Guidebook for State, Regional, and Local Governments on Addressing Potential Equity Impacts of Road Pricing
8.0 Recommendations and Next Steps
In order to assist transportation agencies to better assess and mitigate equity impacts of road pricing projects on local communities, commuters, and system users, the FHWA developed this guidebook. This guidebook will help transportation agencies, decision-makers, and other interested parties, including the public, to better understand, address, and mitigate equity impacts of road pricing projects on local communities, commuters, and system users. The guidebook:
It is unlikely that any agency will be able to identify, evaluate, and remediate all potential equity issues resulting from new or ongoing road-pricing strategies and initiatives. There will likely be a degree of inequity in any project whether or not it involves road pricing. The point is to limit equity impacts or to work towards a new and more equitable system. Pricing projects may have positive impacts beyond users. The Miami 95 Express Lanes project reports improved travel times on the general purpose lanes adjacent to the HOT lanes suggesting that the project has improved travel for all in the corridor. By following this guidebook, agencies should be able to identify potential equity impacts, evaluate them, and identify remediation and communications methods that may address any identified equity impacts.
As a starting point, agencies may wish to keep the following guidelines in mind as they consider incorporating road pricing as an option into their planning processes:
8.2 Next Steps
More Research and Analysis is Needed
The literature review for this guidebook identified gaps related to equity and road pricing. The RAND study listed topics on equity impacts of congestion pricing. This literature review revealed a significant research gap in these topics. These topics include environmental justice impacts, long-term land use impacts of congestion pricing, equity implications of building new roads with congestion pricing revenue, and how adding congestion pricing to existing transportation finance mechanisms would change the equity implications.32
The August 2011 Special Report from the Transportation Research Board (TRB) suggests that comprehensive before-and-after studies are needed, as well as a better understanding of travel behavior and its consequences. It also recommends a knowledge base for decision support and a TRB Handbook for equity analyses of transportation finance policies.33 It is hoped that the Guidebook developed in this project will come close to what TRB contemplates as an American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials-funded National Cooperative Highway Research Program project. FHWA may be able to use resources like www.transportationresearch.gov and the learning portal under development by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Professional Capacity Building program as the decision-support knowledge base that the TRB Committee envisioned.
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32 Ecola L., and T. Light, Equity and Congestion Pricing A Review of the Evidence (RAND 2009). http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/TR680.html. [ Return to note 32. ]
33 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 33. ]
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration