to adjust toll fees in order to control the level of traffic service on the facility. Where a facility uses real-time dynamic prices, tolls are posted but no advance toll schedule is used. Project planners can use the public outreach process to describe how fees are established and, where appropriate, to discuss overall ranges for the potential fees.
  • “Are drivers paying for premium service?” The rationale for tolls on priced managed lanes differs from that of traditional tolls. Historically, tolls have been charged as a means to pay for the construction, operation and maintenance of the roads and bridges where they are collected. Priced managed lanes, however, have an added dimension. The fee paid by users not only allows the driver to use the facility, but also ensures the driver will benefit from a high level of traffic service. Public outreach efforts can convey the message that drivers are paying for time savings and trip time reliability. When explaining how congestion pricing works, project sponsors will need to tackle the difficult message that when the managed lanes are reaching capacity, the price will go up, and traffic will still be congested during the transition.
  • “Will I have to stop and wait in line at a toll booth?” Stakeholders may also raise the issue of toll collection. Manual toll collection is associated by many with stops and long delays at toll plazas; however, high-speed ETC, also known as all-electronic tolling, is standard practice for all current priced managed lanes facilities. As a vital component of priced managed lanes, ETC deserves elaboration in the public outreach process. Motorists have a great stake in ETC’s capacity for eliminating delays and making toll collection invisible and easy.
Congestion Pricing: A Familiar Concept

Although priced managed lanes or toll roads may not exist in a given region, the concept of paying a higher price during premium times does. For example, air passengers are accustomed to paying higher fares during high travel seasons when there is much demand for flights. In the case of managed lanes, drivers pay a higher price during peak travel times, and they get a reliable, less congested trip. While drivers may perceive tolls as a cost, many would value the travel time savings associated with the fees. If asked, “Would you pay two dollars to save 30 minutes on your evening commute?” many motorists would answer, “Yes.”

Project Cost and Use of Funds

The public is normally interested in how the revenues generated by priced managed lanes will be used. While tolls are not popular, experience with existing priced managed lanes demonstrates that these projects are likely to garner greater support with the public when toll revenues are used to support the maintenance and operations of the project and other transportation needs in the priced corridor, including transit improvements.

The public may also be interested in the capital construction cost of the facility. They will want to know where the money to build the priced managed lanes is coming from and whether or not the project will be paid for from the toll proceeds. A common public sentiment is, “Since I’ve already paid my taxes for these road improvements, why do I have to pay (again) to use them?” Project teams have likened this to paying for utilities—we all pay taxes for energy, but those who use more pay more. Because priced managed lanes produce revenues, a number of policy questions and administrative issues come to the fore.

When it comes to priced managed lanes and tolling in general, a big question for the public is “What do my tolls pay for?” To gain public acceptance and understanding for priced-managed lanes, project sponsors must clearly articulate the benefits and features that toll revenues will help fund. This may also make the point that what the public has already paid for with traditional gas tax funding has not been able to providing reliable trips. Most communities are more accepting if the generated revenues are used for a dedicated purpose, such as supporting transportation improvements.

Project Spotlight: I-15, San Diego, California

The I-15 Express Lanes facility in San Diego offers an example of an HOV lane conversion that includes an integral transit component. The 20-mile, state-of-the-art Express Lanes facility between SR 163 and SR 78 was completed in January 2012. The I-15 Express Lanes feature four lanes with a moveable barrier; multiple access points to the general-purpose highway lanes; and access ramps from transit centers providing high-frequency BRT service. The original 8-mile, reversible HOV lanes were funded partially with transit monies, and the initial project sponsors launched an express bus service as part of the original congestion pricing project. Today, I-15 FasTrak® toll revenues fund nearly $1 million per year of premium express bus service in the I-15 corridor. After facility operating expenses are settled, the California law that authorized the pricing demonstration requires any remaining revenues to be spent improving transit service in the I-15 corridor. This arrangement played a large role in the political acceptability of the project, and it is one way to address transit concerns when a priced managed lanes project involves an HOV-lane conversion and when the support of local transit authorities and other officials for the managed lane is important. To date, over $8 million have been channeled to improve corridor transit operations as a result. By dedicating all or a portion of net revenues to local transit services, a project may be perceived as more equitable and win greater approval. For more information on SANDAG, I-15 Express Lanes, visit:


Because priced managed lanes provide paying drivers the opportunity to bypass congestion, some critics have asserted that these facilities favor higher income individuals (i.e. Lexus Lanes). In spite of this concern, priced managed lane usage data show that drivers in all income brackets use and support the facilities, albeit in different ways. Usage statistics seem to indicate that while most toll-paying customers have higher than average income, lower income drivers like the option of occasionally using priced lanes when time is of the essence and frequently use enhanced transit services that often are part of priced managed lane projects. Since congestion in the general-purpose lanes may decrease due to adding priced manages lanes, overall corridor congestion is generally reduced for all users.

Local political support plays a key role in building consensus for priced managed lane initiatives among the public. Where local constituents are concerned about equity, it is especially important to address in outreach efforts how the proposed project may impact people in different income ranges. Local officials and public figures who can defuse equity debates with usage data may be more successful project champions. Outreach efforts that listen to the public’s concerns, address equity questions directly, and communicate experiences from operating managed lanes facilities can allay local concerns that priced lane benefits are enjoyed inequitably.

Jurisdictions conducting an environmental analysis for a congestion-pricing project may wonder how to evaluate the environmental justice effects of congestion-pricing. USDOT and FHWA require that environmental justice be considered for all phases of transportation planning and development, including the preparation of an EIS. According to USDOT and FHWA orders, federal agencies are required to explicitly consider human health and environmental effects related to transportation projects that may have a disproportionately high and adverse effect on low-income and minority populations.

