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12 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 on California's State Route 91 and Interstate 15. Some · Area pricing. Singapore and London provide the argue that many U.S. initiatives fall short of "true" con- oldest and newest examples of pricing entry into center gestion pricing in that they primarily add new options for cities. Despite London's system being new, it has been in motorists who choose to pay for premium service in lieu the making for decades. Indeed, the Smeed report, pub- of establishing a consistent pricing system for all users. lished in 1964, set forth many of the criteria for success This approach, however, is consistent with and probably that still hold true. Subsequent phases in the evolution makes sense in the context of the decentralized trans- of London's consideration of road pricing included a portation system in the United States. With the exception "supplementary licensing" proposal in 1974; publica- of older cities like New York and Boston, the United tion in 1988 of a congestion pricing strategy; a govern- States does not have the same center city densities or geo- ment-commissioned study from 1992 through 1995 of graphic limitations that make cordon-style area pricing various charging schemes; and, ultimately, in 1999, the feasible in Europe. While Europe's experiments have act that gave London's mayor the authority to establish included a few facility-based applications, it is more com- a road charging system. mon to find area pricing applications that target center · Toll rings. In contrast to the cordon-based sys- city areas. These differing approaches in the United States tems that charge fees for passage into a city center, and Europe will probably carry forward into the future. tolls (to cross cordon) that encircle an urban center While we in the United States may well be on the brink have taken hold in Norway. Tolls were introduced for of value pricing's entry into the mainstream, we should the sole purpose of raising revenue and, as such, do continue to heed lessons learned to date on conditions for not represent congestion pricing schemes but simply successful implementation. The presence of widespread tolls. Norway is unique in that its system includes benefits and narrowly defined costs is one important fac- existing roads and charges at all entry points. While tor for success. The proper use of revenue is essential to Norwegian officials are considering whether to con- the public's understanding of a pricing project's impacts vert to congestion pricing, it is doubtful that the cur- on equity, and dedication of at least a share of the revenue rent design can be adapted to demand management to public transport can counter the impact of road pricing purposes. on those with lower incomes. Finally, successful imple- · Distance-based charging. Seeking to combat con- mentation of pricing programs almost always depends on gestion on intercity routes, Austria, Germany, and the assembly and mobilization of diverse groups with Switzerland are developing and implementing pricing shared interests to join public officials in championing the systems that address the number of kilometers logged approach. on major motorways. To date, these systems focus on heavy goods vehicles, partly in response to the continu- ing growth in freight traffic following the development ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK? of the single European market. Thanks to technological AN OVERVIEW OF ROAD PRICING APPLICATIONS developments, Germany's system is currently shifting AND RESEARCH OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES from a point-to-point assessment to a true distance- based pricing system. By the end of this year, the system Anthony May will likely evolve from simple window stickers to the use of automatic vehicle identification through Road pricing is indeed coming into its own, and as onboard units that will transmit the position of the Marty Wachs says, we are at a key juncture in its evolu- vehicle, company and vehicle data, and the distance tion. This is illustrated, in part, by evidence of more traveled on charged roads. road pricing activity taking place in the past 10 years than altogether in the three decades before that. Thus, Despite, or perhaps because of, the tremendous today, just 10 years after the Curbing Gridlock confer- progress of the past decade, several areas are ripe for ence, we are in a position to structure a symposium further research. I'd like to suggest four in particular. around not only theory but also practice. A review of European and Asian developments in road · Public acceptability, particularly with respect to pricing since 1975, when Singapore established the the impact of the design of the particular pricing scheme world's first area pricing system, reveals three major on public opinion. One study found, for instance, that approaches: (a) urban applications through area pricing in acceptance ratings for a proposed pricing scheme rose center cities, (b) priced toll rings surrounding urban areas, from 35% to 55% once the scheme included a commit- and (c) distance-based pricing on intercity roads. A look at ment to dedicate the revenues to stated transportation the projects that have been proposed and implemented in uses rather than the general public coffer. the past 10 years in each of these three categories can be · Continued examination of various road pricing instructive for where we are now and where we are going. schemes' impacts on "vertical equity," which refers to
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ROAD PRICING IN CONTEXT 13 impacts stratified by income group, and "horizontal dence to refute or corroborate businesses' fears about equity," which refers to impacts by geographic area and road pricing would be most useful. type of activity. · The role of certain design features in different · Pricing's impacts on local economic conditions types of pricing programs. For example, when point- and land use patterns, for which there is little empirical based pricing is considered, it could be useful to exam- evidence to date, in part due to measurement difficul- ine design features that may minimize diversion to ties. While businesses tend to warn that pricing will pro- alternative routes. Recent research in Edinburgh has duce job and income losses, the limited evidence we shown a strong correlation between the benefits derived have to date suggests only minor impacts. Further evi- from pricing and the placement of charging points.
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