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OCR for page 83
Conclusions 83 of analysis areas, which can be used to create tailored performance monitoring programs designed to meet agency needs, reflect the interests of local stakeholders, and align with resources available for performance evaluation. Finally, the context and background against which information is gathered through perfor- mance monitoring programs for congestion pricing projects must be assessed for their effects and possible influence on the findings of these programs. Even the results of the most thoughtful per- formance monitoring programs may be influenced by externalities ranging from ongoing con- struction activities to fluctuations in the price of fuel to regional or national economic trends. 5.2 Outreach and Communication-- Day-of-Opening A Glimpse of the Future in San Diego: Integrating Real-Time and Beyond Performance Monitoring Across Modes As these guidelines were being finalized, the San Diego Association These guidelines have emphasized how of Governments (SANDAG) was formulating its plans to use a $9 mil- effective outreach and communication relate lion Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) grant from USDOT to to the ultimate success of congestion pricing develop a platform to integrate real-time performance monitoring projects. Project sponsors must recognize data from systems in the San Diego region to track the performance that all eyes will be on congestion pricing of the highway system, transit vehicles, and arterial streets. The programs during their first days of operation. system, which will include data collected from the dynamic tolling The public and their elected officials will ETC system used to operate the I-15 Express Lanes, ramp metering have little patience with pricing programs locations, loop detectors, videocameras, traffic lights, transit that appear to not deliver on the promises vehicles, and parking stalls in park-and-ride lots, among others, described in marketing and outreach efforts will be used to detect incidents and deploy a coordinated response leading up to facility opening. Project spon- under different conditions, including normal operations, special sors must be able to provide daily data docu- events, periods of heavy congestion, traffic incidents on highways menting the performance of new facilities as or arterial streets, transit incidents, and natural disasters. soon as they open. The ICM approach was designed to use the strengths of San Diego's Travelers, the media, and community offi- different transportation management systems, as well as its travel cials will draw many conclusions--accurate demand model, which is being used to test different management and inaccurate--about the performance of plans and formulate business procedures for implementing them. pricing programs during those first important San Diego's ICM approach provides a glimpse of the future when days. Depending on the pricing form used, the performance management will not be practiced on a facility-specific public's observations will likely include such basis, but rather across multiple components of the regional trans- issues as portation system. For example, if a traffic incident were to occur on Did the introduction of pricing save me the I-15 in the a.m. peak near Downtown San Diego, the ICM sys- time (volume, speed, accidents/incidents)? tem could be used to suspend tolling on the managed lanes and Were the priced facilities easy to access? direct motorists in the general-purpose lanes to divert to the man- Were access locations clear to users? aged lanes or local arterial streets or take transit. The system would Were the priced facilities easy to exit? Were also be able to direct drivers to the nearest park-and-ride station exit locations clear to users? and provide real-time information on the number of available park- What was traffic like in the adjacent general- ing spaces and the arrival time and number of seats available on purpose lanes (volume, speed, accidents/ the next bus traveling into Downtown. In the future, performance incidents)? monitoring data on managed lanes will be just one of many data Was there visible enforcement? strands that will enable all components of a region's transportation How much money was collected? network to be managed in an integrated fashion in response to changing conditions. How many carpools used the priced lanes? How many SOVs used the priced lanes?

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84 Evaluation and Performance Measurement of Congestion Pricing Projects What was the effect of pricing on transit service? Did I see any evidence of increased transit service? Project sponsors and operators must have mechanisms in place enabling them to provide in- formation on all of the issues identified above--and likely others--on the day of opening. This information must also be analyzed to identify and facilitate any potential "day-after-opening" changes that may need to be made to ensure safe and optimal operation. These changes could include modifying operational policies, the wording on electronic signings, or the number of and location of enforcement personnel. Project sponsors should disseminate performance data immediately via a range of communi- cation channels, including websites, e-blasts, press conferences, and formal press releases. Imme- diate dissemination is vital because the media and public will be drawing their own conclusions on the performance of the pricing program based on their own observations and what they hear from users. Accurate performance data will either support or discount those observations and will put the media on notice that accuracy does matter when drawing conclusions on the use of pric- ing. It will also alert the media that the project sponsor can be depended on to provide timely and interesting information. More importantly, providing honest and accurate information about what went right, what went wrong, and how problems are being addressed will also assure the public that pricing can deliver travel-time savings and trip reliability safely and effectively.