When conducting environmental justice analyses of a congestion-pricing projects, it is important to evaluate the benefits to and impacts on low-income and minority users. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) collected information on the potential effects of tolling the existing State Route 520 Bridge on low-income and minority users by conducting a random sample telephone survey that oversampled low-income and minority populations, transit intercept surveys on buses crossing the SR 520 Bridge, and focus groups with low-income and minority populations.

Geographic Equity

Concerns may also arise if a proposed facility appears to favor one geographic region over another. For instance, the location of limited entry and exit points to the lanes may be contentious, as all communities may wish to have easy access to the facility. In this case, the public outreach process is the appropriate forum for community stakeholders, project planners, and politicians to address the issue. The collaborative nature of the public process can be used to identify measures to counter any geographic concerns. As discussed later in this chapter, some project sponsors have enlisted a regional advisory group of leaders and/or citizens to talk through the issues, see all sides, and reach consensus.

Project Spotlight: North Central Texas Council of Governments Regional Tolling Analysis

To determine the environmental justice impact of an expanding system of priced roadway facilities, including toll roads and managed lanes, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, working in conjunction with the Texas Department of Transportation, the North Texas Tollway Authority, and the Federal Highway Administration, developed technical methodologies, identified assessment metrics of potential impacts, and produced a final report of findings for the public, known as the Regional Tolling Analysis. This analysis is now in its second iteration, provides a companion analysis to support Mobility 2035: The Metropolitan Transportation Plan for North Central Texas. The need for the Regional Tolling Analysis was first identified as the Dallas-Fort Worth region began to rely more heavily on priced facilities in its long range planning efforts, both for financial reasons and as a method to actively manage travel demand. This expanded reliance on priced facilities generated concern of potentially negative impacts to environmental justice communities, in particular low-income residents. The collaboration between the regional transportation partners resulted in an analysis which provides quantitative results for the environmental justice study. These results have shown that no disproportionate or adverse impacts would be anticipated as a result of the implementation of the toll road and managed lane system, and therefore no mitigation efforts would be required. The results also served to validate the regional planning process, and the goals of avoiding or minimizing impacts, used in the development of Mobility 2035.

Technology Concerns

Electronic toll collection is standard in the United States, known in different regions by brand names such as E-Z Pass and FasTrak. Nonetheless, project planners should not assume that the public is familiar with this new technology. Public outreach efforts provide various opportunities to introduce the proposed toll collection technology to potential users. Project sponsors need to explain how the proposed ETC system will work, including the role of an electronic transponder, the function of entry and exit gantries, the administration of pass-holder accounts, and the protection of individual privacy.

Although electronic toll collection has proven an effective and even popular tool with commuters, some perceive the electronic tracking of vehicles as an invasion of privacy. With the increased use of photo enforcement, this has become even more of an issue. Outreach materials should address this issue and provide detailed information on the mechanisms used to protect the privacy of motorists’ movements, as well as their financial and credit card information. One-way tolling agencies have addressed this issue is by linking the transponder with a generic, internal account number that does not reveal the driver’s identity. For example, California’s FasTrak program allows customers to open an anonymous FasTrak account without requiring a customer’s name, address or vehicle information. Customers are responsible for maintaining prepaid funds in their FasTrak account. Information on this program is available at: Public outreach efforts can generate public confidence in the priced managed lanes technology by explaining how people’s privacy is protected with these systems.

Additionally, once priced managed lanes open, the initial performance of the ETC system will be of paramount importance. If toll collection snags occur during the project’s launch, users may be unforgiving. Public outreach should include clear information on how the technology will work, where to buy a transponder, how to update an ETC account, and how the system is working.


The traveling public will also want information on how the priced managed lanes will be enforcement. Project sponsors should emphasize the enforcement usually relies on a combination of automated systems to verify ETC transactions and visual inspections to enforce moving violations and occupancy requirements for non-paying users. Agencies sponsoring priced managed lane projects should coordinate early on with enforcement agencies as well as the local judicial system to agree upon enforcement strategies and policies and the degree to which state and local law allow these processes to be automated. A lack of upfront coordination could lead to misinformation and changes that could be detrimental to public support.

4.3 Project Champions and Their Role

Garnering support from one or more public figures can be one of the most instrumental factors in garnering support for a priced managed lanes project or its implementation. A project champion may be an elected official, a community leader, or private sector leader who effectively communicates an individual or organizational rationale for supporting the project. Although local departments of transportation, transportation authorities, and MPOs will likely serve as project sponsors, respected public figures who are not transportation professionals can play a critical role by publicly supporting the project.

Project champions can play a very public role or work behind-the-scenes to help move a project forward. Public champions may guide the development of priced manages lanes projects during critical public outreach processes. Educating and informing key spokespeople helps ensure they are ready to talk about the project in the face of opposition. In some cases, a project champion may also be influential in political processes if the project requires legislative action or if it is debated in public elections. Project champions also act as effective coalition builders for a project, building consensus among different interest groups.

Because priced managed lanes must often receive approval at various stages and at various levels of government, it can be advantageous if several individuals champion the project. Some may be successful at building support for the initiative locally, and others may help to make a case for the project to governors, mayors, U.S. representatives and senators. Businesses can also be important project champions, especially those that depend on reliable transportation.

Early involvement by project champions can be helpful in gaining public support for priced managed lanes. A particular group or individual may step forward to express initial interest in and support of the proposal. Project sponsors should be proactive in seeking out potential project champions early in the public involvement process. In some cases, champions may come from organizations and interest groups that are non-traditional supporters of roadway projects. For instance, if a priced managed lanes project promises to deliver environmental benefits, groups like the Sierra Club may lend their support.

