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Guidebook for State, Regional, and Local Governments on Addressing Potential Equity Impacts of Road Pricing

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Appendix B: Potential Remediation Strategies

Altering the design of the finance policy

  • Price design limitations
  • Increased access to transponders
  • Park and ride facilities
  • Revenues redistributed directly to collecting city
  • Geographic system design
  • Credit-based cogestion pricing

Giving exemptions, discounts, subsidies, or rebates to parties adversely affected by the policy

  • Discounts/exemptions
  • Subsidies

Offering or improving alternative transportation services

  • Revenue redistribution
  • Increased access to alternative transit

Policy choices that complicate remediation measures

  • All Electronic Tolling (AET)
  • Long-term concession agreements; Public Private Partnerships
  • Sales tax increase

Altering the Design of the Finance Policy

Price Design Limitations
Brief Description Identifying a maximum number of crossings that can be charged per time period.
Deployment Sites New York City, Stockholm, Trondheim (Norway), Singapore
Benefactors Frequent users
Why this strategy is used May address spatial equity concerns and adverse impacts to one geographic area including drivers that due to the geography of their residency enter or exit the charged zone multiple times/day.
Additional details Popular price design limitations include defining both the maximum allowed charge for each crossing and/or the maximum number of crossings that can be charged per period. Allowances may also be implemented allowing for unlimited use of priced facilities during certain periods (ex. holidays, weekends, off-peak hours). Inequities can arise in cordon pricing schemes due where some drivers, due to the geography of their residency, have n choice but to enter/exit the cordoned zone multiple times per day. Exemptions and/or placing a limit on the maximum number of crossings charged per day can address these inequities while still allowing the pricing in place to discourage others from driving in highly congested city centers.
Links to more information Information about the Trondheim, Norway pricing system:
Information on congestion pricing trials in Stockholm, Sweden:
Paper about Singapore road pricing lessons learned:
TDM encyclopedia chapter on road pricing:

Increased Access to Transponders/Stickers
Brief Description Motorists can apply for and receive transponders at public assistance offices and other sites frequented by the general population including gas stations, and local retailes.
Deployment Sites Puerto Rico (Auto Expreso System), Texas (TxTag), Washington (SR 520 bridge customer service centers), Minnesota (MnPASS), E-ZPASS (northeast US), Florida (SunPass), Seattle (Good To Go SR-520)
Benefactors Low-income users
Why this strategy is used People who only have access to cash and no stable bank account cannot pay with traditional transponder technology that is linked to a debit or credit card. Drivers need low cash deposit/no credit card necessary payment options.
Additional details With some transponders, it is possible to reload with cash (i.e., Florida turnpike SunPass and AutoExpreso in Puerto Rico) at kiosks located at facilities and various retailers. This cash reload option allows for toll transponder benefits while still allowing use by the unbanked.
With an incrasing number of toll plazas converting to all electronic tolling, increased access to transponder technology can greatly ease this transition.
Links to more information Article about the wide availability of Florida SunPass transponders and where/how they can be paid for with cash:
Information about Florida SunPass transponders:
Short article about SR520 Good-to-Go transponder availability:
AutoExpreso (Puerto Rico) retail locations for obtaining AutoExpreso toolkit and replenishing toll amounts:

Geographic System Design
Brief Description Geographic system design applies mostly to cordon pricing. Under this strategy, cordon boundaries, ext points, etc. are purposefully located in ways that will maximize equity.
Deployment Sites London and Stockholm (cordon boundaries), NYC cordon pricing
Benefactors All drivers
Why this strategy is used Maximize equity
Additional details There may be a conflict between maximizing equity and maximizing revenue. Revenue concerns often trump equity concerns and cordon pricing schemes are likely to be designed with revenue as the top priority.
Links to more information Income-Based Equity Impacts of Congestion Pricing: A Primer, FHWA:

Credit-based Congestion Pricing
Brief Description Drivers receive a monthly allowance of travel "credits" to be used on toll roads. Drivers only pay money "out of pocket" if they exceed their allowance. Drivers who spend less than their allowance can allow the credits to roll over for later use or exchange them for cash. Extra credits may be allotted to those with special, socially desirable, travel needs (ex. welfare-to-work participants, and single parent low-income household heads).
Deployment Sites Pilot Sites:
  • FAST Miles (tested statewide in Minnesota and in Austin, TX)
  • HO/C (HOT Credit) Lanes (tested in Alameda County, CA)
Benefactors All drivers
Why this strategy is used Strategy predicts increased transit use, peak travel to decrease, and total vehicle emissions to decrease. Potential to optimize network use and address equity, welfare, and revenue-distribution.
Additional details Credit-based systems have not been implemented as of 2011 but feasibility testing has proved promising.
Implementation is easier with electronic toll collection.
Links to more information Academic paper describing credit-based pricing:
HOT Creit Lanes Feasibility Study-Alameda County, CA, 2005:

