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18 EXPRESS TOLL LANES express lanes as a private, for-profit enterprise was not popular, receiving approval ratings of from 37% to 45%. This section presents public opinion data associated with express toll lanes--a type of road pricing system where motorists must pay a toll to gain access to lanes that are sepa- 31. Orange and Los Angeles Counties, rated from the mainstream traffic. The lanes are "express"; California (1996) there are no toll booths. The express toll lanes use a system of Method: Survey. Universe: SR 91 corridor users. Sample size: cameras and/or transponders to toll vehicles automatically. Typically, these tolls will increase as traffic density within the N = 505 (457 from 1995 survey and 48 new). Margin of error: tolled lanes also increases. This pricing scheme limits the traf- Not reported, specified that this varies by subgroup. Sample fic demand within the lanes, ultimately resulting in lanes that type: Panel and recruited from license plate capture. can travel freely despite the congestion in the mainstream In AprilMay, a supplemental opinion-only survey was con- travel lanes. ducted to capture commuters' viewpoints a few months after the SR 91 express lanes opened, during the settling-in period. 30. Orange and Los Angeles Counties, The survey was sponsored by California Polytechnic State California (1995) University as part of the evaluation of the variable-toll express lane facility (47). Approval for providing extra toll-financed Method: Survey. Universe: SR 91 corridor users. Sample lanes to bypass congestion ranged from 60% to 82% among size: N = 645. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: the different occupancy groups and lane types reported Recruited from license plate capture. (i.e., free/toll SOV, free/toll HOV-2, and free/toll HOV-3). Approval ratings among toll lane users, which were in the In the fall, an opinion survey of peak period travelers in the 70% to 80% range, were consistently higher than among non- SR 91 corridor was sponsored by California Polytechnic State users of toll lanes. The highest ratings were among toll HOV-2 University as part of the evaluation of the variable-toll express users. Approval ratings for the idea of varying tolls based lane facility (47). This survey was done prior to the lanes being on congestion ranged from 51% to 69% among occupancy opened. SR 91 was the first site of congestion pricing in the groups. Approval ratings for using toll financing for new United States. It is located between the junction of SR 91 and highways ranged from 55% to 68%. Between 18% and 43% 55 at the Anaheim and Orange/Riverside County Line. The of the occupancy groups rated toll financing the best method facility provided two extra lanes in each direction and incor- porated a number of innovative features including tolls that of pay for new highways (higher than for gas taxes, vehicle vary by time of day based on expected congestion in the corri- registration fees, and sales tax). The toll SOV group was least dor, the requirement that all users be registered customers and likely to rank toll financing as the best method. Most respon- carry identifying transponders, the use of discount pricing as dents greatly approved of replacing toll booths with electronic an incentive to HOVs, photo enforcement of toll violations, toll and traffic management technology, with 70% to 98% and that the facility was developed and operated by a private approval. The idea of operating the express lanes as a private, company for profit. for-profit enterprise received mixed approval ratings of 37% to 65%. The toll SOV group expressed the lowest approval for The express lanes were built within what had been one of this concept. the most heavily congested freeway corridors of California, with typical peak period delays of between 30 and 40 min. The 32. Orange and Los Angeles Counties, opinion survey was administered to sub-samples of travelers California (19961997) who participated in an origindestination travel survey. The idea of providing extra toll-financed lanes to bypass conges- Method: Survey. Universe: SR 91 corridor users. Sample size: tion received approval ratings of from 62% to 68% among the N = 489 (332 from 1995/1996 surveys and 157 new). Margin different occupancy groups reported (i.e., SOV, HOV-2, and of error: Not reported; specified that this varies by subgroup. HOV-3). Reported approval rates were obtained by dividing Sample type: Panel and recruited from license plate capture. the number of respondents stating that they believe the con- cept is a good idea by the total number of individuals who In the fall/winter, a third opinion survey of peak and off-peak responded. Approval ratings for the idea of varying tolls based period travelers in the SR 91 corridor was again sponsored by on congestion were lower--ranging from 40% to 45% among California Polytechnic State University as part of the evalua- occupancy groups. Approval ratings for using toll financing for tion of the variable-toll express lane facility (48). This survey new highways ranged from 61% to 69%. Between 28% and was done about one year after the lanes opened. Approval for 33% of the occupancy groups rated toll financing as the best providing extra toll-financed lanes to bypass congestion ranged method of paying for new highways (higher than for gas taxes, from 60% to 81% among the different occupancy groups vehicle registration fees, and sales tax). Most respondents (75% and lane type reported (i.e., free/toll SOV, free/toll HOV-2, to 80%) approved of replacing toll booths with electronic toll free/toll HOV-3, and off-peak). Approval ratings were higher and traffic management technology. The idea of operating the among toll lane users and off-peak users than among free lane