Elected officials may emerge as important project champions, making the inclusion of elected officials in outreach efforts important for project planning. When formulating a position, politicians may consider the project from numerous angles, including its impact on constituents and its effect on local governance and finance. Outreach to elected officials should discuss an array of issues about the proposed initiative, including any impacts that local constituents may experience as a result of the project. Other issues that elected officials may consider when deciding whether to back the project include the following:

  • The disposition of toll revenues
  • Increased public spending
  • Increased public revenues
  • Alternative financing scenarios
  • Competing transportation needs
  • Competing transportation projects
  • The elected official’s political capital
  • The elected official’s relationships with other officials and political jurisdictions

4.3.1 Identifying Potential Champions

Table 4-1 highlights some groups whose leaders may play the role of champion, depending on the circumstances of the project. When anticipating responses from different stakeholder groups, it is important to recognize that support for or opposition to a priced managed lanes project may depend on project circumstances. For example, a managed lane operation proposed to regulate over- or under-utilization of an existing HOV lane may be received differently by different groups than a proposed new lane addition.

Table 4-1: Identifying Potential Priced Managed Lanes Champions
Group Why they may support
Newspaper Editorial Boards and Local Media Media support may come where the project rationale is well understood and where editorial boards believe the project benefits and deserves support of their readers.
Elected Officials Elected officials may support the project if they favor the managed lanes’ market-oriented approach or the project benefits, if they want an innovative project in their district, or if their constituents support the proposal.
American Automobile Association Managed lane facilities may promise better mobility for their members.
Environmental Advocates If a managed lane project converts an existing general-purpose lane, it could make single-occupant auto travel less attractive.
Taxi Associations Taxis that use a managed lane may be able to generate more fares in less time during peak periods.
Transit Agencies; Transit Advocates In corridors without existing preferential lane treatment for HOVs or transit, transit operators may support managed lanes due to transit time savings.
Emergency Medical Service / Police and Fire Departments Managed lanes may enable emergency services to respond more quickly to incidents.
Rideshare Agencies, Transportation Management Associations For an over utilized HOV lane changing from 2+ to 3+ HOT operation, managed lane tolling may enable the facility to recapture operational benefits.
Employers; Business Groups Employers and business may support managed lanes for the potential to make transportation operations more efficient and to reduce delay time. Express delivery companies and other businesses that rely on predictable and efficient travel times may also be key project supporters.
Developers Developers may support managed lane facilities that enhance access to office buildings, shopping centers, residences or other locations they own.
Neighborhood Associations Area residents may support the managed lane facility if it enhances their mobility and travel options.

4.4 Building Consensus

Public outreach efforts establish meaningful processes for public participation in the planning and implementation of transportation projects and ensure that the different stakeholders have a voice in the planning process. This enables diverse interests involved to arrive at a transportation solution that is broadly accepted and beneficial. Ultimately, the goal of a public involvement program in support of a priced managed lanes project is to achieve consensus around and utilization of a program of action. While one segment of the population may strongly favor priced managed lanes as the solution, another segment may feel it derives little benefit from the proposed facility. As with any proposed transportation improvement, priced managed lanes may have documented potential for technical and operational success, but may not find unanimous approval among constituents in the corridor.

As discussed earlier, the backing of political champions is always an essential element in building political consensus. Greater involvement by local and regional officials and stakeholders, in early planning stages and onward, may increase the effectiveness of public outreach efforts. Including a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the public outreach can be critical. In many cases, a single decision maker, such as a governor or mayor, may be in a position to derail or bolster the proposed project. Greater involvement by local business leaders, community groups, and other public officials in project planning helps to ensure that key decision makers will consider the broad range of interests when they take a position on a proposed priced managed lanes project.

Achieving Consensus: Key Objectives

Project sponsors that manage inclusive, responsive and effective outreach to stakeholders establish their own legitimacy and the legitimacy of the technical analyses, decision-making, and public processes that support project implementation.

Be Responsive Be Effective
  • Get to know all the potentially affected interests
  • Understand the project from their perspective
  • Identify all the relevant problems
  • Generate solutions
  • Articulate and clarify all key issues
  • Nurture and protect credibility
  • Have all communication received and understood by appropriate potentially affected interests
  • Receive and review all the information needed to understand the potentially affected interests
  • Search for common ground among polarized interests who have conflicting values
  • Mediate between conflicting interests
Project Snapshot: I-394 MnPASS Express Lanes

After a decade of public discussion and political debate, the I-394 MnPASS Express Lane, Minnesota’s first HOT lane, opened in May 2005. The MnPASS project was designed to improve the efficiency of I-394 by increasing the person- and vehicle-carrying capabilities of existing HOV lanes; maintaining free flow speeds for transit and carpools; and using electronic toll collection -- tags/transponders and readers -- for dynamic pricing and electronic enforcement. While previous road pricing initiatives in Minnesota, as in other states, have provided opportunity for public feedback, that process tends to be confrontational and less than satisfying for all parties. Both citizens and politicians often feel comments and concerns are minimized and rarely taken seriously enough to alter project plans. Recognizing this deficiency, MnDOT formed the I-394 Express Lane Community Task Force to help citizens and stakeholders fully understand the project and its goals and to provide a more effective vehicle to give advice and guidance during the development of the project. This Task Force was a broad based group representing legislative, community and groups of special interest. Through this process, the task force members became an informed voice regarding the project and an essential part of an extensive education, outreach and public involvement process that was critical to the success of the I-394 MnPASS project.

In using the public outreach process to build consensus, planners should attempt to anticipate the concerns of specific interest groups. An understanding of what aspects of priced managed lanes projects may be more or less attractive to different groups can be valuable to project sponsors. Certain stakeholders and interest groups with a defined agenda may support or oppose a project depending on their priorities and how their town or county may be affected by the project. When sponsors understand constituents’ concerns, the public outreach process can be tailored to ensure that those issues are addressed and to discuss how those concerns will or could be accommodated within the proposed project.

