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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 17 (2) the acceptability of road pricing as related to engaging affected parties, stakeholders, and deci- sion makers, as well as outreach and communications in the development of projects. The inter- views covered a range of planning activities and communications and engagement practices. Interviews were supplemented by collecting plans, studies, communications materials, press releases, and other documents. The interview sites are listed below with pricing plans and pro- posals subject to the interviews noted in parentheses: New York (areawide pricing, new variable parking pricing) San Francisco metro area (areawide pricing, HOT lane networks) Minnesota (HOT lanes) Washington State (research on VMT fees, proposed reconstructed bridge pricing) Oregon (VMT fees and gas tax replacement, HOT lane) Los Angeles metro area (emerging HOT lanes and downtown parking pricing) Virginia (HOT lanes and HOT lane network plans) Washington, D.C., metro area (HOT lanes and HOT lane networks) Dallas (HOT lanes and HOT lane networks) Part 2 of this report contains the literature reviews and interview findings in a series of appen- dices. The literature review of planning documents and studies is contained in Appendix A. The literature review on acceptability, communication, and engagement is contained in Appendix B. The interview findings on planning issues are contained in Appendix E. The interview findings related to communication and engagement are in Appendix F. Appendix G includes a list of per- tinent studies and links to websites showing examples of communication and engagement resources for planners and outreach personnel. 2.1.1 Overview of Planning for Road Pricing As discussed in Section 1.4 that introduced the key planning, acceptability, and engagement con- siderations, road pricing programs to date have emerged mostly from planning around single proj- ects rather than from formal regional and state plans. Regions and states having little or no experience with road pricing should anticipate that road pricing may well first emerge following this same path. However, areas with one or more successful road pricing projects now are adopt- ing the initial pricing projects into the metropolitan regional transportation plans required by fed- eral law and guidance. Some regions are also adopting plans and supportive policies and principles to lay the groundwork for multiple future projects and networks. Consequently, the pointers pro- vided here emphasize planning and development for successful projects across all six road pricing categories. However, additional pointers are offered on integrating pricing into the planning process because such considerations are important as individual projects emerge and planning pro- ceeds. Section 2.2 provides more detailed guidance for treating road pricing in formal regional and state plans. 2.1.2 Planning Phases of Project Development Successful road pricing projects typically begin with strong interest among one or more key actors willing to initiate study, evaluation, and planning of one or more pricing concepts. Actors may include agency planners, officials, and possibly one or more decision makers. A strong and influential champion of pricing may or may not be present at this stage. One or more transporta- tion agencies may take the lead in initiating discussion, whether city, county, congestion manage- ment agency, tolling authority, regional planning agency, air quality district, or state department of transportation. The initial phase can be characterized as testing the waters, both analytically and with an eye toward feasibility and acceptability.

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18 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Planners at the incubation stage should not initiate broad outreach involving significant public and traveler surveys, public meetings, media announcements, and informational or interactive websites. More appropriate is an informal working committee of the relevant agency actors and one or more decision makers key to passage of the plan ("gatekeepers") who guide and review pre- liminary studies. Planners and analysts now should match a pricing concept to a severe and reso- nant problem or set of problems to ensure potential effectiveness and support for continued assessment. Also, planners should explore potential support for more detailed study, planning, and eventual outreach as most pricing projects require considerable time and resources to be brought to fruition. Presuming sufficient promise and interest in road pricing at this step, planners then enter a more formal and open process. At this step, planners should strongly consider setting up a broad work- ing group composed of not only multiple agency representatives, but also stakeholders and staff to decision makers important to the passage of the program. The group first should focus on a study concept or concepts selected for assessment. The study group should define details of the study products and timeline and an engagement and outreach process. Now, planners and the working group will focus on impact and operational details, equity impacts, costs and revenues, driving alternatives including free routes and other options for drivers, simple but effective pricing sched- ules, enforcement, pricing technology, privacy assurances, required policy authorization, and potential implementing and operating agencies. The engagement and communication process aims at a broad group of stakeholders with clear and interactive messaging, to gain a critical mass of consensus and compromise required for needed authorizations, whether a new toll agency pol- icy or enabling legislation and policy passed by city, county, or state decision makers. As the more formal planning and engagement process proceeds, no single process template will guarantee successful passage and implementation. As pointed out in Section 1.4, there are many unpredictable or hard to control occurrences likely in planning for road pricing. Important agency and decision-maker champions may arise but unexpectedly disengage in an election change or other turn of events. A