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APPENDIX F Interview Summaries Related to Communication and Engagement New York City: Variable Parking Charges In New York, through the Park Smart program, the New York City Department of Transporta- tion (NYCDOT) aims to increase parking space availability, reduce pedestrian and vehicle acci- dents associated with double parking, and reduce pollution and congestion through new peak and off-peak meter rates. A 6-month trial of Park Smart began in 2008 in Greenwich Village. There- after, 71 Muni Meters in the West Village were permanently programmed to the Park Smart rate structure. The rates are $3.75 per hour from 12:00 pm through 4:00 pm, $2.50 per hour for all other hours. In 2009, a second 6-month pilot began in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Meter rates are $1.50 per hour from 12:00 pm through 4:00 pm and $0.75 per hour at all other times that meters are in effect. All other regulations remain the same. Table 11 summarizes the interview findings. City of San Francisco: Areawide Pricing Proposal and Variable Parking Pricing In San Francisco, planners at the San Francisco County Transportation Authority are studying areawide road pricing involving a $3 fee to enter, leave, or pass through certain parts of the city during peak hours, generating revenues in support of transit, cycling, and possibly more regional transit parking. Additionally, a proposal for pricing Doyle Drive leading to the Golden Gate Bridge was studied but rejected. At this writing, variable pricing of on- and off-street parking in certain downtown areas termed SFPark is planned for implementation in the summer of 2010. It will vary pricing for parking by demand and encourage drivers to park in underused areas and garages. It also will provide real-time information to parkers on availability. The planned test is at 6,000 metered spaces and 12,250 spaces in city-owned parking garages. Table 12 summarizes the interview findings. San Francisco Bay Area: Regional High-Occupancy Toll Lane Network In the San Francisco Bay Area region, several road pricing projects are planned and nearing implementation. High-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes are authorized by state law in 4 corridors: 580 Tri Valley, 680 Sunol, 85 & 101 in Santa Clara. Other potential HOT lanes are receiving attention, e.g., I-80 in Solano County. Bay Bridge peak pricing was recently adopted by the Bridge Tolling Authority. In light of growing development and acceptance of HOT lanes, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) recently adopted a network of HOT lanes in its regional plan to manage traffic and bring on line new priced capacity 2030 years faster than traditional state and local tax funding would allow. Table 13 summarizes the interview findings. 117
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118 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Table 11. New York City parking pricing--communication and engagement. Agency and NYCDOT Office of Planning and Sustainability: Park Smart On-Street Pricing Project Program Content Framing of pricing: Frame peak pricing of parking as Way to reduce cruising and associated traffic, improve safety, reduce violations, and reduce cost of violations to delivery trucks passed through to businesses and customers; not as way to drive commuters to off-street parking as there are few commuters on-street, surveys find Voluntary program where neighborhoods can opt in or stay out of parking pricing; also frame as pilot with 6-month evaluation followed by possibility of termination after that Audience targeting: Used Business and neighborhood association allies ("advanced troops") used to "drum up interest" among various affected parties in the area Several one-to-one meetings with community boards and businesses districts Environmental/funding issues: One listed goal in the Sustainable Streets plan is reduced pollution, and is fitting with many efforts to reduce "miles driven" in DOT strategic plan, Sustainable Streets An advantage to parking pricing program is it did not require the same level of environmental scrutiny as compared to congestion pricing studied for NY, so no need to communicate NEPA requirements and processes Equity: Fairness across businesses more important than income equity "Sidewalk surveys" important to demonstrate how and when shoppers arrive, to counter concern about inequitable adverse impacts on some retail businesses and those highly dependent on timely deliveries Context Respondent's view of government image: Bolstered by City council and planners pitched as facilitators of a voluntary program, not as those imposing a program decided upon outside the community; "big bad DOT" image countered by fashioning programs for each area according to preferences Fostered responsiveness and "transparency" by holding transportation "seminars" for all 59 city community boards Listed specific transportation and parking project accomplishments on agency website and in Sustainable Streets, 2009 Progress Report Reference to programs elsewhere: No reference to programs elsewhere in communications, though planners have been watching and talking to San Francisco program for latest developments Attention to stakeholder views: Special attention to delivery business stakeholders to ensure that the program does not affect their delivery, and retailers to ensure that customer traffic would not be affected Also addressed residential stakeholders' concerns by monitoring spillover from commercial corridor into residential streets Vehicles Content: Park Smart website lists range of goals from increasing parking availability to improved safety, reduced cruising congestion, and less associated pollution Also lists trial sites and prices and highlights "merchant involvement" and support via sale of parking cards and displaying Park Smart logo 311 info website also lists similar information; "user feedback" encouraged via public forums and websites Sustainable Streets offers a Q and A section on parking programs, rates, use instructions, operation hours, etc.
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Interview Summaries Related to Communication and Engagement 119 Table 12. San Francisco areawide and parking pricing--communication and engagement. Agency and San Francisco County Transportation Authority: Mobility, Access and Pricing Project Study (MAPS) and SFPark Content Framing of pricing: Doyle Drive pricing plan framed as congestion relief and financing for major improvements MAPS framed as congestion relief, finance for transportation improvements including BRT, support of "economic vitality" and environmental benefit SFPark framed as improving parking availability, reducing cruising, pricing changing with demand Audience targeting: Doyle Drive showed importance of targeting Marin County decision makers who objected to and halted pricing plan as unfair to Marin County commuters (see "Equity") MAPS and SFPark show importance of targeting business community; e.g., a special economic impact study of MAPS aimed at business concerns is underway Environmental/funding issues: MAPS references climate change, potential alternative finance to potentially "bankrupt" federal Trust Fund SFPark emphasizes revenues to support transit Equity: Handle equity concerns by Potential discounts to special needs groups is under consideration for MAPS Dropping Doyle Drive pricing plan because of strong objection of an influential Marin county supervisor believing county commuters would bear large bulk of pricing charges; supervisor believed downtown areawide pricing was not objectionable because commuters from all counties would pay Context Respondent's view of government image: Image of government as slow to deliver on projects is hard to counter even with plans for transit expansion in concert with pricing Reference to programs elsewhere: Pricing in London and Singapore referenced in study and outreach materials, but downtown businesses see London as very "different" SFPark references Manhattan parking pricing program as a success Attention to stakeholder views: Single Task Force for Doyle Drive less beneficial than several working groups (technical, business, policy, citizen, and agencies), so issues and expertise match up important not to be seen as "talking down" to people or confusing them, a risk of the Task Force model Vehicles Content: Website, meeting materials, newsletters, press releases--all were employed Language important to conveying content, especially avoiding jargon and off- putting terms such as "marginal cost" pricing and even "congestion pricing"
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120 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Table 13. San Francisco Bay Area HOT lanes--communication and engagement. Agency and Project San Francisco Bay Area MTC: Regional HOT Network Content Framing of pricing: Framed as expediting development of HOV network over and above what regular funding would allow, with HOT element as key to financing system and returning revenue to the same corridors where it is generated Audience targeting: Key actors included CMA directors, BATA (Bay Area Toll Authority--toll authority for bridge tolls), Caltrans, and CHP, all part of HOT Executive Committee concerned with finance, operations, and enforcement No specific targeting to environmental or auto interests [they do have input via standing Planning Committee and SPUR (SF Planning and Urban Research-- an SF group concerned with HOT air quality impacts)], but will be targeted more as individual corridor studies start Environmental/funding issues: CO2 emissions an explicit element, as well as NOX, all touted as improved over regular HOV network "Return to source" finance important for CMA, city, county acceptance (legislation now specifies this)--more relevant where emerging HOT lanes are coming on line, versus general pot for region Equity: Some concern about HOT benefiting the rich, especially in 680 planning so far, but directing new revenue to transit blunts the issue Analysis by professor at SJ State was referenced as finding that no one is "forced" to pay--it is "all about choice" Context Respondent's view of government image: MTC and CMA image not an obstacle, with planning process generally seen as fair Reference to programs elsewhere: Helpful to reference HOT programs elsewhere, and helpful that some Commission decision makers have had tours of S. California programs Makes concept less foreign; website references FHWA VPPP and Reason Foundation paper on HOT networks Attention to stakeholder views: HOT Executive Committee views (see framing above) vital to acceptance in regional plan, with some operational issues still to be resolved with Caltrans (safety, weaving) Vehicles Content: Plan itself stresses "collaborative effort," quotes from MTC Commission chair and Alameda County Supervisor, indicating "worked closely over many months with thousands of ..." agencies, business groups, ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments; also points to benefits for economy (via congestion management), health and safety, equitable mobility options; pitches HOT as "expansion" of HOV concept, not a negation of it; promises "sooner funding" for "express lanes" and transit Plan pitches biggest revenue share is for transit, less for highways; HOT "principles" indicate more "throughput" and reduced "delays," benefits "commensurate" with revenues collected in specific corridor, use of "existing" highway right-of-way, design tailoring to each corridor, but "consistent" overall geometrics and signage FAQ explains HOT concept, rationale, and timeline; emphasizes "tried and true" concept, operations, cost, revenue use, attraction to HOV and transit; says "Lexus lane" is flawed criticism; and gives links to other HOT lanes in the United States
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Interview Summaries Related to Communication and Engagement 121 Portland, Oregon: Mileage-Fee Test Program Portland, Oregon, assessed the feasibility of replacing the state gas tax with mileage fees in order to fund transportation and improve traffic in congested areas at peak travel times through variable distance-based pricing. The Oregon Department of Transportation operated a 1-year test of the mileage fee in the Portland area in March 2006 with the use of volunteers. The pilot program charged a per-mile fee at participating gas station pumps in lieu of paying the state gas tax. The charge was $0.012permile,discountedto$0.0043 during non-peak hours in certain zones and adjusted upwards to $0.10 for peak travel in congested zones and times. Table 14 summarizes the interview findings. Table 14. Portland, Oregon, Road User Fee Pilot Program--communication and engagement. Agency and Project Oregon Department of Transportation: Mileage-Fee Program Content Framing of pricing: VMT better than gas tax with decline in revenues for future finance of highway infrastructure and operations; can be tuned to relieve congestion and to address greenhouse gas reduction strategies Application to plug-in electric vehicles or voluntary pilot as starters, and perhaps voluntary switch over from gas tax to VMT fee for the future Privacy concerns addressed by offering motorists choice of their mileage counting mechanism with various privacy protection options, but not wise to indicate "yes, people should be concerned" about privacy, as was done; some effort required to explain how much people now pay for gas tax Audience targeting: Twelve-member task force involved legislators, localities, agency interests and academics; auto makers not involved or electric vehicle manufactures and interests (a mistake in hindsight, they say), but AAA involved; also attempted to reach out to petroleum companies but they resisted "controversial" concept Public targeted via 3 public hearings to begin pilot, continuously involved via website and community meetings as go for "permanent pilot;" since "public" still not "on board" (key legislators are supportive, including important Senator as champion); in hindsight perhaps should have used focus groups to develop most effective messages rather than just instructional materials for pilot Should have been less in "reactive" and "trial and error" mode Also should have started with more fixed variables in concept--emphasis on "flexibility" scared some members of the public due to uncertainty about what future pricing would bring Media not targeted at first, only after their negative response; they eventually "came around" but no "media plan" to target them was a mistake Environmental/funding issues: Environmental groups wanted variations in pricing more attuned to emissions, although this viewpoint was not specified or accommodated in the program Equity: Urban versus rural important as equity issue since rural travelers generate more VMT; it is also difficult for rural public to estimate whether better off under gas tax or VMT fees; try to counter by making fee system simple Double paying another perceived fairness issue, as public perceives gas tax and mileage-fee system in combination--voluntary switch over may counter this concern Context Respondent's view of government image: General suspicion of government always an issue--government seen as inefficient and money grabbing DOT image is "pretty good" in terms of getting things done, maybe in top 10 nationwide, so not a big point of contention (continued on next page)
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122 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Table 14. (Continued). Agency and Project Oregon Department of Transportation: Mileage-Fee Program Reference to programs elsewhere: No references indicated Attention to stakeholder views: Task force designed to pitch concept to key decision makers and stakeholders, and at the outset tailored program design via focus group for designing instructional materials for pilot Changed from central to fuel station billing to reduce public (driver) concern for double billing, and changed from transmitting coordinates to counting only mileage via on-vehicle devices to address privacy issue Should have heeded public concern for more specific pricing plan as public dislikes uncertainty Vehicles Content: Relied quite heavily initially on individual explanations of rationales via e-mails in response to comments and criticisms Used newsletters and press communications stressing themes of sustainable support for transportation, flexibility by location and congestion Used website for FAQ, radio, TV and print media (national and local) ODOT communications people did not want involvement during concept development stage but assisted enthusiastically once pilot began Puget Sound Region: HOT Lanes, Variable Bridge Tolls, and Pricing in Regional Plan In the Puget Sound area, the SR-167 HOT lane project is operating and is slated for extension and possible merging with a planned I-405 HOT lane. Variable pricing of a bridge replacement is planned on SR-520 to fund the bridge reconstruction. Other candidates for pricing projects include the SR 509 extension and Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement. Road pricing options appear in the long-range plan but will require state legislation that has not yet been passed. Table 15 summarizes the interview findings. City of Los Angeles: HOT Lanes and Parking Pricing Program In Los Angeles, LACMTA and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are plan- ning for the conversion of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on the I-10 and I-110 corridors. (Conversion of the I-210 corridor is subject to funding avail- ability and requires state legislation). The pilot pricing program is to be combined with improved transit service and an intelligent parking management system in downtown Los Angeles with vari- able pricing based on parking demand. Table 16 summarizes the interview findings. Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul: I-394, I-35W, and Future HOT Lane Projects In the Twin Cities area, the I-394 express lanes started in May 2005 via conversion of an exist- ing HOV lane from Highway 101 to I-94 in the Minneapolis area. The express lanes are dynami- cally priced and remain free to buses, HOVs, and motorcyclists during peak hours. They also remain free to all users during off-peak periods (and in off peak direction during peak hours). In September 2009, the I-35W express lane opened, with 2+ carpools free and dynamic pricing dur- ing peak periods. A portion of the 16-mile long facility uses a converted shoulder lane available at most congested times. Potential express lanes are being investigated on other corridors. Table 17 summarizes the interview findings.