These objectives, as well as a stakeholder analysis that includes identification of interest groups with a potential specific interest in the project, should be included in initial project planning and outlined in the Communications Plan.

Stakeholders may possess a range of opinions about a project, but consensus on a course of action is more likely if the public has been engaged in discussions of all the issues and if stakeholders agree upon the following:

  • A serious congestion problem exists and should be addressed. Conventional solutions like adding additional general-purpose lanes, building transit facilities, or applying short-term or site-specific transportation systems management strategies may not be sufficient.
  • Travel-time reliability in the corridor is desirable.
  • Given the sponsoring agency’s mission, it is the right entity to address the situation.
  • The sponsoring agency’s approach and proposed solution to the problem is reasonable, sensible, responsible, and fair.
  • The sponsoring agency listens to and cares about local stakeholders.

4.4.1 Stakeholder Identification

In reaching out to local communities; political groups and organizations; elected officials; and neighboring cities, towns, and counties, project planners should include all potential stakeholders. No segment of a community likes to be left out or surprised, and early efforts at inclusiveness will help to establish channels of communication at the outset of a priced managed lanes project.

Potential Stakeholders

When developing the project’s communications plan, project planners should identify the various stakeholders who will be impacted by or may have an interest in the project. Local MPOs may be helpful in assembling a logical list of concerned parties. While priced managed lanes themselves have discrete locations, the facilities are part of a regional, multimodal transportation network that may cross multiple jurisdictional boundaries. As with any transportation improvement, coordination and cooperation among neighboring governments and related agencies can ease the planning and implementation of priced managed lanes. The list of stakeholders will vary from project to project, but concerned parties may include the following:

  • Local residents
  • Neighborhood groups and associations
  • Elected officials
  • Neighboring counties, municipalities, or towns
  • Associations of governments
  • Metropolitan planning organizations
  • Area businesses
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Tourism representatives
  • Developers
  • Local and state departments of transportation
  • Local and regional transportation providers
  • Local and regional transit providers (public and private)
  • Local and regional tolling authorities
  • Rideshare coordinators
  • Public agencies (for land use and air quality)
  • Emergency service providers
  • Environmental groups
  • Transit rider groups
  • Automobile clubs
  • Taxi associations
  • Labor interests
  • Trucking interests
  • Newspaper reporters
  • Newspaper editorial boards
  • Think tanks

Sharing Information

Keeping the variety of stakeholders well informed during the initial project planning, review, construction, implementation, and operation phases is important for consensus building. Project planners and spokespeople can use a variety of methods to keep stakeholders involved and informed. These may include the following:

  • Advance notice for public meetings
  • Public meetings
  • Brainstorming sessions/group problem solving
  • Email lists and newsletters
  • Social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook)
  • Telephone information/service lines
  • Project websites
  • Walk-in office/customer service centers

Stakeholder coordination should continue throughout project implementation. Ensuring that technical work does not outpace constituency building is a prudent approach that keeps state, county and local politicians informed of project activities on a regular basis.

4.4.2 Citizens’ Advisory Committee/Community Task Force

One option for formalizing public participation is through a citizens’ advisory committee. Such committees can be effective outreach tools and they may be particularly useful for priced managed lanes initiatives. Participants can be drawn from a variety of groups in the early planning stages, and the committee can help guide the public outreach process through later phases of planning and implementation. The group can be an important resource for identifying issues that outreach efforts should address and for connecting project sponsors with area community groups and other organized stakeholders. An advisory committee can also help to identify and recruit political champions.

4.4.3 Executive Advisory Committee

Some project sponsors have assembled a network of community leaders, inviting their input at key strategic points in the project progress. An executive-level advisory committee typically includes mayors, agency leaders, and other state and local elected officials. While these types of committees rarely have decision-making authority, their value is in representing their constituents, advising planners, and contributing to regional consensus. These committees may also be valuable in developing or maintaining regional consensus and helping to resolve conflicts between governments and agencies.

Figure 4-1 shows how different stakeholder groups, including an Executive Committee and Citizen Advisory Committee, can work together to help build consensus for a project.

Figure 4-1: Stakeholder Engagement Process for the I-405 Project in Washington State

This figure shows the decision process flowing from a steering committee to citizen committee, to executive committee, to the public, then back around a repeating sequence of the above. The information flow arrows connect all four decision processes.
Source: Washington State Department of Transportation

Project Snapshot: WSDOT I-405 Congestion Relief and Bus Rapid Transit Projects

The WSDOT Interstate 405 Congestion Relief and Bus Rapid Transit Projects incorporate highway improvement projects in Kirkland, Bellevue, and Renton, Washington. WSDOT worked with cities, counties, federal agencies, transit agencies and community groups to develop consensus for a long-term vision for the multi-modal redevelopment of I-405. This effort culminated in a three-year EIS development process that outlines transit, roadway and environmental investments including more than 300 improvements. The EIS received approval with the Record of Decision in October 2002 and now serves as a corridor master plan. The I 405 Master Plan calls for a system of managed lanes along the length of the corridor.

The program’s strong public and political support led to $1.5 billion in new funds adopted through two major legislative actions and one major public vote. Today, the I-405 Congestion Relief and Bus Rapid Transit Projects are delivering ahead of time and under budget on a range of multi-modal transportation investments. Three committees, a Citizen Advisory Committee, Steering Committee and Executive Committee, included over 80 members who provided direction and feedback and helped promote a regional consensus for the program’s decisions. The program serves as a good example of how a Citizen Advisory Committee can help build support for a project even in its early stages. The I-405 Citizen Advisory Committee included a wide range of business, environmental, freight, modal and neighborhood groups and was instrumental in facilitating the flow of information between committee members and the project management team, as well as the facilitation of a common understanding of program issues and decisions.

Early engagement by the Citizen Advisory Committee in the master planning process has led to continued support for subsequent improvements in the corridor, including the current NE 6th Street to I-5 Widening and Express Toll Lanes project. This project will include a dual express toll lane system from downtown Bellevue to Bothell/Woodinville and an existing carpool lane from SR 522 to I-5 will be converted to a single express toll (managed) lane, providing 17 miles of additional congestion relief. The project has been met with widespread community and elected official support because the benefits and tradeoffs of how improvements will fit into overall corridor improvements are largely understood and accepted.

Project Snapshot: WSDOT Eastside Corridor Tolling Study

In 2009, the Washington State Legislature asked WSDOT to conduct a study on the feasibility of adding up to two express toll lanes to I-405 that would connect with existing HOT lanes on SR 167 to form a seamless 50-mile Eastside Corridor. The end goal was to develop a set of funding and phasing principles that will guide future project implementation and help inform the Legislature as it grappled with the decision of whether or not to authorize tolling for the corridor. This was a fast track process that called for a lot of community input. As part of the study, the Legislature specifically directed WSDOT to confer with corridor communities and to conduct public work sessions and outreach. The greatest challenge was the size of the corridor—over 50 freeway miles and 20 communities. The outreach process was anchored by two advisory committees that provided input on public communications, policies and implementation strategies—an Executive Advisory Group (EAG) made up of legislators, mayors, transit officials and other elected officials and an Interagency Working Group that included technical staff from local jurisdictions and transit agencies. Focused outreach to the general public supported and informed discussion by these two groups. The role of the EAG was to:

  • Identify issues vital to the Eastside Corridor tolling implementation process;
  • Provide strategic advice to WSDOT on the implementation of toll lanes for policy consideration by the Governor and the Legislature.
  • Act as project champions and assist in providing opportunities for public, business and civic group input.
  • Advise WSDOT on the development of funding and phasing principles to help guide the budget and schedule objectives.
  • Represent the governments and agencies they belong to and assist in building/maintaining a regional consensus and keeping their community informed.

Input from both groups was summarized in the final tolling study report that was delivered to the Governor and Legislature in January 2010.

4.5 Marketing and Refining the Concept

Ultimately, the success of a priced managed lanes facility will depend on drivers who are willing to pay to use it. In fact, some facilities refer to users as subscribers, pass holders, or customers, indicating that the facility has a clientele, and that drivers generally must acquire an electronic tag (transponder) for automated toll collection in order to use the facility.

Because priced managed lanes facilities are generally constructed within or parallel to existing roadways, drivers in the corridor may choose which facility to use: the general-purpose lanes or the tolled lanes. Project planners thus face a challenge that is unique in highway facility planning: to cultivate users for the facility. Most highway or transportation officials traditionally have not had to advertise or market their facilities, but marketing is an important element of priced managed lanes projects. For this reason, some transportation agencies developing priced managed lanes have sought the services of marketing professionals to develop and implement a marketing plan in conjunction with and parallel to the public outreach process.

The marketing aspect of priced managed lanes facility planning is directly related to project feasibility. Marketing efforts can address how and why drivers may opt to acquire a user tag and toll account, and under what circumstances they will choose to use the facility for a given trip. Marketing techniques can be used to increase the number of users, address customer satisfaction issues, and to keep drivers well informed of any planned operational changes.

At various phases of the priced managed lanes development process, project marketing efforts may need to focus on different issues. Although the basic marketing objectives outlined below follow a general chronological evolution, the answer to later questions may draw heavily from what is learned during earlier marketing and public outreach efforts.

When to Market

Although marketing is often perceived as advertising a final product, priced managed lanes marketing is not a one-time venture. Marketing efforts will be more productive if they are employed well in advance of the facility’s opening and if they continue after the facility begins operation. Early market research provides important opportunities to gauge the project’s potential for success, as well as to improve the project’s chances of success. From the earliest planning phases, multiple marketing opportunities exist to gather information from the public about potential usage and to provide information to the public about the proposed facility. Marketing efforts in later project phases, even after operations have begun, can assess user satisfaction, increase use, and attract additional users.

4.5.1 Developing and Implementing a Marketing Plan

To ensure the facility is a success, planners will target the ideal number of users it will take to reach congestion-management and/or revenue goals. Underlying these tactics is the need to subtly change the way the public perceives tolling and thus their behavior. Marketing and communications efforts help lay the foundation for acceptance of tolling as it becomes a key method for funding and maintaining large infrastructure projects in the future. Whether a state already has tolling or is starting a new tolling program, it is likely they will need some form of a public education and/or marketing campaign. The state’s toll policy status will help determine what type of marketing is required for the priced managed lanes, for example:

  • State has a well-established toll program – Today, there are toll facilities in operation in 35 states and one US territory. Urban commuters in particular are more and more familiar with paying tolls. Education campaigns focus on awareness of the different kinds of tolling (variable, congestion pricing, flat rate) and the benefits, as well as targeting sales of transponders and accounts.
  • State has no tolled facilities – The state may have tolled in the past, but currently has no tolled facilities. There will likely be some negative sentiment for tolling, so a strong education program will focus not only on the benefits of tolling, but also about how tolling works. A marketing campaign targeted at sales and/or opening of ETC accounts will have to start at the beginning of the tolling story and design a campaign that takes the customer through the entire evolution of the sales cycle.

A comprehensive marketing plan will direct the sales, marketing and education strategies, and be complementary to the public involvement plan. The marketing plan could include the following stages listed in chronological order.


Learning about a project’s customers will provide a foundation for the entire outreach process. Determining the level of awareness of and knowledge about tolling and priced managed lanes by different groups will provide direction for marketing initiatives and parallel public outreach efforts. For example, an initial “attitudes and awareness” survey of area households could gauge public knowledge of the managed lane concept, public attitudes towards congestion pricing, as well as preferences and behaviors. Research is also very valuable to determine why the road is being used by the customer. Is it to travel to work or to a baseball game? When we understand why the road is being traveled we are able to determine who would make good co-marketing partners and can use this information as a catalyst to build benefits and to connect with the customer. The survey can be done by random phone calls (statistically valid) or online. Focus group data can complement survey results by engaging in more detailed conversation with a sample group. This research will help identify what and how much education is needed, and how current educational efforts could be tailored to meet public needs.

Project Snapshot: 495 Express Lanes

Like any consumer product, priced managed lanes must be specifically defined to meet their customers’ needs. Managed lanes are a choice for travelers and will not generate sufficient revenue unless the product they offer is something customers value, understand how to use, and can easily access. As a result, these projects must be designed as much by future users as they are by engineers and that process must begin early in the project development phase. The 495 Express Lanes team in Northern Virginia began conducting consumer research for the project a full five years before the anticipated opening of the lanes, including surveys, customer segmentation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. This research has informed every element of the project’s design and operations strategies, including how toll prices are communicated on digital message signs on the road, the location of entry and exit points, the enforcement program, marketing and communications tactics, and even the development of the tolling algorithm itself.

Determining the Market

One of the most important issues that must be addressed in the early planning phases for priced managed lanes projects is determining the market and overall feasibility of a proposed project. What corridors and origin-destination pairs would be appropriate for the facility? Who might use the facility under consideration? What factors might make a driver more or less willing to pay to use the facility? Where should access points be located or how should toll collection be managed? When this market exploration is done properly, project planners are more likely to design a project that the public wants to use. These inquiries also supply technical experts with the information necessary (i.e., volume and revenue assumptions) to assess the fundamental feasibility of different project alternatives.

4.5.2 Branding

While the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (2009 edition) requires all priced managed lanes to be referred to as “Express Lanes,” there are many other issues that influence the branding of these facilities. How will the project fit within the state’s existing toll program and ETC vendor? Will the lanes have a logo? What’s the desired user experience? How will sponsors message the project to the public? These are all questions that fall under branding, that is, the name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination intended to identify an organization’s goods and services and to differentiate them from others. The brand will help people identify the lanes, know what to call them, remember to use them, how to use them, and better understand the lanes’ purpose and goals.

Project Snapshot: Dallas-Fort Worth Area Public Information Officer Working Group

In Dallas, the local MPO created a managed-lane public information officers’ (PIO) working group to manage the public messaging for an HOV to HOT conversion project. The PIO working group consists of representatives from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the North Texas Tollway authority, and the PPP contractors who are developing the corridors and will operate them once open. One of the first tasks of this workgroup is to “brand” the new managed lane system and conduct extensive public outreach to ensure everyone understands why the evolution of these lanes is occurring and how the new facilities will operate. To begin the branding process a public competition will be held to name the new managed lane system.

4.5.3 Incentives

Providing incentives on tolls motivates the customer to use the priced managed lanes and to ultimately become familiar enough to create the habit of continued use. Incentives can range from a percentage off tolls to free trips. When putting together incentive strategies it is important to use the information from the research to determine how to motivate customers and then determine the feasibility for implementation. Duration, back-end implementation, outward facing promotion and potential revenue cost models need to be considered and thoroughly developed before incentives are determined and finalized.

Project Snapshot: Several Bay Area Projects – One FasTrak Brand

Due to vast experience with toll bridges, the Bay Area has a well-established brand for electronic toll systems. The I-680 express lane and 880/237 express lane have been able to tap into a strong overall brand seamlessly. This is demonstrated on the following websites where each facility prominently features FasTrak images:

4.5.4 Advertising

Depending on a project’s transponder penetration goals and public education target audiences, there could be a need for paid advertising. When engaging in paid advertising it is important that project sponsors know their customers well and that they put together a paid media campaign that reaches them as efficiently as possible to make the best use of resources. When negotiating paid media it is important to ask those that you will be buying media with to provide the project with additional added-value. These media outlets are all valued members of the community and it is in their best interest that this message reaches their customers as well. Toll giveaways, and other promotions can be negotiated at the point of media purchase. It is important for project sponsors to let these outlets know that you are looking for a true partner in the process. It is also important to make sure advertising includes ethnic media sources when needed.

4.5.5 Public Relations

Earned media can lay the groundwork for the customer to buy into the priced manage lane product. Pitching local reporters on stories that demonstrate the value of the time drivers can save using the lanes will help increase the chances they will cover the project and promote the program. Pitch outlets can include print, radio, television, web, or social media. Potential incentives and outreach partners find a great deal of value in being a part of the story and earned media. It is also very important to keep an ongoing line of communication with key outlets and reporters. This will ensure the facts and key milestones of the proposed project are properly reported.

4.5.6 Toll Launch Communications

The four weeks prior to tolling and the four weeks post toll launch is the key timeframe for transponder sales and account sign ups. This is generally the period of time where there needs to be a heightened awareness of anything that could generate negative coverage or affect public perception of the priced managed lanes. Media and crisis training sessions are vital to proactively address key tolling messages and potential problems that can occur around the time of toll launch (too many people signing up at once, system errors, delays, increased congestion, etc.). These trainings are usually part of the crisis communications plan developed prior to toll launch.

4.5.7 Maintaining Customer Loyalty

Once a facility is operational, continued communication with customers must be a priority. Facility managers need to keep their current customers happy and informed of any facility changes, promotions or incentives that are being offered. For example, within one year of opening, a facility may require adjustments to the toll schedule to manage current traffic levels. Established lines of communication with customers can be used to describe what changes are anticipated and why they may be necessary. Some facilities have relied on regular e-newsletters, customer emails, and web updates. Your loyal customer is someone that you want to keep and inspire to continue to use these lanes. A customer loyalty program would roll out key incentives for continued and increased use of the facility. Incentives could be as simple as a “free cup of coffee for your morning drive” to special pricing for someone who uses the road a determined number of times per month.

A regular (biennial) customer satisfaction survey is also a good way to collect information from users. It could be distributed to customers who hold electronic tolling accounts and customers who have received bills for using the toll facility.

Continued marketing is also encouraged to increase the number of facility users. For tolled facilities that provide congestion relief, it is a good idea to provide potential users with an opportunity to try the facility and experience the benefits. If they have a good first experience, they are more likely to come back. For facilities with electronic tolling, it is important to provide incentives that encourage users to establish electronic toll accounts. These programs offer examples of customer loyalty programs and incentives:

  • In response to concerns raised at public meetings and other community outreach, Metro in Los Angeles, California created a demonstration Toll Credit Program. The purpose of the program was to make it more affordable for households with low incomes to use the express lanes on I-10 and I-110. Qualifying Los Angeles County residents (households with three or more members and an annual income of $35,000 or less) received a credit for establishing an electronic tolling account and waiver for the monthly maintenance fee.
  • WSDOT conducted cross-promotions with local retailers and entertainment venues to encourage customers to establish electronic toll accounts. For example, one partner offered a discount on oil changes for customers who showed their Good to Go!™ electronic tolling transponder. Stadiums and convention centers in the Seattle metro area conducted outreach to their customers and season ticket holders and offered special promotions and discounts for people who established electronic toll accounts.

4.5.8 Marketing Tools

Marketing professionals offer a range of services and methods for reaching your customer to meet the needs of priced managed lanes facility planning. Because players change, particularly in the political realm, it is important to put some turnkey systems in place that allow project owners and operators to continue to market projects and report performance for years to come. This also should include customer satisfaction measures.

The following list, while not exhaustive, provides various examples of marketing tools that may apply in priced managed lanes planning, implementation and operation. Stakeholders can use these to provide ongoing marketing of the project during timeframes and periods as resources are available for promotion:

  • Telephone and paper surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Direct mailings
  • Project websites
  • Project newsletters
  • Radio and television ads
  • Media coverage
  • Social media
  • Video and visualizations

4.5.9 Strategic Partnerships

Partnerships with the media, retail, entertainment venues, and sports teams can support transponder sales. The broader the communications reach, the greater access that is provided to traditionally underserved communities, including the unbanked. Local area venues create an opportunity to reach a large group of people in an organized way. Season ticket holders and visitors of large venues near the project may be using the roadways frequently, and will be interested in learning about the project and the benefits of a ETC account. Usually, when strategic partnerships are developed participating organizations are provided with promotional materials to distribute to their members as they choose. Goals for these outreach efforts are typically:

  • Cross-promoting and messaging a partner’s current advertising.
  • Implementing project toolkits with language on how to promote ETC accounts and all electronic tolling to customers
  • Providing a booth or table at games and events to sign-up attendees for the project’s interested parties list or to open accounts
  • Offering promotions and/or incentives to customers at events or through newsletters, emails, web/address links and other outreach activities
  • Promoting a “know before you go” e-mail and the need for a transponder to bypass congestion to a venue or event
Project Snapshot: North Central Texas Council of Governments

The planning, design, funding, construction, operation, and enforcement of the current HOV, soon to be managed lanes, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have been a true partnership for over 20 years. The MPO (North Central Texas Council of Governments) got the ball rolling by making HOV facilities a major component of the metropolitan transportation plan in 1986. Discussions with potential implementation partners resulted in a strategic development partnership between NCTCOG, the Texas Department of Transportation, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit. Funding came from federal CMAQ funds with local contributions from DART. TxDOT took the lead in the design and construction while DART is responsible for daily operations and enforcement. With the upcoming evolution of the current HOV lanes to managed facilities, the North Texas Tollway Authority will be added as the toll collection and processing partner. In addition, Private developers have brought financial equity to the table and are currently constructing two managed lane corridors under PPP agreements. When these new facilities open, the developer will also be responsible for the daily operation while NTTA will maintain toll collection responsibilities.

4.5.10 Social Media

Today, social media moves faster and penetrates deeper than traditional media. Social media allows for conversations over shared issues to occur between parties who have never even met. And, social media can be used to reach large groups of people to communicate a shared belief and a call to action. Project sponsors need to be keenly aware of social media both as a useful public education and marketing tool for promoting project benefits, and as a grassroots public engagement tool that can be used for or against priced managed lanes.

Once a social media movement is on its way, it is difficult, but not impossible, to stop it or slow it down. Proactive social media on the front end of a priced managed lanes project allows project sponsors an opportunity to engage their audiences in two-way conversations and to present facts into the tolling conversation (see Used as one of the tools in the communications toolbox, social media can be effective at bringing clarity around tolling, and engaging the public and stakeholders to push project messages out to their followers –influencing public opinion, managed lane usage, and encouraging transponder sales.

Project sponsors should monitor social media channels and be proactive about addressing or responding to misinformation. Often, third party information can influence public opinion for or against a project. It is important to engage in the conversation and to stay on top of what is being said on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other social media platforms.

Increasingly, smartphone apps are being developed by private entities and third parties to provide commuters with timely relevant information on tolled roads and travel choices.

It makes sense to partner with familiar businesses, organizations and personalities to help carry project messages through intuitive social networks. For example, the public would most likely not elect to “like” tolling on Facebook, but they may choose to receive relevant managed lane travel-time updates from the local traffic reporter or their employer on Twitter. Through a “Social Media Toolkit” project sponsors can offer key fact-based messages in the appropriate voice for local partners to and helps advertise key priced managed lane messages through trusted social media channels.

Social media tools and channels that have been incorporated into marketing and public education programs include blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.


Project sponsors can post regular updates, news releases and media coverage to a blog. The blog drives traffic to the website and related content (webcams, Flickr feeds, video, etc.). Comments allow for ongoing questions and answers. Options include the following:

  • Sharing project-related content on an existing blog
  • Acquiring a unique blog domain to be used solely for the purpose of project updates


Project sponsors can share information and links about priced managed lanes including video, visualizations, promotions, and photos. Some information lives on the Facebook site and other information is linked from sources including the State DOT, community partners, YouTube, and Flickr.


Project sponsors send out alerts and updates related to the project. Tweets can direct people to a customer service center, inform people about ETC sign-up dates, remind drivers of toll rates, and provide information about toll launch and sign-up milestones. Tweets could also support partner promotions and build a Twitter following for the toll program.


Project sponsors share visuals of signage, technology, facilities, customer service centers, and project benefits.


Project sponsors have shared informational presentations, fun videos, and educational information explaining tolling benefits and providing practical illustrations of how the tolling technology works.

Project Snapshot: WSDOT 520 Good to Go! Tolling Twitter Promotions

With the impending start of tolling on the SR 520 Bridge, which links Seattle to communities on the east side of Lake Washington, WSDOT was looking to boost retail sales of its Good To Go! Pass. As part of a larger marketing campaign, WSDOT used social media to reach out to drivers and encourage them to purchase and install a Good To Go! Pass. It conceptualized, built and implemented a series of Twitter promotions for the launch of Good To Go! Pass retail sales and partnered with Seattle’s Major League Soccer team, the Sounders FC, the Seattle Seahawks, and Safeway grocery stores, to provide incentives for the promotions. WSDOT created the promotions via a custom Twitter contest platform, hosting a branded promotion page, third party Twitter application and back-end database (to store contestant information and provide contest entry statistics). Contestants were driven to a Twitter sweepstakes micro-site and asked to tweet a pre-written message about tolling on SR 520 to be automatically entered to win partner incentives such as sports gear and gift cards. Prizes were awarded daily, and users were encouraged to enter daily for a new chance to win. The Twitter promotions were a huge success, earning a coveted Twitter “Trending Topic” position in Seattle with the #g2go hash tag for the Sounders promotion. With nearly 800 individual Twitter status updates from contestants, and a total reach of 130,322 people (# of contestants x their combined # of Twitter followers) the promotion provided great visibility for Good To Go!. WSDOT’s @GoodtogoWSDOT account garnered 671 new Twitter followers as a direct result of the promotions.

4.5.11 Existing Public Outreach Resources

Public Perceptions of Road Pricing

Public Perceptions of Pricing Existing Roads and Other Transportation Policies: The Texas Perspective (2006) – This paper highlights key issues related to public perceptions about pricing existing facilities, based on statewide surveys and focus groups in Texas. Results suggest that if there are clear benefits to tolling an existing facility, there is likely to be at least some support, especially from frequent users.

Gaining Public Support for Congestion Charging: Lessons from a Referendum in Edinburgh (2006) – This paper examines why the public rejected a congestion-pricing plan in Edinburgh, Scotland. Specifically, it discusses some of the public awareness of attitudes about the proposed plan. The paper also provides some ideas for how things could have been done differently to gain public acceptance.

NCHRP Synthesis 377: Compilation of Public Opinion Data on Tolls and Road Pricing (2008) – – This study summarizes and analyzes public opinion on tolling and road pricing across the U.S. and internationally. It compiles existing data from public opinion research, and it reviews how the public feels about tolls and road pricing. In particular, it addresses the following key questions:

  • What is the overall public opinion concerning charging for the use of roads?
  • Is there widespread support or focused opposition?
  • What factors are associated with its acceptance or rejection?

New York City’s Congestion Pricing Experience and Implications for Road Pricing Acceptance in the United States (2010) – This paper analyzes how Mayor Bloomberg’s 2007 congestion pricing proposal gained widespread public support but was ultimately blocked in the State Legislature. The central conclusion is that, given the power of even small groups of auto users to block congestion pricing projects, supporters need to work on changing how motorists view the effect of pricing on them personally.

Strategies and Tactics for Public Outreach on Road Pricing

Minnesota Value Pricing Outreach and Education (2006) – Congestion pricing in Minnesota failed to gain public approval for more than a decade. After several Minnesota congestion-pricing projects failed because of a lack of public support, the MnDOT tried a new public outreach strategy that led to successful approval of a major congestion-pricing project. This report describes the public outreach and educating activities that MnDOT undertook to build public and political support for this congestion-pricing project. It also summarizes five communications-related lessons that could be applied to other congestion-pricing projects across the U.S.

Discussing High-Occupancy Toll Lanes with the Denver, Colorado Public (2007) – This paper outlines the Colorado Department of Transportation’s public outreach to evaluate public perceptions regarding managed lanes. The paper provides lessons learned regarding messaging and outreach tactics to build public acceptance of priced managed lanes.

Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects (2011) – This material is designed for practitioners involved in planning, designing, and operating congestion-pricing projects or practitioners considering implementation of such projects. The report is designed to help practitioners understand how and when to put evaluation and performance measurement programs in place as well as how to identify and develop appropriate performance measures, collect necessary data, evaluate performance, and communicate results.