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Guidelines for Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects 25 project sponsors to identify which set of performance mea- sures are likely to meet their particular needs. Performance Monitoring and the Management of Congestion Pricing Facilities The metrics included in these Guidelines are used 3.2 Performance Measurement for for two primary purposes: monitoring and man- Variably Priced Managed Lanes aging the performance of congestion pricing As described earlier, performance measurement for variably projects. When a metric is used in a management priced managed lanes is undertaken for two primary purposes. capacity, the performance of the project is The first is to monitor traffic operations on the managed lanes assessed against performance standards and if it and confirm that traffic service, speeds, and reliability meet is found that the facility is not achieving desired the standards established for the facility and, if they do not, to standards, then management tools such as toll make adjustments to toll rates and other operational policies rates, vehicle occupancy requirements, and access such as access treatments or vehicle occupancy rates so that locations are modified in order for the project to they do. This process takes place in real time with dynamically- meet the desired performance levels. It should be priced HOT lanes where travel conditions are monitored on an noted that a relatively small subset of perform- ongoing basis and toll rates adjusted up or down in intervals as ance metrics identified among the 12 case study frequent as every 5 minutes. With HOT lanes using fixed vari- projects assessed for this study are used in this able pricing, traffic performance data is most often collected way. Among variably priced managed lanes, 22 out electronically using in-road sensors and is reviewed on a regu- of 62 identified metrics are used to manage oper- lar basis, in some cases as often as every 3 months. ations; for toll facilities with variable pricing, the The second purpose is more complex. It involves document- share was 4 out of 17 metrics; and for cordon and ing the performance of priced managed lanes to the public at area pricing projects, 3 out of 55 identified met- large and thereby validating the use of congestion pricing. This rics were used directly for operations. is a process that involves interacting with various stakeholder groups, which will have their own particular areas of interest and concern. Their interests will also be influenced by whether or not the project involved · The conversion of an existing HOV lane to HOT operation · The expansion of an existing HOT lane facility · The construction of new highway capacity used as a priced managed lane · The implementation of a new priced managed lane that involves a combination of new con- struction and the conversion of existing HOV or general-purpose lanes There are many different audiences with an interest in the performance of variably price man- aged lanes. These are likely to include the following groups: · HOV motorists, transit riders, and drivers of other qualified vehicles who used the managed lane prior to its conversion to HOT operation · SOV motorists who pay to use the managed lanes · The agency sponsoring the managed lane projects and other transportation agencies and organizations · Transit agencies providing service on the managed lanes · Safety and law enforcement agencies providing these services on the managed lane facility · State legislatures and other local government bodies who may have approved the use of man- aged lanes and who may be the recipients of legally mandated reports documenting the performance of the facility · Local governments · Community boards and neighborhood groups · The media · Any number of local interest groups, including chambers of commerce, trucking organiza- tions, environmental organizations, and the like
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26 Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects Although there is some local variation, the general concerns and interests of these different groups are relatively consistent. Chapter 4 of these guidelines provides additional information on outreach issues associated with the use of variable pricing. Performance monitoring programs for variably priced managed lane projects need to encom- pass all the metrics needed to operate these facilities within prescribed standards, as well as a col- lection of other measures that together will enable project sponsors to document and validate the performance of the facility. There is no single approach that can be prescribed for accom- plishing the latter. With each project this should involve a thoughtful review and balancing of the resources available for performance monitoring together with the goals established for the project and the different concerns among the stakeholder groups with whom the project spon- sors must interact. The remainder of Section 3.2 synthesizes the existing experience in formulating performance monitoring programs for seven operating variably priced managed lane projects from around the country based on interviews and case studies prepared as part of NCHRP Project 08-75. Through this process, the research identifies those particular performance measures widely found to be effective in meeting the two main requirements for monitoring the performance of variably priced managed lane facilities and distinguishing them from other measures that have been used but not necessarily found to offer the same value. However, before embarking on that discussion Section 3.2.1 identifies a number of distinguishing characteristics that have been found to influence performance monitoring programs for variably priced managed lanes. 3.2.1 Distinguishing Characteristics of Variably Priced Managed Lane Projects In addition to the distinctions described above, various factors influence performance moni- toring needs for managed lane projects. Configuration The physical configuration of the nation's priced managed lane projects varies considerably from those with single points of access and egress and full barrier separation, to those without barrier separation and still others with lengths up to 20 miles, multiple lanes, dedicated park- and-ride facilities, multiple points of access and egress, and even movable barriers allowing the operators to provide an additional travel lane in the predominant peak flow direction. The level of complexity of the configuration of priced managed lane projects can be expected to be reflected in performance monitoring programs for them. This is true both in understanding traffic perfor- mance, as well as overall utilization, revenue generation, and customer satisfaction. Presence of Other Toll Facilities The presence of other toll facilities or the lack thereof is a fundamental factor influencing the development of variably priced managed lane projects and, to a lesser degree, performance mon- itoring programs for them. If a region has other toll facilities, interoperability of the ETC sys- tems will be a high priority and rather than reinventing the wheel it is more likely than not that the new managed lane facility will use the same back office accounting system as the existing facility. This can be expected to have an influence on utilization, as many potential customers will already have established ETC accounts. Outreach issues in regions with a culture of tolling are likely to be different than in those where tolling and variable price are new. However, in certain circumstances the presence of other toll facilities could introduce new concerns such as the distribution of new transponders in travelsheds where motorists are likely to use the new managed lane facility or possible modifications that will be required, as in