change in the economy may focus important attention elsewhere or affect the acceptability of an option. The nature of the congestion-related problem may change with a change in gasoline prices, economic conditions, or unemployment. Thus, the job of the planners and study overseers is to ensure that all important study, planning, engagement, and communica- tion variables are tuned to the best prospects for success while remaining cognizant of the precar- ious nature of process outcomes. The following subsections offer pointers on planning, stakeholder engagement, and public communications in line with both the preliminary phase of planning, where the potential and fea- sibility of road pricing are tested, as well as the formal phase of detailed planning with in-depth evaluation and an extensive engagement process. The points explained below are not surefire steps to implementing pricing projects but include lessons to date, cautions on pitfalls, and actions with the best possible prospects for bringing forth effective and acceptable road pricing plans and projects. 2.1.2.1 Target and Frame Problems Strategically In both the preliminary and formal planning stages, it is important to focus discussion and effort on a problem or set of problems that are as pressing and compelling as possible. Road pricing often aims at the problem of congestion. As such, it is often called "congestion pricing." However, road pricing can address multiple problems, including congestion, pollution, underutilized or over- utilized HOV facilities, and lack of revenues for roads and other desired transportation improve- ments. Planners need to choose which problem or problems to underscore in planning and communications to match with greatest public concern. Acceptability is enhanced where the prob-

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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 19 lem is both clear and severe to affected parties. Planners need to show how pricing ties to those prob- lems and does so effectively compared to other less effective, ineffective, or infeasible alternatives. Again, congestion may or may not be the most resonant candidate problem in some areas. In some settings, it may be pollution or the need for revenues in a time of shrinking traditional rev- enue sources. Planners need to assess which problems are most pressing and their impact on affected parties, all of which will help fashion the kind of pricing proposed, how it is cast, and how its benefits are framed in communications and engagement. Examples from Interview Sites: In the Washington D.C. region, planners stressed widespread congestion concerns, national congestion rankings, framing of outsiders as culprits for part of the congestion problem, and funding constraints in their painting of the problem to be addressed and how pricing could address it. Plan and communication materials portrayed a "system in cri- sis," highlighting the twin problems of "rapidly worsening congestion and funding shortfalls." Planners also stressed independent evidence about the ranking of the region on a congestion index as "number two" in the nation with the reminder of a significant number of commuters from "out of state." The approach has resonated with decision makers and local motorists suf- ficiently to aid the acceptability of several road pricing programs. While planners also made indi- rect reference to "sustainability" and a "green future" associated with tolling and pricing as options, such reference may not resonate as favorably as intended. Some in the environmental community view HOT lane development as a surreptitious way of adding highway capacity and therefore contrary to a green future. The North Central Texas Council of Governments likewise emphasized funding issues and part of the problem as revolving around outside influences. Planners underscored inadequate roads and finance resources for improvements and expansion, and highlighted a congress and state legisla- ture either not able to raise funds or diverting transportation funds to other uses. In this light, locally controlled toll roads and managed priced lanes become a solution to the perceived problem of lost local control. The agency also has stressed that gas taxes simply have not kept up with high- way resource needs and that tolling and pricing are "the only" way forward since doing nothing is unacceptable. Thus, the problem addressed is not only an inadequate finance source but an unfix- able one. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in the San Francisco Bay Area gained acceptance of its HOT lane network in the regional plan in part by framing content around a press- ing problem with strong public recognition (congestion and inadequate transportation facilities), which also was a top priority of key member agency actors and interests. MTC stressed not just managing traffic or reducing congestion and pollution via pricing, but financing planned highway improvements with HOT components faster and more credibly than under current lacking finance resources. That combination of issues resonated sufficiently with a sufficient number of key agency and stakeholder actors for passage of the plan, in spite of some opposition from an influential com- munity group--the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR). Other goals around carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions were also highlighted, but were not so piv- otal and controversial with SPUR. Most pressing interactions around the plan centered on the highway development needs and finance, including revenue allocation back to where revenues originated. No doubt adoption of the plan was aided by some contextual elements of the proposal, for example, a neutral or somewhat positive MTC agency image and its referencing of experience of HOT lanes elsewhere ("tried and true" experience) showing income equity to be either not an issue or a manageable one. However, building upon a strong resonant problem for the traveling public and key stakeholders, then involving them in a special committee all the way appears to be the main combination behind successful adoption. Examples of policy and communication vehi- cles on these points are shown in Exhibits 4 and 5.