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19 users. Approval ratings for the idea of varying tolls based 34. Orlando, Florida (2000) on congestion ranged from 59% to 72% among occupancy groups. Approval rating for using toll financing for new high- Method: Focus groups. Number: Ten groups, with approxi- ways ranged from 61% to 78%. Between 26% and 41% of the mately 10 individuals in each. Participants: Individuals who occupancy groups rated toll financing as the best method of pay use I-4 during peak period 3+ days per week; Individuals who for new highways (compared with gas taxes, vehicle registra- use I-4 at least once per week, and Orlando visitors who used tion fees, and sales tax). Most respondents greatly approved I-4 during current stay. of replacing toll booths with electronic toll and traffic man- agement technology, at 76% to 92% approval. The idea of From May to June, focus groups were conducted for Florida's operating the express lanes as a private, for-profit enterprise Turnpike to determine how Orlando-area I-4 travelers feel received approval ratings of 41% to 75%. Approval of SOV about current travel conditions in the I-4 corridor and trans- and HOV-2 toll paying users was in the 70% to 75% range. portation improvement alternatives (49). Participants raised negative sentiments concerning adding tolls to new lanes on I-4. However, most said they would use the express lanes for 33. Orange and Los Angeles Counties, at least some trips if they were built as conceived, with tolls. California (1999) Participants' level of use would depend on the toll rates and the amount of time savings that the lanes provided. Positive reac- Method: Survey. Universe: SR 91 corridor users. Sample size: tion to the plan came as a result of conveying the full rationale N = 1,788 (1,375 new, 348 respondents from 1996 survey, for why the tolled lanes would be necessary and carefully pre- 65 from 1997/1998 surveys by University of California, Irvine senting key details of the concept. researchers). Margin of error: Not reported; specified that this varies by subgroup. Sample type: Panel, recruited from license plate capture, RDD. 35. Miami, Florida (20012002) In the fall of 1999, an opinion survey was sponsored by Cali- Method: Focus groups. Number: Six groups, with 8 to 14 indi- fornia Polytechnic State University as part of the evaluation of viduals in each. Participants: Commuters who use freeways the SR 91 variable-toll express lane facility (48). The principal during peak period 3+ days per week; other individuals who objective of the survey was to update earlier investigations of use freeways at least once per week; English and Spanish. public opinion. Of particular interest was the possible influ- ence on travel and opinion of the new Eastern Toll Road, which In July 2001, focus groups were conducted for the Miami opened in October 1998, about a year before this survey was Value Pricing Project to explore reactions to value pricing conducted. Approval for providing extra toll-financed lanes to and express lane alternatives and to pretest a survey instru- bypass congestion ranged from 50% to 75% among the dif- ment (50). Most participants reported that they would likely ferent occupancy groups and lane type reported (i.e., free/toll use express lanes at least occasionally if they were available SOV, free/toll HOV, free/toll HOV-2, and free/toll HOV-3+). and if they provided acceptable levels of service while not Toll lane users were more supportive than non-users. deteriorating conditions on existing lanes. They appreciated the opportunity to have a "real choice" as opposed to current Approval ratings for the idea of varying tolls based on con- conditions where the available choices involved congested gestion ranged from 30% to 50% among occupancy groups. routes during the peak periods. Several said that the oppor- Among SOV commuters, a very large difference in approval tunity to use these lanes would influence them to acquire was observed between toll lane users (53%) and non-users SunPass, the Florida DOT's prepaid toll program. Some were (28%). Higher-income commuters ($100,000+) were found concerned that those with lower incomes would have to use to show higher approval of variable tolls, as well as of toll the regular lanes, with wealthier travelers using the express lanes. Most did not react favorably to peak pricing. Higher financing in general, compared with other groups. The idea peak prices were believed to unfairly penalize commuters. of operating the express lanes as a private, for-profit enter- Virtually all disliked dynamic pricing. They liked the idea of prise received approval ratings in the 30% to 45% range. The open road tolling and especially the removal of toll plaza approval levels for toll lane users generally exceeded non- bottlenecks. users. The researchers noted that there were recent highly public controversies occurring in connection with this project. Method: Focus groups. Number: Six groups, with 8 to 14 indi- When asked whether it was a good idea to let SOVs use viduals in each. Participants: Commuters who use free- underutilized carpool lanes for a fee, provided the lanes do not ways during peak period 3+ days per week; other individ- become congested, approval ratings ranged from a low of uals who use freeways at least once per week; English and 42% for free HOV users to a high of 74% for toll SOV users. Spanish. About 45% to 50% of recent HOV commuters approved of the idea, compared with 59% to 74% of SOV commuters. In March 2002, a second set of focus groups were conducted Approval was highest among commuters with household after some of the value pricing options had been refined (50). incomes of $100,000+. In this set of groups, participants were shown a value pricing