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Guidelines for Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects 27 Los Angeles where HOV motorists will need to obtain a new ETC tag outfitted with a toggle switch that will allow them to declare themselves as either an HOV or SOV. To the extent that any of these potential issues poses a major concern, performance monitoring programs may need to track them. Sponsoring Agency The performance monitoring programs established for variably priced managed lane projects can be expected to be developed based on the existing monitoring practices of the agencies that implement them. However, these projects are sponsored by various sponsoring agencies around the United States, including DOTs, MPOs, transit agencies, and toll authorities. Although each of these types of agencies can be expected to have experience in performance monitoring, their particular areas of expertise in this area can be expected to vary greatly. For example DOTs responsible for operating highways are likely to have experience with monitoring highway opera- tions, but not necessarily with toll collection or transit performance. Transit operators cannot be expected to have experience in monitoring highway safety. Performance monitoring pro- grams for priced managed lane projects extend across multiple disciplines and often require inputs and cooperation with other local transportation agencies. These issues will have an influence on the performance monitoring programs put in place and should be considered early on when plans for implementing monitoring programs are first being formulated. Level of Public Interest The overall level of public interest in priced managed lane projects varies from region to region. Two of the primary factors driving the level of public interest are whether or not congestion pric- ing is new to the region and the level of utilization of existing managed lanes when HOV to HOT conversions are involved. If pricing and managed lanes are new to a region, this can be expected to ratchet up the level of public interest in the project. Similarly, if existing HOV facilities are already highly used, motorists and transit riders using those facilities will be concerned about possible impacts to travel conditions or occupancy requirements enabling motorists to use them at no cost. Conversely, if HOV lanes slated for HOT conversion are perceived as being under- used, the level of public interest can be expected to be less intense. The same dynamic holds true when new priced lanes are added in a region that already has operating ETL or HOT lanes, or in instances where existing managed lane facilities are widened or extended. It is a fair rule of thumb that the level of public concern over the implementation of variably priced lanes should be reflected in performance monitoring programs for these facilities. In instances where there is a high level of public interest in pricing, project sponsors should anticipate developing more com- prehensive monitoring programs in order to generate an adequate amount of information at a level of detail that will satisfy the public. 3.2.2 Selection of Performance Measures for Variably Priced Managed Lanes This section provides specific factors for consideration, summaries of experience, and recom- mendations on the selection of performance measures for variably priced managed lanes. The section's organization follows the order of the eight areas of evaluation identified among the oper- ational congestion pricing projects examined as part of the NCHRP Project 08-75 research that produced these Guidelines. These evaluation areas and the full set of identified performance measures were introduced in Table 3-1 in Section 3.1.5. It is important to remember that these evaluation areas are tied directly to the goals of a proj- ect. Specific project goals can be formulated and measured by framing them within the context of the evaluation areas. In setting a specific goal of congestion reduction (for example), "traffic
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28 Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects Table 3-2. Total performance measures by evaluation area. Total Measures Most Common Measures Less Common Measures Identified (3+ out of 7 Facilities) (3+ out of 7 Facilities) Traffic Performance 20 8 6 Public Perception 15 5 7 Facility Users 14 5 9 System Operations 15 13 2 Environment 3 0 1 Transit 7 2 4 Economics 9 0 0 Land Use 2 0 0 performance" will necessarily be evaluated. Within this evaluation area, 20 distinct performance measures have been identified in practice (although not all offer equal value and some are more significant than others). The number of distinct performance measures captured within each evaluation area is shown in Table 3-2. The table also indicates which of these measures are considered "more common" and "less common" among operational facilities. A total of seven operating facilities comprise those researched for these guidelines. The full spectrum of the most common performance measures ranked by frequency of use in practice is shown in Table 3-3. In many cases, these measures represent the "have-to-haves" for facility sponsors and operators in formulating a performance evaluation program. Subsets of this table are provided for each evaluation area in the sections that follow. Table 3-3 and its subsets also identify whether the measures are generally applied in an oper- ations or validation capacity and whether they play a key (primary) or secondary role in a typi- cal performance evaluation program. Some performance measures that validate a project may also be used to make operational facility changes, and vice versa; operational measures may also help validate the project. Those marked as operations are the critical measures used daily to maintain the proper function of a facility (such as an input to a toll policy algorithm), while val- idation measures, which may also be used operationally, are applied on a less immediate basis (such as increasing the number of enforcement patrols or cameras based on violation data). Table 3-3 and its following subsets by evaluation area are based on a relatively small (but grow- ing) sample size--seven priced managed lane projects as of the development of these guidelines. Other performance measures could be significant or necessary to collect based on the goals set for a particular