Giving Exemptions, Discounts, Subsidies, or Rebates to Parties Adversely Affected by the Policy

Brief Description Discounts (reducing the amount of congestion charge paid) and exemptions (excluding certain persons or vehicles from payment) are often offered to certain types of vehicles and motorists with special transportation needs.
Deployment Sites Widely implemented (most cities exempt transit and emergency vehicles), Milan and other cities also discount low-emission vehicles, London
Benefactors Persons with special transportation needs and certain types of vehicles (ex. hybrid, emergency, military, law enforcement, etc.)
Why this strategy is used Allow for unhindered travel of emergency personnel; encourage motorists to drive low-emission vehicles
Additional details May have cost and enforcement consequences. The Los Angeles Metro Express Lanes have a Toll Credit Program that provides a $25 credit to low-income households (less than $35,000, twice the local poverty line) to be used towards either account transponder deposit or pre-paid tolls. Drivers in the Toll Credit Program will also have te $3 monthly account maintenance fee waived.
Links to more information Potential Impact of Exempt Vehicles on HOV Lanes, FHWA:
Information on Low Emission Zones for Italy & Germany:
Solo drivers of low-emission autos fume over fees to use carpool lanes, LA Times:
Academic paper on lessons learned from road pricing in London:;jsessionid=DCD5887FCE108B1D8E78B0726F6A797D.d03t03
Los Angeles Metro Toll Credit Program

Brief Description A portion of revenue from the project is used to subsidize the toll cost/costs of low-income commuters or transit.
Deployment Sites Central Texas toll roads (Texas 130, Loop 1, Texas 45N), Germany and France (taxpayers can deduct commuting expenses from their income tax liability)
Benefactors Low-income commuters
Why this strategy is used Encourage use of facilities by low-income population
Additional details Not widely implemented, it is more likely that low-income commuters will be offered a discount up front rather than receive a subsidy. Toll revenue is also more likely to be diverted to the low-income community through improvements to low-income transit options. Subsidy proposals are often not well received by the general population.
Links to more information Tolls would subsidize rail line along Route 422, Chester County Daily Local News:
Using Drivers' Tolls to Subsidize Light Rail across the Columbia River is Wrong, The Columbian-Op/Ed section:

Offering or Improving Alternative Transportation Services

Revenue Redistribution
Brief Description Revenue from facility is redistributed through public spending on specific transportation-related improvements.
Deployment Sites Widely implemented (common practice among recent pricing projects) I-15 in San Diego (funds support express bus service), Norwegian toll rings (funds support roadway/transit improvement)
Benefactors All commuters
Why this strategy is used Revenue is used to make improvements to facilities, roads, etc. to benefit and provide additional travel modes to all corridor users.
Additional details
Links to more information

Increased Access to Alternative Transit
Brief Description Transit, vanpools, paratransit, or other options as alternatives in locations not served by mass transit. Expand existing facilities to serve more people.
Deployment Sites Widely implemented, Washington State light rail expansion, Campus carsharing/ridesharing programs (message-boards & social media to connect people to transit)
Miami (Dade and Broward Counties), I-95 Express Lanes introduced significant new Bu Rapid Transit service in the corridor in advance of opening of Phase 1. This new service, coupled with dramatic improvement in travel speeds in the managed lanes, resulted in a 145% increase in ridership in the first two years of the project.
Benefactors Non-drivers, Choice transit riders (those who own cars), All drivers (congestion reduction)
Why this strategy is used Reduce congestion in urban areas and potentially share/split toll rates.
Additional details
Links to more information Information on Puget Sound (Washington) Transit Capital projects:
Virginia Tech alternative trnsportation information:

Sales Tax Increase
Brief Description Under this strategy, sales tax is increased in order to fund transit and infrastructure rather than relying solely on revenue generated by pricing projects.
Deployment Sites Massachusetts (2009), Durham County, NC (2011)
Benefactors Users of public transportation (transit projects receive unding from sales tax more often than roadway projects)
Why this strategy is used This has been argued as a more equitable as all residents are charged equally based on their purchases. Sales tax is also a fairly reliable source of revenue during uncertain economic periods and can make up for budget shortfalls.
Additional details
Links to more information Brief on regions that fund transit with sales tax:
Durham voters approve sales tax increase for transit, Triangle Business ournal:
Mass. Senate OKs transportation bill that includes sales tax increase, no toll or gas tax increase, article,2009:
Possible Sales Tax Increase to Help Fund Public Transportation: