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THEN AND NOW 67 BOX 3 Findings from Curbing Gridlock Congestion pricing would cause some motorists Congestion pricing would reduce air pollution to change their behavior. and save energy. Congestion pricing would result in a net benefit The political feasibility of congestion pricing is to society. uncertain. Congestion pricing is technically feasible. Evaluation of early projects is crucial. Institutional issues are complex but can be re- An incremental approach is appropriate. solved. All income groups can come out ahead given an Source: Transportation Research Board and appropriate distribution of revenues. Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Some motorists would lose. Education 1994, Vol. 1, pp. 49. dence. It indicated that the potential of road pricing to extensive evaluations of experimental programs, and contribute to the lessening of congestion in urban areas provide matching development funds to local govern- was significant but largely untested at the time. It con- ments have not been enacted. Most of the recommenda- centrated on urging further study, research, experimen- tions aimed at state and local governments and those tation, and evaluation of field experiments and on that specifically enumerated research opportunities have recommending governmental programs that would not been undertaken. Despite this, as will be shown in make them possible. It concluded that most evidence the following sections, there have been important suggested that road pricing could make a significant changes in attitudes toward congestion pricing, and it is contribution to the alleviation of worsening traffic con- reasonable to say that public policy makers appears gestion. Yet the report simultaneously acknowledged more receptive to the concept than was the case at the great uncertainty with regard to distributional issues: time the study was completed. Could such programs be carried out without harming lower-income travelers, women, and members of minor- ity groups? The report also acknowledged that as a com- RECENT PRICING TRENDS IN THE munity of interest we have less insight than we would UNITED STATES like into the economic development and environmental outcomes of road pricing as well as the implications for Facility Pricing in the United States Versus land use and urban form. Area Pricing in Europe It is interesting to note that the majority of the recom- mendations from Curbing Gridlock have not been imple- Although road pricing in the United States remains con- mented, although some important ones have been. troversial and vulnerable to organized opposition, it has Consistent with the recommendations, when the federal actually advanced dramatically since the publication of government reauthorized the surface transportation pro- Curbing Gridlock, probably to a greater extent than gram by enacting the Transportation Equity Act for the had been envisioned when the report was published. As 21st Century in 1997, the congestion pricing demonstra- more fully described in the companion resource paper tion program was included and renamed "value pricing" by two European authors, the complexion of pricing in to reflect a larger scope including, for example, high- the United States is noticeably different from that in occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. The program, however, is Europe. Most of the highly publicized applications of not slated for inclusion in the Bush administration's cur- road pricing in Europe are area pricing schemes, similar rent proposal for reauthorization in 2003 or 2004. In to the original application of pricing in Singapore, and addition, a variety of approaches have been considered involve cordons about central city locations. Fees are to remove the prohibition on the charging of tolls on the paid, as in London or Trondheim, to cross the cordon in Interstate system, and this restriction no longer seems to order to enter a central congested area during peak peri- be binding in the long term. And, consistent with the rec- ods. In America, by contrast, there are few applications ommendations of the study, Congress has acted to treat of area pricing schemes. Instead, most applications are employer subsidies of public transit and employee park- located on highway facilities, where fees are required to ing more equally than was the case previously. However, enter certain lanes during periods of congestion. the report's suggestions that Congress provide incentives In part, the prominent difference between the growth to fund major programs in metropolitan areas, fund of area schemes elsewhere and facility-based schemes in