facility that were either not captured by the research for this project or remain relatively "new" among the projects surveyed and not widely applied to date. Also, it may not always be necessary to follow what has been done by others just because it has been done. Where appropriate in the discussion that follows, these considerations will be made. Also in many cases, issues discussed for each evaluation area can be applicable to those performance measures not identified. Traffic Performance Traffic performance describes the fundamental purpose of a roadway: its ability to provide mobility to people and goods. Traffic performance is the most important of the eight areas of evaluation and measured through various traffic engineering measures answering questions per- taining to the facility about how much, how many, how fast, and by what mode. Representative Traffic Performance Goals. Variably priced managed lane goals that involve measures of traffic performance are the most common among all possible goals set for these facilities. Achieving congestion reduction is one prominent example. This goal, in turn though, may be further characterized on a more measurable basis or within a context that better resonates
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Guidelines for Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects 29 Table 3-3. Performance measures in practice--variably priced managed lanes (3+ out of 7 facilities examined). Total No. of Purpose Importance Evaluation Area Performance Measures (No. of Measures) (No. of Measures) Measures Used Operations Validation Key Secondary Traffic Performance Volume Vehicle volume (hourly/daily/weekly/monthly) 7 5 3 5 2 System Operations Finance Revenue (toll/ charge) 6 3 4 5 1 System Operations Enforcement Violations/citations/fines 6 1 5 6 Traffic Performance Speed & Travel Time Speeds/ average speed 5 5 3 5 Traffic Performance Mode Share Mode share (SOV, HOV, transit) 5 1 5 1 4 System Operations Finance Average toll/ highest toll 5 4 3 4 1 System Operations Finance O&M Cost 5 1 3 2 3 Traffic Performance Speed & Travel Time LOS 4 3 1 4 Traffic Performance Speed & Travel Time Travel times 4 1 3 1 3 Public Perception Satisfaction General/perceived value/how well? 4 4 4 Facility Users User Characteristics Home zip code 4 1 2 1 2 Facility Users Trip Characteristics Frequency of use 4 1 4 1 3 Facility Users Trip Characteristics O-D/ travelshed determination 4 3 4 System Operations Finance Total transactions 4 2 2 1 3 System Operations Safety Collisions/ accidents 4 4 4 System Operations Safety Incident response time/ duration 4 4 4 System Operations Customer Service Inquiry activity (call, email) 4 4 4 System Operations System Function Equipment availability 4 4 4 Traffic Performance Speed & Travel Time Travel time savings 3 3 3 Traffic Performance Volume Tolled trips/ untolled trips 3 2 3 Traffic Performance Parking Park-n-ride activity (lot counts) 3 2 2 Public Perception Awareness Of the facility/general/how much? 3 3 3 Public Perception Satisfaction Traffic conditions/ reliability 3 3 3 Public Perception Satisfaction Perceived time savings 3 3 3 Public Perception Satisfaction Perceived safety 3 3 3 Facility Users Accounts No. of transponders issued 3 2 1 1 Facility Users User Characteristics Demographics/ socioeconomics 3 3 3 System Operations Finance Revenue (fee) 3 1 2 1 2 System Operations Enforcement Total traffic stops/ responses 3 2 3 System Operations System Function Incidents 3 3 3 System Operations System Function Mean time to respond/ repair 3 3 3 Transit Performance Travel time/on-time/excess wait 3 1 2 1 2 Transit Occupancy Ridership/ boardings 3 3 3 Note: Purpose columns can add to more than the number of facilities using a particular measure if the measure is used in both an operations and validation capacity. with facility users or those interested in improved performance. To that end, the goal of achiev- ing congestion reduction could more specifically be stated as achieving a reduction in delay or increasing person-volume throughput. More generally, traffic congestion reduction goals often imply improved system efficiency or reliability. However, the research for this project has shown that these "goals" are often subjective, hard-to-define, and depend on location-specific contexts. For example, one agency or region may define improved reliability simply as maintaining aver- age speeds above 50 miles per hour, while another may characterize improved reliability as the ability to achieve a certain journey time 95 or more percent of the time. What Are the Most Frequently Applied Traffic Performance Measures? Measures of traf- fic, as indicated in Table 3-3, include vehicle and person volumes, speeds and travel times, mode share and vehicle occupancies, and vehicle miles traveled. Indicators of congestion include delay, queue lengths, and specially developed coefficients comparing specific metrics during congested and uncongested conditions. Other measures that incorporate traffic include bicycle and pedes- trian measures and parking, although these are not commonly applied to variably priced man- aged lane facilities. Those measures deemed only the most broadly and beneficially applicable
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30 Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects Table 3-4. Most frequently applied performance measures--traffic performance. Total No. of Purpose Importance Performance Measures Measures Used (No. of Measures) (No. of Measures) Operations Validation Key Secondary Vehicle volume (hourly/daily/weekly/monthly) 7 5 3 5 2 Speeds/ average speed 5 5 3 5 Mode share (SOV, HOV, transit) 5 1 5 1 4 LOS 4 3 1 4 Travel times 4 1 3 1 3 Travel time savings 3 3 3 Tolled trips/ untolled trips 3 2 3 Park-n-ride activity (lot counts) 3 2 2 are discussed here--other measures may offer equal or better value, depending on the context in which they are applied. Research for these guidelines has shown that key performance measures of traffic for variably priced managed lanes include vehicle volumes and speeds (see Table 3-4). LOS--a prescribed traffic engineering metric characterizing the performance relationship between volume and speed--also factors frequently among key performance measures, but is, itself, derived from knowing volumes and speeds. The following two sections explain how these measures are used in (1) ongoing operations of the priced facility and (2) making the facility's case to the public and other interested parties. Operations: Using Traffic Performance Measures in the Daily Operation of Variably Priced Managed Lanes. A relatively small subset of measures is used to ensure that a facility is operat- ing as intended, and, if it is not, to make decisions about appropriate changes. From the perspective of facility operation, measures of vol- ume and/or speed are must-haves; without them, quantifying Example: Traffic Volumes operational performance is very difficult. Knowing speeds also The 91 Express Lanes in Orange County, Califor- implies calculation of travel times, given the distance traveled nia, use volumes to trigger toll rate adjustments. between two points of measurement. These basic measures If hourly volumes across both lanes of travel in are critical to (1) measuring goal success tied to congestion one direction on any one particular day exceed reduction and (2) the ability to formulate a toll rate policy. 