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Interview Summaries Related to Communication and Engagement 123 Table 15. Puget Sound Region HOT lanes--communication and engagement. Agency and Puget Sound Regional Council, Seattle: Regional Transportation Plan and Project Various Projects Content Framing of pricing: Unifying theme behind implementation of SR-167, SR-520 current plan and recent authorization by WA State Commission for 7 potential toll corridors is the need for revenues for development and traffic management--"Tolls are considered due to intractable funding gap for a must-do project" (from webinar slide) Moving Washington (state 10-year plan) stresses revenues for "strategic capacity" and traffic management Also pivoted off of past experience and success of Tacoma Narrows and SR- 167 HOT; PSRC RTP on pricing (see Transportation 2040) includes broad environmental, prosperity, mobility, and quality-of-life goals Audience targeting: RTP scoping process goes to public at large and interest groups Key targets are Transportation Policy Board, Pricing Task Force, and several working groups Doing targeted meetings with special needs, low-income, and minority groups SR-520 planning involves city councils, businesses, public at large, and stakeholder groups Environmental/funding issues: RTP discussion Emphasizes vehicle emissions reduction, open space retainment, less runoff from impervious surfaces, "quality of life" benefits including reduced accidents Notes statewide GHG reduction goals (1990 levels by 2020) as "legislative direction" References lack of sustainable funding under current gas tax system, indicating that no tolling means "traditional" sources will need rate adjustment, indexing, more reliance on general fund, taxes on sales Indicates federal revenues in 2009 will be inadequate to meet SAFETEA-LU "spending guarantees" Big unresolved finance issue now is whether to dedicate toll revenue to toll facilities or broader uses Regional plan discussion also indicates must-have "financially constrained" component, with balanced costs and revenues, supportive of pricing Equity: RTP discussion framed and discussed around Income differences How toll revenues may link with fairness issue of "paying twice" if supporting transit via tolls and sales tax (may roll back or "rebase" if toll revenues grow) Context Respondent's view of government image: No particular negative image presently for PSRC in plan development; agency generally respected Effort to get lots of public and decision-maker input which may keep image as "responsive" Used "model peer review" group for SR-520 work to bolster credibility of planning model Reference to programs elsewhere: Tacoma Narrows referenced in toll discussions, including SR-520 FAQ documents, especially focusing on operations with "non-stop" toll collection Emphasized that "experiences in other cities in the U.S. and around the world have shown that these fees can help reduce congestion" Also referenced SR-167 as "pay for quicker trip" to counter image of tolls as necessitating toll booths (continued on next page)
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124 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Table 15. (Continued). Agency and Puget Sound Regional Council, Seattle: Regional Transportation Plan and Project Various Projects Attention to stakeholder views: Regular interaction with key stakeholder decision-maker groups, including WA State Commission for overall tolling in state, Transportation Policy Board, Pricing Task Force at regional level, and specific groups associated with project planning, for example SR-520 SR-520 project committee (MPO head, secretary of transportation, chair of transportation commission) received technical and outreach results (from city mayors, city councils, chambers, public meetings) to help fashion acceptable project (see vehicles used, below) Vehicles Content: Regional plan references "reliability," time savings and emissions control; also pitches gas tax as "toll"-like road pricing in town halls, i.e., another user fee drivers may not calculate on per mile basis SR-520 public information stresses "variable tolls can help relieve congestion" giving people "incentive to change travel times, reduce optional trips, take an alternate route, or choose transit as an alternative to driving alone," also emphasizes transit expansion and electronic signs for real-time traffic information SR-520 examples of vehicles for soliciting wide range of input include meetings with cities, town halls, open houses, decision-maker and press interactions SR-520 information presented "to more than 40 elected officials, jurisdictions, and stakeholder groups during the spring and summer of 2008 ... these included meetings with community and civic groups such as the Bellevue Downtown Association and Transportation Choices Coalition, along with many local city councils and elected representatives" SR-520 also has special project website that summarizes media and public reactions in a report (input from 2,770 people, many from letter-writing campaigns sponsored by Sierra Club and Mercer island residents) Table 16. Los Angeles metropolitan area HOT lanes--communication and engagement. Agency and Los Angeles Metro: I-10, I-110, I-210 HOT Lanes and Downtown Parking Pricing Project Plan Content Framing of pricing: It all started as a grant application. Increase capacity through proven concept of HOTs as opposed to more controversial areawide pricing, with encouragement for more transit use, while staying within limits and directions of state enabling legislation governing HOTs Downtown parking pricing plan framed as building toward a comprehensive approach to congestion reduction and providing connectivity to the E-W I-10 corridor and the N-S I-110 corridor. Pricing presented as adding choice, as opposed to coercion Audience targeting: Involved major facilities along the corridors (e.g., Dodger Stadium, music center, medical facilities, LA Trade Tech educational facility) and grassroots groups in corridors ("corridor advisory groups") and media Did not have "different messages for different groups" Tried to make HOT real and tangible by showing how it works for different commuter groups. LACMTA project management envisioned the need for the use of visual aids to explain a difficult concept in a very simple way. LACMTA project management worked with the Communications Department to develop a DVD that was presented at meetings and distributed. The HOT lanes project also resulted in improved communications and coordination internally among LACMTA's different departments. Outreach plan says "identify target audiences (commuters, transit providers, residents, businesses, employers, employees, labor, environmental, policy leaders, government agencies, etc.) and develop corollary key messages"
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Interview Summaries Related to Communication and Engagement 125 Table 16. (Continued). Agency and Los Angeles Metro: I-10, I-110, I-210 HOT Lanes and Downtown Parking Pricing Project Plan Environmental/funding issues: Political and public acceptability improved by ensuring return of revenues to the corridor for improvements and transit support, consistent with state and federal legislation. Support was also gained because existing carpool users would not be charged tolls if they continued to meet the minimum passenger occupancy requirements. Thus, the project was presented as improving the travel choices available to them, as well as to solo drivers Equity: "Double taxation" is fairness issue among public Legislators initially concerned about environmental justice, but parallel study conducted by LACMTA and project experience has amassed to "debunk" the idea that road pricing is unfair to lower-income people Plans give strong attention to "multi-modal" aspect to advantage lower-income groups Context Respondent's view of government image: People do distrust government; tried to counter by being "forthright" and responsive in all matters Reference to programs elsewhere: Early federal-supported symposium showcasing successful projects in Stockholm, Seattle, Texas, etc. (Gunnar Söderholm from Stockholm particularly effective for local stakeholders to hear) Metro website FAQ references projects elsewhere, including live chat with LACMTA Board Chair Attention to stakeholder views: Attentive to stakeholder views and positions in application to Feds, mustered necessary support locally and at state level (needed legislative support for HOTs in early 2008), including AAA which held neutral position Fashioned proposed state legislation in simple, short terms and referenced existing legislation [AB1467, 2006 allowed implementation of 2 HOT lane projects in S. Cal, with approval of California Transportation Commission (CTC)] so RP was cast as falling within current law and policy directions Attentive to CTC's task charged by state legislature and LACMTA project management staff's interpretation of state legislation that was accepted by CTC staff, all these helped merging four HOT corridors into one HOT project for federal approval, with support and encouragement of federal VP actors Worked with regional planning agency to amend 2001 plan to include I-10 and I- 110 projects, and I-210 if funding became available, though there was little challenge or concern by regional planning agency actors Outreach by LACMTA staff to several Council of Government (COG) agencies, including the South Bay COG and the San Gabriel Valley COG, which lobbied elected officials and public attendees at meetings Vehicles Content: Stressed congestion as high if not highest public quality-of-life concern in LA, choice not coercion in HOT concept, gas tax as declining revenue source for supporting even highway operations. Message provided was that project's objective was congestion relief, not revenue generation. Stressed RP was not a "double tax" issue as public was getting something new and more than before, including support for more transit Vehicles include "Express Lane Experience" materials with different "profiles" for different commuters via animated PowerPoint presentations Did media briefings to inform and persuade media of merit of the project, which was successful judging by positive editorials Used press releases Website has FAQ, "discovery workshop" with links to projects elsewhere, and live chat allowing direct communication on project topics
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126 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Table 17. MinneapolisSt. Paul HOT lanes--communication and engagement. Agency and Project Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota: I-394 and I-35W HOT Lanes Content Framing of pricing: HOT lanes framed overall as getting better use from underutilized HOV lanes while preserving and enhancing transit use on the HOT facilities Emphasized as "congestion free choice" with no one worse off, and a fixable or reversible project if conditions worsened in unexpected ways De-emphasized revenue generation and emphasized congestion management and improved travel options Did not explore pricing of existing lanes for future, but now exploring the use of shoulders (e.g., I-94); areawide not proffered as downtown congestion is not severe Audience targeting: Marketing focused on individual components with different interest groups, e.g., Metro Transit conveyed the transit benefits in workshops for transit riders and stressed reliability and free flow for drivers on I-35W Tailored to purpose, e.g., certain communications just tell people that the I-35W project is opening and remind people to buy a transponder, others promote the telecommute initiative or transit benefits Environmental/funding issues: Environmental issues tended to center on noise and possible spillover around the proposed corridor, handled by monitoring and evaluation Revenues tied to operating costs and if there are excess revenues, law requires 50% go to transit, 50% to other transportation improvements (current revenues do not render surplus) "Green" aspects of the project now being evaluated Equity: Some concern that transit and HOV users may lose out in HOT lane, so project managers showed transit impacts elsewhere and shaped plan to support transit and HOV Other possible losers were workers on fixed schedules unable to modify time of travel very much, and this concern was met in I-35W planning by emphasizing telework as an option Income equity has not been paramount issue, but reference to I-15 used to show that all income groups use HOTs Context Respondent's view of government image: "Sometimes" better to have University of Minnesota present to project ideas at the outset versus DOT, since sometimes "there is suspicion of government" and "complex systems" University of Minnesota is considered neutral--adds credibility and objective tone Reference to programs elsewhere: Community Task Force (see below) met monthly and visited California's SR-91 and I-15 projects for information and application to MN; data from both often referenced Attention to stakeholder views: Under "grasstops" approach, strategy was to get decision-maker support first; Community Task Force operated over 2004 and 2005 with representatives from 6 city councils, citizen representatives, AAA, trucking association, transit- oriented groups, and state legislators Task Force targeted by Humphrey Institute (Univ. of Minnesota) and DOT to receive continuous information on HOT concept, all leading to implementation of I-394 HOT
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Interview Summaries Related to Communication and Engagement 127 Table 17. (Continued). Agency and Project Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota: I-394 and I-35W HOT Lanes For newest HOT plan I-35W, local mayors were targeted and are now engaged; planner responsiveness to Task Force shown by initial proposal for $8 max and $0.50 min charge, but Task Force thought minimum value was too high and proposed $0.25, which was accepted as "politically palatable" even though it results in reduced revenues; media targeted to make sure they had "all information" Vehicles Content: "No question unanswered" approach in content of meetings and workshops important element Vehicles include University of Minnesota and MnDOT use of public roundtables on "Rethinking Transportation Finance" for key leaders Legislative seminars on transportation issues Hired consultant to help develop vehicles and content of presentation materials, feed media; also used publicity video Dallas Region: Various Tolling and Managed Lane Projects In the Dallas metropolitan region, there are several toll roads that will include variable pric- ing, following adopted regional policy. Currently, committed HOT lanes (termed "managed lanes") include I-30, I-635, I-35E, the North Tarrant Expressway, and the DallasFort Worth Connector. North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG; MPO for the Dallas region) and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) have planned several other priced expressways with variable pricing and traditional toll roads slated for the near or long term. The North Texas Tollway Authority is the toll provider and is constructing SH 121, SH 161, and the Southwest Parkway. Table 18 summarizes the interview findings. New York City: Areawide Pricing Proposal Areawide pricing was proposed in New York City in 2008. The plan proposed a daily charge of $8 for cars entering lower Manhattan south of 60th Street to improve travel times and relia- bility in the city. Trucks would pay $21. Autos traveling only within the priced zone would pay half the price. The charge would apply to all vehicles, except emergency vehicles, those with handicapped license plates, taxis, and for-hire vehicles (radio cars). Fees would be assessed through an existing EZ Pass transponder system used for collecting bridge tolls. For drivers with- out EZ Pass, the charge would be assessed through cameras mounted on traffic light poles, with payment options available through the Internet, telephone, and participating retail outlets. The revenues from the congestion charge were proposed to be used for transit improvements and investment in the city's subway system. This plan was not approved by the state assembly and was not initiated. Table 19 summarizes the interview findings. Washington D.C. Region, Maryland, and Virginia: High-Occupancy Toll Lanes Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is planning two new HOT lanes in each direction on the I-495 Capital Beltway from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road (14 miles) and introduction of HOV and new transit service on the Beltway
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128 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Table 18. DallasFort Worth area managed lanes--communication and engagement. NCTCOG, NTTA and TxDOT: SH 121 (in operation), SH 161, I-635, DFW Agency and Connector, and North Tarrant Expressway (planned), I-30, I-35E, Southwest Project Parkway Content Framing of pricing: Supporting MPO policy from 15 years ago provides key framework: region does not have sufficient gas tax to meet "capacity needs"; any freeway reconstruction will test for "express lane" feasibility; but existing free lanes will not be tolled Also pitched that there is plenty of capacity but not at all times of day, so pricing can shift and reduce peak demand and speeds can be "guaranteed" because of dynamic pricing, where applied to tolled managed facilities Framed in terms of how much we really "pay" for transportation and how old and inadequate infrastructure will be burden on "children and grandchildren," so if we won't tax selves via legislature or congress, we need to pay the right amount now to get at sustainability, especially if external costs of safety, congestion, air quality, climate change, and energy are accounted for Audience targeting: Forty elected officials at NCTCOG gave unanimous support for tolls; support is continually nurtured by "monthly communications" from staff on rationale and purposes of tolls to "keep in the fold" Generally used same messages across groups Tried to maintain support with locals in part by alluding to congress and state legislature as either not up to the job or diverting funds, compared to user fees where "we" more local powers can ensure that funds are spent on local roads and transit Environmental/funding issues: As non-attainment area, very important to tie road pricing to emissions inventories for mobile sources, whole concept of managed lanes would not have "its wings" if not tied to the ozone problem Relied on reality of diminished federal funding for roads in urban areas as central to tolling rationale; toll revenues also enable transit support not otherwise possible (see next); for PPP projects, revenues pay back operating costs and upfront construction costs Equity: Environmental justice analysis shows equity is not a problem in terms of accessibility to jobs, i.e., geographic/spatial equity for road pricing projects is acceptable Stressed toll revenues as enabling transit support, e.g., (121 project) a passenger rail project supported exclusively by tolls Rural versus urban equity is an issue, not so much because of tolls per se, but new toll roads cutting up large tracts of privately owned rural land (especially inter-city) Also some concern about private sector involvement in several projects (I-635, DFW Connector and N. Tarrant Expressway), so concern is profit motive and preference in private land acquisition and development Another effort is to show that value of time (e.g., getting to daycare pickup on time) is not a function of wage rate, so then blue versus white collar doesn't matter--"opportunity cost" of time does, and express lanes allow choice "when you are in a hurry"; compelling argument to say that all people will pay to not be late, sometimes Context Respondent's view of government image: TxDOT is perceived to have a somewhat negative image in rural but not urban areas, where residents seem to buy the idea of "no roads, slow roads or toll roads" in the face of growth and declining gas tax NCTCOG has extensive meeting and communication agenda shows that they are not "hiding anything and always out there taking the message," fostered also by inviting any meeting participants to subsequent meetings Believes image and acceptability trouble can be avoided by common trap of "preaching to friends and avoiding critics"
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Interview Summaries Related to Communication and Engagement 129 Table 18. (Continued). NCTCOG, NTTA and TxDOT: SH 121 (in operation), SH 161, I-635, DFW Agency and Connector, and North Tarrant Expressway (planned), I-30, I-35E, Southwest Project Parkway Reference to programs elsewhere: Some familiarity in the region with toll roads didn't require reference to programs elsewhere for operational explanations Attention to stakeholder views: Important to pay attention to all groups and at all times Need "constant communication" to keep support of all groups including neighborhoods, conservative tax people, libertarians, state legislators, local officials, chambers of commerce; have stayed course for "15 years" Key group to "keep" is the state legislators, to whom it was pitched that gas taxes are not sufficient to meet region's needs, so tolls are the only or forced option; doing "nothing" is unacceptable in the face of growth Many decision makers at MPO are anti-tax and generally conservative, but were "won over" by stressing not behavior change or social engineering, but sustaining a system of roads and transit for growth in a fiscally responsible way--given that the region is adding a "million people every seven years" Vehicles Content: Strong Internet presence was used as a vehicle, also held "40 public meetings a year" with presentations to city councils, editorial boards, talk shows, town hall meetings, one-to-one meetings with congressional and legislative delegations, speeches at events (250/year), use of newsletter Entirely open process so all can "give their 2 cents worth"; sent out 8,000 notices every time they did public meetings, so no complaints about lack of information about meetings Did public surveys including a panel over time on toll road attitudes Key actor (former chair of TxDOT) coined vital supporting phrase, "slow roads, no roads or toll roads" in support of PPP legislation Cleared misconceptions and clarified communications content on managed lanes about all lanes versus just express lanes being tolled Stressed new capacity with pricing (e.g., LBJ freeway adds capacity via frontage roads) and payment coming from managed lane's users (see framing for content emphasis above) Also used the message of inadequacy of gas tax, and ensuring that revenues go to specific improvements, preventing "children and grandchildren" from the burden Stressed "guarantee" of free flow on managed lanes; also tried to counter concerns about private sector involvement discussing the roles of risk taking and distribution of revenues and Tysons Corner. The HOT lanes will allow the Beltway to offer HOV-3 connections with I-95/395, I-66, and the Dulles Toll Road. When completed, buses, carpools, and vanpools with three or more persons, and motorcycles will travel for free; vehicles carrying one or two persons will pay a toll or use free lanes. Also planned are HOT lanes on I-395. The 56-mile project would add a third lane to the existing 28 miles of HOV lanes between Arlington and Dumfries and would include building two new HOV lanes for an additional 28 miles south to Spotsylvania County. Lastly, the Maryland Intercounty Connector (ICC) planned by the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will link existing and proposed development areas between the I-270/I-370 and I-95/US 1 corridors within central and eastern Montgomery County and north- western Prince George's County. It will be operated as a new toll facility by the Maryland Trans- portation Authority (MDTA). The connector will be Maryland's eighth toll facility. Table 20 summarizes the interview findings.
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130 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Table 19. New York City areawide pricing--communication and engagement. Agency and New York City Department of Transportation and NYC Mayor's Office: Proposed Project Areawide Pricing Plan Content Framing of pricing: Framed in terms of transportation needs in light of growing population, need for managing congestion and shifting more to transit, not air quality or climate change Emphasized that transit service would be increased before the start of charging or at the same time as revenue stream starts flowing Frame impact has been weakened by current economic recession where major capital funding for MTA looms larger, and congestion has diminished in case of traffic and transit ridership; therefore impetus for PlaNYC diminished Audience targeting: NYCDOT and Mayor's Office tailored communication for specific stakeholders Separate meetings were organized with transit and traffic communities, with general public, constant community meetings with community boards, small and large businesses, and outreach to environmental organizations and environmental justice constituencies There were different messages to different groups: o Drivers--Reduced travel time o Transit riders--Transit funding o Big business--Street efficiency o Small business--Ease of compliance, since most small businesses rely heavily on driving o Labor--Jobs created because of construction of new subway lines Environmental/funding issues: Environmental issues were not a big driver, although always referenced as one of three prime goals (congestion reduction, transit support, air quality improvement) Climate change is not an obvious plus for RP, e.g., if the problem was idling, the competing solution is encouraging hybrids ownership and transit fleet conversion, not clearly linked to RP RP revenues were proposed to fund a special Transit Capital Improvements account for transit enhancements Equity: The "thorniest groups" were the organizations advocating for outerborough commuters, who felt pricing was inequitable for drivers without a viable transit alternative to driving. Organizations representing lower-income communities supported pricing because revenues would go toward transit; low-income groups are heavily dependent on transit, do not typically drive into Manhattan, and some low-income neighborhoods need better transit access and options Another equity issue was directing revenues back to source, some not wanting to pay so that neighborhoods other than their own get more transit service Context Respondent's view of government image: There is some distrust among the public about MTA delivering on program promises; "didn't help" that shortly before the failed state assembly vote, the MTA rolled back promised service improvements because of funding shortfalls Reference to programs elsewhere: London areawide pricing example and quantitative results were referenced a great deal; especially used to show air quality improvements and neutral impacts on business London also showed the wisdom of adding more buses before road pricing took place to boost acceptability; problem with London was people believed it was a good model but then rumors of some bad experiences clouded the results PSRC plans and model analysis were also referenced Attention to stakeholder views: A large coalition of environmental advocacy organizations (including campaign for New York's Future) supported the project; large businesses were generally supportive
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Interview Summaries Related to Communication and Engagement 131 Table 19. (Continued). Agency and New York City Department of Transportation and NYC Mayor's Office: Proposed Project Areawide Pricing Plan Many "auto-oriented" residents of Queens and Brooklyn were opposed to the project and could not be convinced of the benefits Key actor (speaker of state assembly) did not come forward to support due to installation of cameras as privacy issue, potential traffic and pollution impacts on neighborhoods surrounding congestion zone, and congestion reduction only in Manhattan and not other neighborhoods The state eventually rejected the proposal due to insufficient convincing or compromises Vehicles Content: Used "every vehicle in the book" for outreach; used response content in answer to questions as they arose through Mayor's Office, e.g., on the point of who benefits, "the majority of New Yorkers don't own a car so the majority would benefit," "the average transit user makes $22,000/year and the average driver $34,000/year" Stressed pilot nature of program, "best way to predict whether it will work is to try it" in Plan2020; also mentioned that most would pay less than the "cost of commuting by bus" Stressed benefit not just in Manhattan but in other boroughs as well since much traffic bound for Manhattan passes through them Emphasized potential economy benefit, saying "Manhattan would be more productive" for businesses there; stressed transit improvements "prior to implementation of congestion pricing" A clear website table outlines "features" of the pilot; possible problem of parking spillover outside the zone addressed by "possible solutions including parking permits for residents" Table 20. Washington, D.C. metropolitan area HOT lanes--communication and engagement. Agency and VDOT, MD SHA: Maryland ICC and in Virginia, I-495 HOT Lanes and I-395/95 Project HOT Lanes (proposed) Content Framing of pricing: Framed in terms of "rapidly worsening congestion and funding shortfalls," beginning in mid 2000s; metropolitan transportation plan updates and long- range vision plans documenting "a system in crises" Underscored that D.C. region ranked high on congestion (TTI rank #2) and also pointed out significant number of commuters are from "out of state" so some appeal for outsiders paying their fair share HOT lanes were framed as allowing choice to pay (no forcing) and avoid congestion, producing some congestion relief on mixed traffic lanes, and making more congestion free lanes available to transit Priced new ICC lanes were presented as providing a fast by-pass shortcut between two heavily congested freeways; managed lanes promise of "largely self-financing" new highway capacity was part of the frame Audience targeting: Although three consultations with MD secretary of transportation garnered support for HOV conversion along US-50, the previous governor was swayed by opposition to "Lexus lanes" Still interacting with opponents of I-395/95 HOT lanes to be operated as a PPP For northern VA HOT lanes, VDOT and private sector partner "have done careful nurturing through well crafted outreach activities to generate and sustain the supporting constituency," and thus far the two projects received "close scrutiny" by the entire Transportation Planning Board and were adopted in the region's long-range plan (continued on next page)
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132 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Table 20. (Continued). Agency and VDOT, MD SHA: Maryland ICC and in Virginia, I-495 HOT Lanes and I-395/95 Project HOT Lanes (proposed) Audience targeting is ongoing and tied to objections about added capacity and growth inducements Environmental/funding issues: Maryland's Statewide Express Toll Lanes Network Initiative and Washington metropolitan region's brochures on "sustainability" and "green future" all make indirect references to "tolling" and "pricing" as options MD/ICC pitches pricing as reducing VMT by resulting in shorter trips and associated air quality benefits However, environmental community sees new HOTs as a surreptitious way of adding highway capacity Revenues planned to be returned to corridors that generate them Some uncertainty arising about I-395/95 HOT revenues falling below projections, possibly due to effect of overall economic and traffic downturn, so construction postponed until further analysis Equity: On income equity issue, referred to evidence based on surveys of user perceptions and actual travel patterns by different population segments from other RP projects like San Diego I-15 and Orange County SR-91 to dispel public concerns regarding "equity" Context Respondent's view of government image: Importantly for D.C. region, good travel and air quality modeling tools are respected by stakeholders and governing board Reference to programs elsewhere: Referenced I-15 and SR-91 on equity issue Attention to stakeholder views: New 2009 Revised Transportation Policy Plan resulted from policymaker workshops and debates on future of transportation and has pricing and managed lanes as important components Key stakeholder group to target and attend to views is the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) composed of the three DOTs and several local jurisdictions States come to the TPB for project proposal approval based on whether project meets federal, state, and other requirements (funding, AQ, CMP, etc.) and how the project fits in with shared regional goals and priorities Maryland DOT as one key actor involves other state agencies like the MD Toll Authority and relevant MPOs in planning and outreach In 2000s, FHWA VPPP grant funded workshop to inform key stakeholders and "opened the door" for further exploratory studies and discussions by VDOT, eventually leading to the PPP agreement for Beltway/I-495 HOT lane project Maryland ICC project has been supported by businesses (chambers of commerce, etc.), trucking interests, and a majority of the region's planners; it has been opposed by many, but not all, of the environmental community and corridor residents Vehicles Content: Three involved states conducted multiple public information meetings and public hearings Established a website and means of responding to individual queries, held stakeholder meetings TPB held public hearings and workshops, consulted with TPB Transit Advisory Committee, conducted citizens meetings during environmental review process, held marketing campaigns, disseminated information at retail kiosks, and engaged the press Each state and jurisdiction relied upon established community outreach and consultation strategies: community meetings, websites, newspaper ads, public hearings, focus groups and surveys