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20 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Exhibit 4. San Francisco MTC HOT network implementation principles and objectives. Development and implementation of a Bay Area Express/High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) Network has five primary objectives: More effectively manage the region's freeways in order to provide higher vehicle and passenger throughput and reduce delays for those traveling within each travel corridor; Provide an efficient, effective, consistent, and seamless system for users of the network; Provide benefits to travelers within each corridor commensurate with the revenues collected in that corridor, including expanded travel options and funding to support non-highway options that enhance effectiveness and throughput; Implement the Express/HOT Lane Network in the Bay Area ... using a rapid delivery approach that takes advantage of the existing highway right of way to deliver the network in an expedited time frame; and Toll revenue collected from the HOT network will be used to operate the HOT network; to maintain HOT system equipment and software; to provide transit services and improvements in the corridors; to finance and construct the HOT network; and to provide other corridor improvements. Source: MTC Resolution 3868, Attachment B, adopted July 2008. http://www.mtc.ca.gov/planning/hov/Res3868_Att_B-HOT_Network_Principles.pdf Exhibit 5. Excerpt from Frequently Asked Questions MTC website on need for express lanes and use of revenues. Express (HOT) Lanes and Carpool Lanes Frequently Asked Questions Why consider express lanes? The appeal of this concept is three-fold: It expands mobility options in congested urban areas by providing an opportunity for reliable travel times for express lane users; It generates a new source of revenue which can be used to pay for transportation improvements, including enhanced transit service; and It improves the efficiency of carpool facilities. Why the need for an express lane network in the Bay Area? There are several gaps in the region's current carpool lane system. Filling these gaps would create a seamless network of unobstructed lanes to provide a faster commute for travelers who use them. MTC's 25-year Regional Transportation Plan indicates that these gaps cannot be filled with traditional existing revenues. What is the express lane revenue used for? Express lane revenue can be used to help pay off bonds issued to finance construction, provide for maintenance, operations and enforcement of the lanes, and to fund new or enhanced transit service. Source: http://www.mtc.ca.gov/planning/hov/faq.htm

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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 21 2.1.2.2 Identify and Involve Relevant Decision Makers and Affected Parties; Understand Their Perceptions; and Fashion Program Options and Messages Accordingly The literature on acceptability of road pricing shows travelers, voters, residents, and the public at large may well perceive congestion problems and pricing options differently. Especially once planning moves from testing the waters to a formal process, it becomes vital to identify which par- ties are most important to engage, given congestion-related problems and the pricing options of potential interest. It is also important to assess the relationship and influence of the parties with respect to specific decision makers who must pass program proposals. Important actors include active and influential interest groups such as businesses, truckers, residents, and environmental organizations who have the ear of key decision makers with the power and responsibility to clear or reject proposals. If a standing group of the relevant parties already exists, planners can use it as the engagement group for the study. If such a group does not exist, a new task force, working group, or commission may be useful for engagement purposes. Depending on the depth and complexity of the anticipated analysis, the group might be best served by technical, policy, and outreach sub- committees. Cultivating champions at this stage is another way to enhance prospects for acceptable pricing proposals. Champions are influential policymakers, public officials, or stakeholders favoring a pricing concept, who are willing to take action in support of it. The literature and interview find- ings suggest that the presence or absence of champions can influence the course of road pricing proposals. The more influential a champion is in the decision-making process leading to the required policy approval, the more important their support and actions can be. Thus, the support of policymaker champions can be pivotal. While there are cases of road pricing programs arising without strong support from prominent policymakers and instead mostly from the actions of agency officials and active stakeholders, and examples of failed proposals with active decision makers and/or agency officials, the positive potential of champion support should not be ignored. In particular, planners should ensure that champions (or their close aides) are part of the plan- ning process, have an opportunity to shape proposals, and receive timely information on points of concern and