3,200 vehicles, then a toll increase is applied. As experience shows, validating and communicating the out- Adjustments are made on a quarterly basis to the comes of the pricing project's implementation often depend fixed toll schedule and held constant for at least on the ability to quantify the volume or speed of traffic. Indeed, 6 months. across a wide range of goals--not just those tied to congestion reduction--without an understanding of the number of vehi- cles using a facility and the speeds at which they are able to travel, it is not possible to fully comprehend the context of other possible facility goals, such as improvements in safety, effects on the environment, or impacts to transit service. Volumes and speeds (as well as travel times and LOS) can be used as thresholds for making toll rate adjustments or other operational changes--consequently, such factors can act as direct input into the formulation of a toll rate policy. Hourly or peak-period traffic volumes would be appropriate measures for determining when a toll rate adjustment is necessary by establishing threshold parameters above which (or below which) a price increase (or decrease) is warranted. Adjustments dictated by these measures could apply to a dynamic toll schedule, with changes as frequent as every few minutes, or to a fixed schedule, where adjustments may be reviewed
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Guidelines for Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects 31 with only occasional frequency, such as on a quarterly basis. Similarly, average speed thresholds can dictate a toll rate adjust- Example: Travel Times ment and can be tied to a particular class of vehicle such as HOV or transit. Along the 7-mile I-25 Express Lanes in Denver, maintaining on-time journey by express buses is Volume and speed data can be readily collected on a con- critical. Onboard transponders allow for the tinuous, real-time basis through ETC transaction equipment, monitoring of bus travel times along the priced including transponder readers positioned at toll booths or corridor and consequently average speeds. A toll mounted on overhead gantries, as well as with cameras oper- increase is warranted to the fixed schedule when ated with vehicle identification or point speed detection soft- average speeds fall below 45 mph to reduce the ware. Once up and running, the cost to operate the system is number of paying SOV users. marginal and often contracted out to a toll operator obligated to maintain the equipment, collect data, and produce reports, in conjunction with managing the collection of the toll itself. Complications arise, however, if not all vehicles are required to use a transponder, as with HOV users on some facilities. In this case, conventional loop detectors can be used. Going one step further, to make comparisons with adjacent general-purpose lane conditions, loop detec- tors would be required equipment on those lanes as well. To obtain a fully comparable set of volume or speed data between priced and general-purpose lanes, it may be necessary to retrofit additional loop detectors in the general-purpose lanes to obtain the necessary coverage and ensure no gaps occur in the data. The costs of adding this equipment must be weighed against the importance of being able to make a one-to-one comparison of volumes and speeds across all lanes, or calculating additional metrics such as speed differential between the sets of lanes. Sev- eral operators of existing variably priced managed lane facilities noted that this information was something they wished they had had when evaluating their performance evaluation programs. A stronger case for the benefit of priced lanes can be made when a throughput or speed compari- son across both a corridor's priced and unpriced lanes is available. Validation: Using Traffic Performance Measures to Vali- date Variably Priced Managed Lanes. As important as using traffic performance measures is for facility operations, traffic Example: Travel Times and performance measures can also be powerful means to validate Travel Time Savings a project. Table 3-3 indicates that all commonly applied per- WSDOT makes the case for and quantifies formance measures used in practice can help communicate improved reliability on the SR 167 HOT Lanes in the success and benefits of a priced project's implementation. southern Kings County, Washington, by compar- In addition to those measures discussed above in an opera- ing travel times across the corridor's lanes. Along tions capacity, mode share is often used in a validation role. the general-purpose lanes, the average weekday Mode share denotes how many of each vehicle type is using northbound peak-hour travel time was 19 min- the facility--SOV, HOV2, HOV3, transit vehicle, etc. Given utes, with a 95th percentile travel time of 26 min- the common focus on maintaining unaffected service to HOV utes; and the average southbound peak-hour users when converting HOV lanes to HOT operation, it is travel time was 12 minutes, with a 95th per- important to know the share of qualified HOV users (HOV2+ centile travel time of 19 minutes. Northbound, or HOV3+) relative to paying users (SOV or HOV2 in the case the length of the route is 11 miles, southbound, of an HOV3+ requirement). Observers will be interested in this 9 miles. The average travel-time savings by using information to help understand the effect of allowing paying the HOT lanes was 8 minutes northbound (A.M. customers on the facility; for example, what share do paying peak) and 4 minutes southbound (P.M. peak). customers represent?, and did HOV usage decline with the These travel-time savings are genuinely notice- addition of HOT operation? Mode share can be challenging able along those distances and the results have to measure in the absence of full coverage ETC transponder resonated with facility users. data that identifies vehicle occupancy. Means to overcome this