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20 video and two sets of concept plans before discussing value 38. Statewide Minnesota (2004) pricing alternatives. Four groups were with cash customers and two were with SunPass customers. Most cash customers Method: Survey. Universe: Minnesota adults. Sample size: liked the express lanes and indicated that they would use them N = 821. Margin of error: 3.4%. Sample type: Random at least on occasion. At the same time, all indicated that they telephone. would prefer to have the ten-lane roadway open to general use, which was viewed as being fairer to everyone. They did In January, the results of a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll found not like the idea of increasing tolls during peak periods and that 69% of Minnesota adults polled would support paying for lowering tolls during the off-peak hours. SunPass customers new highway lanes with tolls collected from drivers who were more opinionated; participants were skeptical as to choose to use them (52). Only 23% preferred to increase the whether express lanes would work safely without delays. gas tax to build new lanes and open them to everyone. Support However, most said they personally would use the express for tolls was the same in the metro area as it was statewide. The lanes if a beneficial time savings was realized. poll was taken the month that the Minnesota DOT was prepar- ing to invite private companies to present plans to finance and Method: Survey. Universe: Focus group participants and build new lanes in the metro area and recoup their investment other Miami area residents and visitors. Sample size: N = by charging tolls. Poll respondents indicated that they would 1,161. Margin of error: N/A. Sample type: Intercept. support tolls because users would pay. The article quoted res- idents as saying, "you don't have to use the toll road; but if you In September 2001, a stated preference survey was adminis- want to get out of congestion and use the toll roads, that's tered to provide estimates of the population's values of time entirely up to you." "We've got enough taxes." "I like tolls and the overall response to the value pricing concepts (50). In because I wouldn't use them and I wouldn't pay for it." Those response to the statement, "tolls should be charged on the who favored a gas tax increase saw it as a fairer way to pay new I-4 express lanes to ensure that they are not congested," for roads. "I think transportation is for everyone. To be fair respondents were almost evenly divided between agreeing about it, it's going to cost everybody. A toll road is very selec- (40%) and disagreeing (43%). More than half (54%) agreed tive [and] for the affluent." The poll indicated that those that "cars with two or more occupants should pay reduced tolls who supported toll lanes included individuals of all ages and on the new I-4 express lanes." Almost one-third (31%) dis- incomes, and nearly equal numbers of men and women. But agreed. Only 13% agreed and 72% percent disagreed with the support was more widespread among individuals from 18 to statement, "tolls should be higher whenever there is conges- 24 years old (78%) and those making less than $30,000 a year tion on toll roads and the new I-4 lanes." Respondents also (76%). A larger percentage of registered Republicans than the tended to disagree with the statement, "tolls should be higher DemocraticFarmerLabor party supported the tolled lanes. during peak periods and reduced during off-peak periods." Sixty-two percent disagreed with the statement and 25% 39. MiamiDade County, Florida (2005) agreed. Less than half (44%) agreed that "tolls should be charged to help pay for highway construction." Thirty-eight Method: Focus groups. Number: Nine groups, each with percent disagreed. approximately 10 individuals. Participants: Residents from a broad area surrounding the proposed project and users of the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike or SR 836; En- 36. Twin Cities, Minnesota (2002) glish, Spanish, Creole. Method: Survey. Universe: Twin Cities' citizens. Sample size: In February, focus groups were conducted by Florida's Turn- N = 800. Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: Not pike Enterprise to determine how area travelers felt about reported. the current travel conditions in the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike and SR 836 corridors and about potential In January, a survey of residents found that 57% supported traffic-improvement alternatives, such as managed lanes (53). "having the option of paying a fee to use an uncongested free- A short version of a managed lanes video was shown to respon- way when in a hurry," compared with 51% in the same survey dents. Most participants seemed to understand that the project that supported a gas tax increase (51). would involve construction of new lanes in the center of exist- ing facilities. However, few fully understood the managed 37. Twin Cities, Minnesota (2003) lane concept. They did not recognize that the lanes would be managed to ensure close to free flow conditions and most did Method: Survey. Universe: Adults. Sample size: N = 1,000. not understand how prices might vary to achieve that objec- Margin of error: Not reported. Sample type: Not reported. tive. Once participants came to understand the concept, most believed it addressed both some of their personal needs as In January, a survey of adults by the Star Tribune revealed that well as traffic issues in the study corridors. Respondents were 59% of those surveyed suggested increasing user fees as a asked how their use of the managed lanes would change at means to manage the budget shortfall (51). four different price points: $1, $2, $3, and $5 per trip above