interest. While assessing the perceptions of decision makers, stakeholders, and the general public about the nature and severity of congestion-related problems, planners should keep in mind that rele- vant parties may believe congestion is only one or even a lesser problem than other problems pric- ing can address. Planners should not ignore decision makers, especially their views on the best ways to allocate revenues, as their support or opposition often turns on this point. It is best to do inter- views on such issues as the formal process begins and before a specific proposal is fleshed out, and to do so before any open and publicized outreach campaign as early adverse reactions can slow or reverse progress toward acceptability. Only after planners gain a sense of perceptions about the problems to be addressed and account for stakeholder reactions should they begin fleshing out and analyzing more specific proposals. Proposals should combine pricing with other strategies including transit, traffic, and demand man- agement to create an effective package. Reactions should be assessed in an open manner, prompt- ing engagement on all likely issue areas suggested in the literature: Perceived nature and severity of congestion Probable effectiveness of pricing compared to non-pricing options Equity broadly defined and ways to mitigate potential fairness issues Revenue allocation and uses Transportation alternatives and improvements Broader issues such as the credibility of potential implementing agencies and the conduct of the planning and engagement process to come

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22 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Examples from Interview Sites: Development of a successful parking pricing program in New York City (NYC) demonstrates the important assessment and engagement methods, as well as sensitivity to areas of concern. New York City, as part of developing Park Smart pilot programs in specific neighborhoods, focused on areas with high demand for on-street parking and atten- dant traffic and parking violation problems. Planners held numerous meetings with commu- nity boards and business associations to take the pulse of the communities and ensure that the Park Smart goals and design fit the perceived problem. Planners used sidewalk surveys to measure the proportion of shoppers who arrived by car to reassure businesses that most of their customers would not be affected by parking pricing. The program was based on commu- nity opt-in so that neighborhoods were not forced to participate. Planners fostered trust between NYCDOT and community stakeholders by repeated meetings and collaboration on data collection and program design. Communication vehicles highlighted the accepted goals of increasing parking availability and reducing double parking, the opt-in nature of the pro- gram, merchant involvement, and DOT credibility in delivering on transportation. Exhibit 6 Exhibit 6. Description and goals of NYC Park Smart program. Source: NYCDOT Park Smart Program website: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html//motorist/parksmart.shtml

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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 23 shows an example of NYCDOT's communication content, highlighting the resonant goals of the Park Smart program and how the agency engages with community groups in implement- ing the pilot programs. 2.1.2.3 Develop Convincing Specific Plans, Plan in Depth, and Iterate Toward Acceptance As the formal plan process proceeds and presuming sufficient support exists for detailed analysis and planning of a road pricing concept, planners must understand and communicate the details of their work and iterate plan particulars toward acceptability. The research on public acceptability sug- gests that one obstacle to specific pricing proposals at this stage may be skepticism on the part of the public or decision makers about the effectiveness of pricing in addressing the problems of concern (e.g., reducing congestion or pollution) and the potential for generating net revenues supporting operations and/or facility improvements. This is the time for communications and presentations in which the planners clearly reference experience elsewhere and as well as their own and independent studies for the proposed pricing area in order to convincingly demonstrate effectiveness. Sometimes the root of suspicions rests in the tools of analysis. Actual experience with impacts from existing pricing projects may well be more convincing than model projections or results of costbenefit analysis. Nevertheless, there is growing experience that simulation models are useful for projecting impacts on specific highways and street layouts in study areas, and can provide potent information about impacts to stakeholders and the public. Also, where there is interest in possible private sector participation in project development and operations, bonding agencies will require use of specialized models. Thus, modeling should not be avoided but done with full acknowledgment of potential weaknesses, and results should be given not as exact points but esti- mate ranges. Where local planners lack experience with such models, they should be guided by outside expertise and supporting resources such as those available from the federal Value Pricing Program and other U.S. DOT programs. As analysis proceeds, it must go more in depth and stay responsive to the top priority issues, concerns, and preferences of stakeholders and decision makers. An initial detailed planning step is for planners to demonstrate how pricing affects traveler groups and eases congestion. Model- ing and analysis should use a wide array of performance measures in synchronization with the problems addressed. Indicators may include changes in delay, traffic volumes, levels of service, speeds for both autos and transit, probability of accidents, and emission impacts. Planning and analysis also should focus on: Revenue generation and revenue/cost results from existing programs Potential role of pricing in the face of declining revenues from traditional sources User pay equity considerations including comparison to gas and sales taxes Enabling policy and legal requirements (e.g., pricing restrictions on federally aided facilities) Institutional requirements For example, the literature suggests the importance of relying on existing policy authority and organizations to improve the prospects of acceptance and minimize the need to create whole new policies, authorities, and organizations. Equally important is attention to specific program design elements including those that the literature shows are key to acceptability, such as: Gearing revenue allocations and uses in line with stakeholder preferences, usually toward improvements of interest in the priced zone, though other options also may be preferred including potential tax reductions Providing not only enhanced alternatives to driving, but an acceptable free driving alternative Good enforcement strategies to ensure equitable access to priced facilities and avoid "free riders" Simple rather than complex toll schedules Handling possible traffic and parking diversion in sensitive areas Handling data and traveler information to maintain user privacy

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24 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Certain pricing concepts at this stage may require developing pilot programs as a first step. Areawide pricing and VMT-based fees are two concepts where U.S. experience is limited and analytical tools may be lacking in precision and credibility. An examination of international experience for these concepts is a useful step to estimating impacts and illustrating operations. Additionally, small-scale pilot programs offer opportunities to test effectiveness, operational details, and user reactions through the involvement of volunteers. Pilot programs can build the familiarity and acceptance required for later expansion of programs. Some pilot programs may be supported by the federal Value Pricing Program, which offers technical assistance and funds to support planning, operations, and evaluation. Examples from Interview Sites: Examples of accepted and adopted plans with transit and other travel options emphasized and communicated are numerous. The plan for HOT lanes in Los Angeles incorporates and underscores a strong "multimodal" approach (see Exhibit 7), in part to serve low-income groups, as do information websites for Minneapolis, the San Francisco Bay Area, and others where revenues go toward supporting project operations and transit. At the same time, numerous HOT lane projects in all these locations stress that the free driving option is always available. North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Dallas region, goes a bit further by stating in policy that no current free lanes will ever be tolled. Again, while transit expansion is a common and much touted element of pricing plans, eas- ily communicated and generally well received, it is no guarantee of success for a pricing pro- posal. For example, both the areawide pricing plans in New York City and San Francisco stressed transit expansion and devoted some pricing revenues to transit, but neither project has come to fruition. As stated at the outset of this section, a number of variables bear on the suc- cess of pricing proposals; any one of these variables--whether equity, image of planning or implementing agencies, planned use of revenues, privacy, or other issues enumerated in the acceptability literature--can be paramount in determining the success or failure of project pro- posals. Nevertheless, most successful pricing projects have improved transit as a central element in the overall program. Explanations of the workings of road pricing aimed at portraying its effectiveness and impacts are less common. One example of apparently effective communications is found in Texas. NCTCOG frames dynamic pricing as "guaranteeing" acceptable speeds. It also stresses that the traveler's value of time is a function of the opportunity cost of trips, as when one is hurrying to arrive at day care for a pickup where a late penalty might apply. The message attempts to counter the usual criticism that willingness to pay is a function of wage rate and that low-income people will suffer because of that. The workings and benefits of parking pricing probably are more eas- ily explained and accepted. SFpark provides an example of very straightforward and easily digested information (see Exhibit 8) on how new variable rates following the peaks and valleys of parking demand will make finding parking easier, improve movement of transit and emer- gency vehicles, and attract more shoppers. Exhibit 7. Multimodal approach of LA Metro ExpressLanes. Project Benefits Increased Transit Service and Expanded Vanpool Program Purchase 59 alternative fuel buses for increased feeder service and Silver Line service Provide an operating subsidy for the one-year demonstration period Promote vanpool program and create a minimum of 100 new vanpools that travel on the I-10 and I-110 Express Lanes Source: http://www.metro.net/projects_studies/expresslanes/images/10- 1683_ntc_ExpressLanes_condensed_web.pdf

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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 25 Exhibit 8. Excerpt from website of SFpark program highlighting project effects and benefits. Source: Website of SFpark program, http://www.sfpark.org 2.1.2.4 Address Fairness and Equity Issues Broadly Equity issues are important to address both in preliminary discussions of road pricing and as planning proceeds. Equity across income groups who are subject to pricing often leads equity discussions among analysts of road pricing. However, research shows that acceptability of pric- ing programs does not vary greatly across income groups and equity defined more broadly may deserve more attention. Fairness concerns can revolve around concerns about "paying twice" necessitating clear demarcations between improvements and services supported by traditional taxes versus those supported by new pricing revenues. Other fairness concerns to address in plan- ning and communications may center on possible evasion of pricing, the ease of participation in developing pricing plans (sometimes termed "procedural" fairness), and pricing effects per- ceived as a hardship on certain population segments. Finally, use equity (benefits in proportion to facility use) and spatial equity (benefits by location) are important, calling attention to pro- gram design issues related to providing transit as an alternative in undeserved locations, and set- ting upper limits on charges and the number of crossings priced in a given time period. Examples from Interview Sites: The importance of income and other equity issues is illustrated by the interview sites. MTC addressed income equity along the way to successful adoption of its HOT lane network with not only the common approach of emphasizing transit improvements, but also the work of an independent expert suggesting no one is "forced" to pay as the free alter- native always exists. Oregon DOT suggested a voluntary switch from the gas tax to mileage fee to counter perceptions that the mileage fee is unfair to rural versus urban drivers and the contentious issue of double payment. Planners with the SR-520 project in Seattle propose expanded transit, telework programs, and active traffic management to address potential inequities based on

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26 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Exhibit 9. Excerpt from LA Metro ExpressLanes fact sheet. Discounts for Low-Income Commuters (proposed) Residents of LA County with an annual income at or below $35,000 will qualify for a discount. A one-time $25 discount will be received when a new account is set up. It can then be applied towards the prepaid toll balance or transponder deposit. Monthly account non-user fee will be waived. Source: http://www.metro.net/projects_studies/expresslanes/images/10- 1683_ntc_ExpressLanes_condensed_web.pdf income, work schedules, and traffic diversion into certain communities but not others. NCTCOG in Dallas carried out a special study on environmental justice showing no detriment to job access across areas affected by successfully adopted projects slated for implementation. See Exhibits 9 and 10 for how fairness concerns were targeted in communication content for express lanes in Los Angeles. 2.1.2.5 Keep Planning Open and Responsive; Make Government a Problem-Solving Partner, not Culprit As planning moves from preliminary assessment to an open formal process, the conduct of the process itself may become an important acceptance issue. Numerous literature findings suggest that how planners, their governmental units, and communications are perceived can be as impor- tant to acceptance as the nature of their pricing proposal(s). Government itself may be perceived as a culprit for congestion problems, an issue which may be addressed by actions adjunct to pric- ing such as improving transit and traffic management. Suspicion of government motives in pric- ing for revenues underscores setting and communicating a clear-cut and committed revenue plan as important to acceptance. This is especially true when the implementing agency is not perceived to be competent, transparent, and attuned to impacts and potential improvements across all travel modes. It is worth cautioning that while presenting revenue options, planners also need to be Exhibit 10. Excerpt from LA Metro ExpressLanes FAQ. 12. We all paid for the HOV lanes with our gas taxes, and now you want us to pay again for the right to use them? Shouldn't freeways remain free? These are optional tolls, and the