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32 Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects obstacle include requiring a registration process for HOV users (and transponder usage by pay- ing users) or manual vehicle count surveys (although such surveys are often expensive and time consuming). A second measure commonly used to validate the performance of priced managed lanes is travel-time savings. By comparing travel times in the priced lanes with congested-condition travel times prior to their existence or in the parallel general-purpose lanes, travel-time savings measures can be calculated. This performance measure, which is becoming a more commonly applied metric to characterize and validate the benefits of implementing congestion pricing, also can be used to help indicate measures of reliability or efficiency. Other measures of traffic applied in a validation capacity are more specialized, and the deci- sion to use them rests on context and goal specificity. For example, priced corridors with tran- sit service may require knowing park-and-ride lot usage to understand effects on transit rider- ship or carpool formation. In another example, measures of vehicle miles traveled may be helpful to demonstrate a more regional-scale reduction in travel, a possible goal in areas contemplating priced managed lane expansion to the network level. Public Perception Knowledge of a priced managed lane's existence and purpose, acceptance of it as a mobility option, and satisfaction with the service it provides are characterized qualitatively through pub- lic perception. Given priced managed lanes' relatively recent existence as an operational form of providing traditional roadway capacity and the skepticism or criticism that it can generate, mea- suring public perception is a critical component of a performance evaluation program. Representative Public Perception Goals. Gauging public perception is at the heart of goals that seek to validate a variably priced managed lane project. Representative goals may include achieving or sustaining a prescribed level of satisfaction with the facility's operation. Specific tar- gets of perception, such as travel-time savings, safety, or equity can be established and tracked. Social equity is discussed in depth in Section 3.1.4. In general, measuring public perception requires an appropriate instrument (e.g., surveys, focus groups, or interviews). Public outreach becomes a prime factor in establishing these goals and measuring their achievement. A detailed discussion of integrating performance evaluation and public outreach, including means of collecting attitudinal information, is provided in Chap- ter 4 of these guidelines. Provided here are details of the most commonly used and relevant performance measures for capturing and quantifying public perception. Most Frequently Applied Public Perception Measures. Public perception measures (as item- ized in Table 3-1) focus on awareness, acceptance, and satisfaction. With all three of these measures, specificity can range from the very broad to the more explicit. For example, general awareness of a facility's existence as a travel option can be queried as easily as its specific features, such as pricing policy or hours of availability. Awareness of planned toll adjustments or future expansion may also be of interest. Similarly, acceptance and satisfaction measures can be general or specific. Table 3-5 summarizes the most commonly applied public perception performance measures, with the majority of them focusing on satisfaction. Apart from awareness, acceptance, and satisfaction, one public perception measure (not commonly used) is the tracking of media exposure (e.g., recording the number of positive and negative news reports about the facility). What is most difficult about gauging public perception, however, is that there are no "loop detectors" for measuring it. That is, to make measurements that are inherently qualitative or subjective, a different set of tools is required--those that capture attitudes, as detailed in Chapter 4. In addition, many measures are stakeholder-group-specific and must be tailored to
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Guidelines for Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects 33 Table 3-5. Most frequently applied performance measures--public perception. Total No. of Purpose Importance Performance Measures Measures Used (No. of Measures) (No. of Measures) Operations Validation Key Secondary Satisfaction: general/perceived value/how well? 4 4 4 Awareness: general/of the facility/how much? 3 3 3 Satisfaction: traffic conditions/reliability 3 3 3 Satisfaction: perceived time savings 3 3 3 Satisfaction: perceived safety 3 3 3 a specific issue of significance. Nonetheless, some measures are considered to be of general interest (see Table 3-5). The following two sections explain how these measures are used in (1) ongoing operations of the priced facility and (2) making the facility's case to the public and other interested parties. Operations: Public Perception Measures as Indirect Inputs to Facility Operations. Measures of public perception are not generally used--at least in a direct sense--to manage the operations of a variably priced managed lane facility. The feedback assembled by assessing public percep- tion can influence operational decisions, but does not dictate the specific daily procedures, policies, or business practices (e.g., toll adjustments or maintenance schedules) that apply to a facility's operation. Validation: Using Public Perception Performance Measures to Validate Variably Priced Managed Lanes. All public perception measures serve a validation capacity and play a second- ary role to those measures that dictate a facility's operation--at least among operating facilities that have provided the foundation to these guidelines. However, an agency contemplating the implementation of a priced managed lane project may view certain public perception measures as key to its performance evaluation program if, for example, a particular issue, such as user equity, is expected to be highly visible. Also, results of public perception measures may require changes to customer service functions or public communication policies. Example: Periodic Customer Survey instruments, focus groups, or interviews are gen- Satisfaction Surveys erally used to collect data for public perception measures. These tools are described in greater detail in Section 4.2; As part of its performance evaluation program their advantages and disadvantages along with estimated for the SR 91 Express Lanes in Orange County, costs are provided in Table 4-2. Generally speaking, these California, the Orange County Transportation measures are more demanding and costly to collect and syn- Authority conducts a periodic customer satisfac- thesize because of the user-specific, manual collection process tion survey. Approximately 400 to 500 customers required of attitudinal information. Because of this, their col- are asked to respond to an established list of lection is often done on either a "before-and-after" or periodic questions so that comparisons can be made and basis. Surveyed public perceptions can be collected prior to trends charted across surveys, which are now the opening of the priced facility, either once or in several conducted biennially, rather than annually. waves, and compared with similar results after opening. Once Among other issues, the survey focuses on cus- operational, it may be desirable to continue to collect these tomer satisfaction; expectations and perceptions types of measures periodically (e.g., annually or biannually) of OCTA's management of the lanes; attitudes or as resources allow. Before-and-after surveys may focus on regarding the lanes' benefits, toll policies, and more market research, acceptance, and awareness issues, while customer service; and awareness of existing com- periodic, post-opening-day performance measurement will munication programs and their effectiveness. likely focus on user satisfaction.
