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Background and Terminology I n any discussion of road pricing, one of the first vocabulary has emerged in the road pricing community challenges is to clarify definitions. The conference as well. The following are some examples: committee was charged with organizing a sympo- sium to explore American and international applica- Value pricing. The term "value pricing" was pro- tions of road pricing strategies in various gov- posed in place of the term "congestion pricing" by the ernmental and socioeconomic settings. Although they U.S. Department of Transportation during the develop- are often used interchangeably, the phrases "road ment of pricing legislation to convey the benefits pricing," "congestion pricing," "value pricing," and ("value") of using pricing to reduce congestion. How- "variable pricing" can have different meanings to dif- ever, some choose to limit the term's meaning to charg- ferent users. This document typically uses the phrase ing for use of additional road lanes that offer premium "road pricing." Under a road pricing strategy, road service alternatives to unpriced highways. users are charged a fee that reflects the cost of their Cordon. A ring around an area (typically a city use of the road more fully than do existing fees and center) with a series of charging points at all entries. taxes, and thus pricing can serve as a public policy Both Singapore and London use a cordon approach. tool to help manage demand for a limited resource-- Area charging or licensing. A variant of cordon road space. Because of its role in managing demand, charging in which the charge is levied to use a vehicle road pricing is often referred to as "congestion pric- within a defined area, rather than just to enter it. ing," particularly in cases where the charge rises at Distance-based charges. In contrast to cordon or peak travel times and falls or is eliminated entirely area-based charges within a defined area, distance- when demand is low. based charges represent fees that vary depending on the As with any other genuine pricing system, road pric- distance traveled. ing allocates road space to those most willing to pay for Managed lanes. A lane or lanes designed and oper- it, provides guidance in the revenues collected as to ated to achieve stated goals by managing access via user where capacity expansion is needed, and creates one group, pricing, or other criteria. A managed lane facility source of money for paying for investment. Pricing a typically provides improved travel conditions to eligible road is thus different from traditional turnpike tolling, users. which aims merely to produce revenue to recover costs High-occupancy/toll (HOT) lanes. A variant of and plays no reallocative function. the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) carpool lanes com- While the term "road pricing" generally suffices as a monly used throughout the United States, HOT lanes shorthand phrase to indicate the allocation of scarce are managed lanes that provide free (or reduced cost) road space through the use of charges that vary with the access for transit and other vehicles carrying the level of congestion on a road, other, more specific required number of passengers and charge a fee to 1

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2 I N T E R N AT I O N A L P E R S P E C T I V E S O N R O A D P R I C I N G other vehicles not meeting occupancy requirements. HOT networks. This concept expands the idea of Emergency vehicles are typically exempt from the fee. HOT lanes to a complete network of premium service lanes An alternative to HOT lanes that has been mooted offering both congestion relief to motorists and improved but is untried is the concept of FAIR (fast and inter- transit service. A HOT network would be developed by twined regular) lanes. If implemented, FAIR lanes adding missing HOV lanes and converting the entire oper- would divide currently free, general-purpose traffic ation to electronic variable pricing. Access would be at no lanes into two sections: fast lanes and regular lanes. charge to "super-HOV" vehicles (vanpools and buses), Under FAIR lanes, drivers using the regular lanes dur- which would preregister to use the system and carry ing peak hours would be compensated with credits that transponders granting them passage at no charge. All other could be used as toll payments on days when they chose vehicles would pay a toll intended to maintain high-speed, to use express lanes. The express lane credits would free-flow traffic at all times. A seamless network of this sort compensate drivers for giving up their right to use lanes would provide the functional equivalent of an exclusive that they "have already paid for" and for any added busway, since pricing would be used to guarantee a prede- delays that might result. fined amount of capacity for buses and vanpools.