Guidebook for State, Regional, and Local Governments on Addressing Potential Equity Impacts of Road Pricing
6.0 Strategies To Address and Mitigate the Impacts of Congestion Pricing
Section 6.0 offers transportation planners and decisionmakers procedures and guidelines to help address and mitigate the equity impacts of road pricing strategies.
6.1 Congestion Pricing Remediation Strategies in the Literature
Some earlier papers suggest how revenues gained from road pricing projects should be redistributed to make road pricing more politically viable. Goodwin suggests a "Rule of Three" and distributing revenues to tax relief, new roads, and public transportation.14 Small provides seven recommendations for how revenue should be utilized.15 But neither of these emphasize that this revenue distribution is to remediate adverse equity impacts; the larger emphasis is road pricing viability. In contrast to these and similar, earlier papers, the emphasis of Section 6.0 is remediation in response to equity impacts.
TRB Special Report 30316 cautions that there may be limited funding for remediation measures, especially if the road pricing revenues go to further road construction or debt service. Another report suggests that remediation measures should be assessed by whether they treat everyone equally, whether people bear the costs that they impose, whether they are progressive with respect to income, whether they benefit the transportation disadvantaged, and whether they improve basic access.17 Also, related to Section 7.0 on communications, stakeholders should be involved early in the process to help identify and target remedies.18
This section lists many different measures that can be used to remediate negative equity impacts of road pricing projects. There are a number of measures that agencies may employ to mitigate equity effects. These include:
Remediation strategies generally fall under one of three categories listed below:
Table 6-1 provides a listing of potential equity impact remediation strategies. Please note that each of the remediation measures or strategies listed in Table 6-1 is described in further detail Appendix B along with example deployment sites, benefactors, why the strategy is used, additional details, and links to more information. Table 6-2 describes some of the state and local financial as well as technology policies and strategies that might offset the benefits of equity impact mitigation measures.
At the end of section 6.0, we offer illustrative examples of potential remediation measures for each of the scenarios identified in Section 2.0.
The selection of remediation measures depends primarily on project objectives and conditions. A project emphasizing congestion reduction may adopt different remediation measures from a project with a revenue maximization emphasis. Similarly, a project with significant Federal funding may make choices differently than a locally funded project. The Los Angeles Metro project has an explicit Toll Credit Program for low income users to receive a credit at program sign-up and a waiver of monthly account fees. The Stockholm congestion charge has succeeded because special accommodations and mitigating measures were made for certain groups who perceived inequities, including the residents of a specific area (Lidingo Island).
Many recently deployed projects include the enhancement of transit options that take advantage of the faster facility. Use of toll revenues to support improved transit service has been one of the most successful strategies at gaining support from lower income groups as it provides mobility options that best serve these communities. However, Manchester, U.K., did not succeed in implementation of its congestion pricing project in part because automobile drivers perceived that a disproportionate amount of the anticipated revenues would be going to support riders of other modes.
More details are provided in Section 6.3 and in Appendix B.
6.2 Post-Implementation Road Pricing Remediation Strategies – Equity Audit Tool
Ecola and Light suggest the use of an "equity audit tool" after implementing a road pricing project. They suggest continuously monitoring the road pricing project and its remediation measures and determining whether the measures successfully address equity differences. If equity concerns are not well enough addressed, then either the road pricing project or the remediation can be modified to better address equity.30
6.3 Road Pricing Remediation Strategies – Illustrative Examples
In the following, the research team presents a potential remediation approach for each of the three road pricing scenarios identified. It is important to note that examples below are for illustrative purposes only; additional remediation methods likely apply to each of these scenarios.
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14 Goodwin, P. "The Rule of Three: A Possible Solution to the Political Problem of Competing Objectives for Road Pricing." Traffic Engineering and Control, Vol. 30, No. 10, 1989, pp. 495–97. [ Return to note 14. ]
15 Small, K., Using the Revenues from Congestion Pricing. Transportation, Vol. 19, No. 4, 1992, pp. 359-381. [ Return to note 15. ]
16 Committee on the Equity of Transportation Finance Mechanisms, Equity of Evolving Transportation Finance Mechanisms, Transportation Research Board Special Report 303 (August 2011). http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/sr/sr303.pdf Accessed Sept. 1, 2011. [ Return to note 16. ]
17 Litman T., Evaluating Transportation Equity, World Transport Policy & Practice, Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer 2002, pp. 50–65. Updated version (May 2011) available at http://www.islandnet.com/~litman/equity.pdf. Accessed Sept. 1, 2011. [ Return to note 17. ]
18 Bonsall, P., and C. Kelly. Road User Charging and Social Exclusion: The Impact of Congestion Charges on At-Risk Groups, Transport Policy, Vol. 12, No. 5, 2005, pp. 406–18. [ Return to note 18. ]
19 Schweitzer, L. and B. D. Taylor. Just Pricing: The Distributional Effects of Congestion Pricing and Sales Taxes. Transportation, 35(6). 2008, pp. 797-812. [ Return to note 19. ]
20 Committee on the Equity of Transportation Finance Mechanisms, Equity of Evolving Transportation Finance Mechanisms, Transportation Research Board Special Report 303 (August 2011). http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/sr/sr303.pdf. Accessed Sept. 1, 2011. [ Return to note 20. ]
21 Kockelman, K. M., and S. Kalmanje, Credit-Based Congestion Pricing: A Policy Proposal and the Public's Response, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 39, No. 7–9, August–November 2005. [ Return to note 21. ]
22 DeCorla-Souza, P., Improving Metropolitan Transportation Efficiency with Fast Miles, Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2006, pp. 45–70. [ Return to note 22. ]
23 ICF International, Environmental Justice in Transportation: Emerging Trends and Best Practices. FHWA, 2011. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/ejustice/lib/guidebook/index.cfm. Accessed Sept. 1, 2011. [ Return to note 23. ]
24 FHWA, Income-Based Equity Impacts of Congestion Pricing: A Primer (FHWA Office of Transportation Management, 2009). [ Return to note 24. ]
25 DeCorla-Souza, P., Fair Highway Networks: A New Approach to Eliminate Congestion on Metropolitan Freeways, Public Works Management and Policy, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2005, pp. 196–205. [ Return to note 25. ]
26 Wear, B., Central Texas toll roads need more state subsidies than expected, The Statesman (July 18, 2011). http://www.statesman.com/news/local/central-texas-toll-roads-need-more-state-subsidies-1618544.html. Accessed Sept. 1, 2011. [ Return to note 26. ]
27 Bork, R., and M. Wrede, Political economy of commuting subsidies, Journal of Urban Economics No. 57, 2005, pp. 478–99. [ Return to note 27. ]
28 Toups, D. T., San Diego Association of Governments, "FasTrak Study—Follow-Up Questions," e-mail to Liisa Ecola, December 18, 2008. [ Return to note 28. ]
29 Leromonachou, P., S. Potter, and J. P. Warren, "Norway's Urban Toll Rings: Evolving Towards Congestion Charging?" Transport Policy, Vol. 13, No. 5, September 2006, pp. 367–78. [ Return to note 29. ]
30 Ecola L. and Light T., Equity and Congestion Pricing A Review of the Evidence (RAND 2009). http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/TR680.html Accessed January 27, 2012. [ Return to note 30. ]
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