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34 Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects As shown in Table 3-5, measures of satisfaction are the most commonly applied in practice. General satisfaction with the facility, satisfaction with the perceived value the facility offers, or how well customers are satisfied with the facility are frequently applied measures. Similar mea- sures directed at facility awareness are also prevalent. Generally though, awareness measures are collected prior to and just after the opening of a facility, as familiarity with the project grows after opening. From there, satisfaction with its performance becomes more relevant. Of the more spe- cific satisfaction performance measures, traffic conditions (congestion levels), reliability, per- ceived time savings, and perceived safety have been found to be the most significant. What is important to keep in mind when formulating measures of public perception is that these measures should address issues of public concern identified through a public outreach process. From region to region, project to project, the key issues worth tracking and respond- ing to before, during, and after project implementation are often more unique than alike. In this manner, public perception measures should be tailored appropriately to each project application. Facility Users The term facility users refers to other characteristics of those who make trips on a priced man- aged lane facility and the characteristics of the trips themselves. Representative Facility User Goals. Understanding who the users of a facility are serves both operational and validation goals. One simple goal may be to increase patronage of the facility. Another goal may be to know the number of transponders issued to help understand how many to have on hand for future distribution. Often, however, characteristics of a facility's users are inputs to developing and measuring goals formulated under other evaluation subjects. For exam- ple, from a validation perspective, knowing the socioeconomic profile of a facility's user base can help track the extent to which the goal of mitigating negative equity change is achieved (the spe- cial case of social equity is further discussed in Section 3.1.4). Operationally, users' departure times or trip times-of-day can inform decisions on setting toll policies, which can be tied to goals of congestion reduction or revenue generation. Most Frequently Applied Facility User Measures. Measures of facility users primarily focus on characteristics of the users themselves or the trips they take. Specific data on their accounts or toll transaction type are also found among those measures used in practice. The full list derived from current operating facilities is shown in Table 3-1. User characteristics include demographic and socioeconomic data, vehicle data, and whether any special registration exists (HOV or hybrid vehicle, for example). Trip characteristics include, among others, frequency, departure times, travelshed determinations, overall trip length, and trip purpose. Table 3-6. Most frequently applied performance measures--facility users. Total No. of Purpose Importance Performance Measures Measures Used (No. of Measures) (No. of Measures) Operations Validation Key Secondary User home zip code 4 1 2 1 2 Frequency of use (trips) 4 1 4 1 3 Trip O-D/travelshed determination 4 3 4 No.of transponders issued 3 2 1 1 User demographics/socioeconomics 3 3 3
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Guidelines for Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects 35 Research indicates that a user's home zip code, as well as various demographic and socioeco- nomic data (not detailed further in these guidelines) are the most commonly applied user char- acteristic measures, as shown in Table 3-6. Specific to users' trips, frequency and travelshed or full origin-destination determinations are most frequently used. Finally, tracking the number of transponders is pervasive, but in reality, expected of any toll operator using ETC equipment, even if not explicitly reported in their performance evaluation materials. The following two sections explain how these measures are used in both the ongoing operations of the priced facility and in making the facility's case to the public and other interested parties. Operations: Facility User Measures as Indirect Inputs to Facility Operations. Generally, measures of a facility's users are used in a validation capacity and less so for operations. As with public perception measures, data collected about users and their trips may serve to inform oper- ations and policy decisions, but generally apply to only back-office daily operations, rather than the facility itself. Managing customer accounts and registrations, issuing transponders, and for- mulating potential (long-term) adjust- ments to facility operation based on trip frequencies and times-of-day are sev- Using Performance Data to Shape Transportation Policy eral operational aspects that can be informed through user measures. Gen- In addition to being used to optimize the operation of pricing projects erally, these measures are used with less and to validate the use of congestion pricing to the public at large, per- frequency than those (e.g., volumes or formance monitoring data can also be used to inform decision making speeds) monitored on a real-time basis on transportation policy issues related to the use of congestion pricing. to make immediate adjustments to One such issue being addressed with increased frequency across the facility operation (as with dynamic tolls) United States is whether single-occupant hybrid and low-emission vehi- or that feed into later performance cles should be afforded similar privileges to HOV vehicles, including reviews for periodic adjustments (as open access to HOV lanes and use of HOT lanes at no cost. with a fixed toll schedule). However, Initially, some states passed laws providing drivers of alternative-fuel and these measures can act as indirect inputs low-emission vehicles open access to HOV lanes, regardless of the number to system performance and be used to of occupants in the vehicle in order to promote the use of these vehicles. plan for future operational changes or However, since their introduction, hybrid vehicles have become widely expansion. For example, user vehicle available and more affordable and are often sought after by drivers classification or the number of HOV interested in lowering their fuel bills. In some congested areas (e.g., registrations may help predict when an greater Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles), drivers have purchased adjustment from HOV2+ to HOV3+ hybrid vehicles for the express purpose of using HOV lanes to bypass con- may become necessary. gested areas while driving alone. This policy has important repercussions on highly used HOV lanes such as I-66 and I-95 in Northern Virginia, Validation: Characterizing Facility where low-emission vehicles can account for up to 17 percent of the vehi- Users and Their Trips to Validate Vari- cles in HOV lanes during peak periods. The viability of potential HOV-to- ably Priced Managed Lanes. Many HOT conversions is also diminished in corridors where a large percentage measures of system users are collected to of peak-period vehicles in HOV lanes actually consists of SOV hybrids. validate the project. Measures of user characteristics, especially demographics Accurate performance monitoring data is essential in quantifying the and socioeconomics, help facility opera- effects that hybrid and low-emission vehicles have on the performance tors understand their customer base. of congested managed lane facilities in peak periods. Performance This knowledge, in turn, can be used to data can also be used to derive other important pieces of information, communicate who is benefiting from including comparisons of the emissions of multiple SOV hybrid vehicles the facility (e.g., are they just those to HOV or transit vehicles carrying the same number of people. Perfor- "wealthy" enough to pay or are lower mance monitoring data will likely play an increasingly important role income groups prominent users as to transportation professionals and policymakers as they consider this well) and how widespread those benefits and other related issues. reach. Similarly, trip characteristics help
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36 Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects inform where and when users travel. This data can be used to explore potential reduction in peak- period usage or shifts to alternative routes, common goals among congestion-priced facilities. Collection methods and frequencies vary for user measures. Some measures, such as demograph- ics, transponders issued, or vehicle make, are naturally tracked through the customer registration/management process. Again though, for facilities that do not require mandatory transponder usage or registration, this data cannot be obtained without manual survey work. Soliciting some user measures is possible only through surveys, such as total trip length (includ- ing non-priced segments) and trip purpose. Collection of this data is naturally done on an infre- quent, as-needed basis. Comprehensive travelshed determinations may even require travel demand forecasting or modeling efforts. System Operations For the purposes of these guidelines, system operations refer to operational aspects of a priced facility that are not directly related to measures of traffic, as discussed in the Traffic Performance section. They are categorized in five ways: · Finance · Enforcement Example: Surveyed User Characteristics · Safety · Customer service WSDOT has conducted an online survey of Good · System function To Go! account holders who use the SR 167 HOT lanes to obtain a representative cross section of Representative System Operations Goals. A wide vari- its users. Among the results, WSDOT has high- ety of goals can be set by and evaluated against system opera- lighted the distribution of users' age, income tions. A significant system operations goal is to collect a cer- level, and vehicle make in its publicly available tain level of revenue. Another goal may be to not exceed a performance evaluation publications. Although certain threshold for violation rates. Maintaining or improv- the numbers reported are not adjusted for actual ing levels of safety after the conversion of HOV lanes to HOT proportions within the population at large, operation is often tracked. Finally, system operators may WSDOT states that the data helps to dispel the want to achieve established levels of customer service or tar- "Lexus Lane" concern that only the "rich" can gets of system equipment availability/accuracy. afford to use the lanes. Most Frequently Applied System Operations Measures. Because of system operations' broad scope, a wide variety of measures are used to track this evaluation area as detailed in Table 3-1. Finance measures include revenue (e.g., tolls and fees) and expenditures (O&M). Enforcement measures track data that includes traffic stops, violation rates, and citations issued. Measures of safety often look at acci- dent rates and incident response times. A long and very detailed number of performance met- rics can measure customer service--from volumes of inquiry and comments received (positive or negative), to customer service center response time and average inquiry resolution time. Application of these measures is highly dependent on facility sponsor preference, as discussed below. Finally, measures of system function focus on facility and specific equipment availability and accuracy, numbers of equipment incidents, and repair rates. As indicated in Table 3-7, system operations performance measures are widely collected in practice across all five categories. Those measures related to finance are the most commonly used among operating facilities, with measures of safety and customer service also factoring signifi- cantly in performance evaluation programs. The following two sections explain how these measures are used in both ongoing operations of the priced facility and in making the facility's case to the public and other interested parties. Many validation measures can also be used to make operational changes to the facility, such as
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Guidelines for Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects 37 Table 3-7. Most frequently applied performance measures--system operations. Total No. of Purpose Importance Performance Measures Measures Used (No. of Measures) (No. of Measures) Operations Validation Key Secondary Revenue (toll/charge) 6 3 4 5 1 Number of violations/citations/fines 6 1 5 6 Average toll/highest toll 5 4 3 4 1 O&M expenditures 5 1 3 2 3 Total transactions 4 2 2 1 3 Collisions/accidents 4 4 4 Incident response time/duration 4 4 4 Inquiry activity (call, email) 4 4 4 System equipment availability 4 4 4 Revenue (fee) 3 2 1 2 Total traffic stops/ responses 3 2 3 System equipment incidents 3 3 3 Mean time to respond/repair (system incidents) 3 3 3 when system equipment performance measures may indicate the need for a repair or replace- ment. However, these measures still serve to validate the integrity of facility system operations, and in turn, the facility itself. Operations: System Operations Performance Measures as Direct and Indirect Inputs to Facility Operations. Among Example: Toll Revenue and Operations the five categories of system operations performance measures, financial performance data is often used in the operation of Florida's Turnpike Enterprise closely monitors toll priced managed lanes. Performance measures of enforcement, transactions and revenue on the 95 Express safety, customer service, and system function may also be used between Miami and (eventually) Fort Lauderdale. operationally, but are discussed in the validation section. FTE summarizes all applied tolls, tolled and toll- exempt trips, and gross revenue into monthly Specific to finance, the average toll paid, highest toll paid, and performance measure reports. FDOT uses this total number of transactions can factor into the algorithms data to chart monthly revenue trends and rev- established for dynamic variably priced facilities. Likewise, these enue receipts during different time periods-- factors could be used in periodically evaluating the toll sched- P.M. peak, weekend, or weekday, for example-- ules of a fixed variably priced facility. Both the average toll paid from month to month. FDOT compiles similar and highest toll paid are indicators of whether an algorithm is information for toll rates and maximum tolls. responding appropriately to traffic levels, without excessive Coupled with additional measured data, FDOT lags, overcompensation, or abrupt increases and decreases. optimizes facility operations though an Toll revenue is also a key operational performance measure. enhanced understanding of the relationships Although more significant to toll facilities (see Section 3.3), between toll rates, traffic volumes, and speeds. priced managed lane revenue is a significant consideration for recovering operations and maintenance expenditures and potentially contributing to repaying capital cost expenditures on the facility itself, investing in parallel general-purpose lane improvements, or other roadways (priced or unpriced) under the purview of the facility sponsor. Collection of toll revenue data is managed through ETC equipment and does not represent a significant cost once a facility is operational. The data is captured on an ongoing, real-time basis and can be considered a must-have among performance evaluation measures.
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38 Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects Validation: Using System Operations Performance Mea- sures to Validate Variably Priced Managed Lanes. Revenue Example: Monitoring Safety data (i.e., tolls, fees, fines), as discussed above, can also be used FDOT tracks safety conditions on the 95 Express in a validation capacity to show that certain levels of income using police crash reports. Two years of crash are helping to make the case that implementation of a priced data will be needed before definitive safety managed lane project was a wise investment. information is available. Nonetheless, initial evaluation of incidents has not provided any Safety is frequently a primary concern of departments of indication of safety concerns. To supplement transportation and other roadway facility operators. Although traditional police reports, FDOT installed video challenging to collect and use on a comparative basis, data based monitoring equipment along the 95 Express cor- on accident or collision records has been commonly found in ridor to capture incidents that may not have use among operating facilities as a means to validate safety. been recorded in the past. Part of FDOT's reason (Operational changes may occur from safety data outcomes as for measuring safety is to comply with the fed- well.) Collision data is typically collected by public safety eral requirements of the national Urban Partner- agencies (police departments, for example) and often has data ships Agreement program. gaps and considerable lags in availability (often 6 months or more). It becomes the facility sponsor's responsibility to make sense of this data. Using it to compare safety conditions before and after project implementation or in comparison to paral- lel general-purpose lanes is complicated by the need to under- Example: Incident Response stand the precise accident cause and location, data that is often unclear or absent from police records. For example, just Along the 91 Express Lanes, OCTA tracks the because the location of an accident might be recorded as number and response time of safety service within the extent of a priced lane, the priced lane itself may not patrol trips made to assist motorists. Providing have been the origin location or cause. A situation such as this this service and minimizing response time is in makes it difficult to determine if the configuration or presence keeping with OCTA's goal to provide enhanced of a priced lane was the root cause of the accident and thus customer service along the express lanes (this is claim if it is more or less "safe." also reflected in its higher levels of regular main- tenance). In addition, minimizing this response Enforcement of occupancy and toll payment requirements time is important to user safety as the two-lane is an important measure to present to a public that expects a configuration (in both directions) lacks sufficient high level of integrity for a service that requires payment or shoulder space for stopped vehicles. active participation in a carpool. Legitimate HOV users will want to be assured that in the case of conversion to HOT oper- ation, their benefits are not diminished. Minimizing toll eva- sion (an issue for non-barrier-separated lanes) is significant to the facility operator. In both cases, measures of enforcement such as traffic stops and violation rates are relevant and help to vali- date the expectation for fair application of the facility's rules and requirements. (Again, enforce- ment outcome data may also lead to facility operational changes to reduce occupancy violations or toll evasion.) Confirmation of the delivery of high-quality customer service can be evaluated by many mea- sures. Facility sponsors will want to consider tailoring a selection of these measures based on the role the agency plays in providing customer service functions, public outreach outcomes, and other needs. If the operation of the facility is provided by a private entity to collect tolls and man- age customer service, evaluation measures and reporting requirements can be specified in the contract with the entity. The most commonly applied customer service measure in practice is level of customer inquiry (by phone or email); generally low levels of inquiry are desirable because they are indicative of good customer satisfaction. A second common measure--incident response time by public safety agencies or safety service patrols--can be considered both a cus- tomer service and safety indicator.
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Guidelines for Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects 39 Finally, validating the proper function of the managed lanes' system equipment (and any need for potential operational changes) can require certain performance evaluation measures. Fre- quently applied measures include system equipment availability (transponder readers and other toll collection hardware, cameras, and other vehicle detection and monitoring equipment), the number of system incidents (failures, errors, etc.), and the mean time to repair the equipment. Collection of these measures can be built into the software that manages the systems and directed to produce reports as necessary. Environment Performance measures to evaluate a variably priced managed lane facility's effect on the envi- ronment are not widely used in practice, given that the overall effects of improved efficiency in heavily traveled highway corridors are not likely to generate meaningful improvements to such environmental conditions as air quality or noise. This is in sharp contrast to area or cordon pric- ing schemes, which can reduce regional emissions by an order of magnitude not imaginable for single highway improvement projects--the Stockholm Congestion Tax trial reduced carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions within the city by 14 percent and within Stockholm County by 2.5 percent. If there is particular interest in monitoring the performance of priced managed lane projects on emissions, information on emission rates can be calculated using traf- fic volume and speed data as inputs to standard air quality forecasting tools, such as EPA's MOBILE6 Vehicle Emission Modeling Software. Transit Transit refers to aspects of transit service that operate on the priced managed lane facility or corridor. Transit service within the facility's travelshed may also be of interest, where it can offer an alternate route between origins and destinations served by the managed lanes' corridor. Representative Transit Goals. Goals related to transit service pertain to priced facilities that have transit operating along its corridor or at least within the same region/travelshed. Transit goals include not degrading or reducing service. This goal may pertain to HOT lanes converted from prior HOV lanes that serve transit vehicles (express bus service, for example) and must deal with increased traffic levels from paying SOV users. Improvements in transit service may also be an established goal if system enhancements, such as the addition of new capacity or park-and- ride facilities, are incorporated as part of a priced managed lane project. Most Frequently Applied Transit Measures. Aspects of transit service include performance, ridership, finance (revenue), and quality of service (as measured attitudinally through customer surveys). Research indicates (as shown in Table 3-8) that transit performance is most often mea- sured by travel times, on-time rates, or excessive wait times (delay), as well as ridership or board- ing counts. Other measures used less frequently include farebox revenue and O&M expenditures, as well as quality, satisfaction, and reliability as perceived by customers. Table 3-8. Most frequently applied performance measures--transit. Total No. of Purpose Importance Performance Measures Measures Used (No. of Measures) (No. of Measures) Operations Validation Key Secondary Travel time/on-time/excess wait 3 1 2 1 2 Ridership/ boardings 3 3 3