choice is yours. While it's true that the converted HOV lanes would become toll lanes, you only pay if you choose to use them and in most cases, they will continue to be toll-free for many commuters. Either way, all general purpose lanes will remain free. What's different under the ExpressLanes program is that commuters will have more options. For example, whereas HOV lanes are currently restricted to cars with two or more passengers, ExpressLanes will be open to solo drivers willing to pay a fee. And those drivers who choose to use the ExpressLanes provide a benefit to drivers who do not choose to pay a toll by creating more capacity in the other lanes. As tolling experiments in other cities have shown, this extra capacity produces speedier trips for non-toll paying drivers as well. 13. Aren't low-income drivers being punished by being priced out of certain lanes? No. The toll policy includes toll credits for low-income commuters. Carpools, vanpools, transit and motorcycles will not be charged a toll. The ExpressLanes project provides increased transit service and net toll revenues will be reinvested in transit and HOT lane improvements. The current proposal is to credit the accounts of qualifying LA County low-income households $25 for account set-up/establishment fees that can be applied to the transponder deposit or pre-paid toll balance. Source: http://www.metro.net/projects_studies/expresslanes/images/10- 1680_ntc_ExpressLanes_FAQ_web.pdf

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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 27 sensitive to the possibility that some decision makers, their constituents, and influential stake- holders will be suspicious of revenue plans if the motive appears to be growing government agencies. Also important may be matching funds from central governments and well-publicized agree- ments across levels of government demonstrating broad commitment. In terms of planning pro- cedures, resistance can arise where pricing proposals appear "sprung" on people, suggesting the importance of clear and continuous communication and solicitations for input. Meaningful and sincere attempts at involving affected parties and answering questions are important to accep- tance prospects, as well as clearly communicated program objectives, comparison of potential outcomes of road pricing to non-pricing options, supporting the results with credible analysis, and reference to successful projects elsewhere. Examples from Interview Sites: Evolution of pricing proposals in the interview sites shows the role of a responsive planning process and capable, trustworthy agency image. Modifications to the original congestion pricing plan for New York City helped build support for the revised plan after intensive public discussion and a series of well-attended public hearings. Even after these changes, however, much of the public was skeptical that the promised transit improvements would materi- alize. At the same time, the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) rolled back some promised service enhancements shortly before the failed state assembly vote. This action probably deepened skepticism that the MTA could deliver on service improvements if congestion pricing were adopted. NCTCOG in Texas illustrates the effort necessary to build and maintain a credible planning and execution image. The agency has engaged state legislators, neighborhoods, chambers of commerce, and local officials over 15 years to build and maintain consensus and credibility around imple- mented and planned tolling projects and priced managed lanes. As a result, the 40 elected officials at NCTCOG have given unanimous support for tolling and pricing policies. Still, they are informed by monthly communications from staff on pricing rationales and program progress. The agency has adopted a policy of never ignoring opposition at community or agency meetings. All parties including opponents at relevant meetings always are invited to subsequent meetings. Minnesota DOT (MnDOT) takes a similar tack by "leaving no question unanswered" in its outreach and engagement processes. The final example of open and credible outreach, planning, and analysis is the evaluation of tolling options and public outreach around the SR-520 bridge replacement project in Seattle. A 520 Tolling Implementation Committee was established by the state legislature in 2008 compris- ing senior officials from the state department of transportation, the state transportation com- mission, and the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC). The committee ran a year-long process of meetings with cities, counties, interest groups (over 40 meetings in 2008 alone) and main- tained a media website and a Q&A website (input from over 2,700 people). They also engaged a panel of independent experts as a "peer review" group to give credibility to PSRC's modeling process (see Exhibit 11). 2.1.2.6 Coordinate with State and Regional Agencies and Planning Processes As project planning proceeds, it is important to take into account the regional plan processes required by federal regulation and guidance. This is not to say successful projects have come about through the regional or state plan process. Typically, projects have begun outside such processes. However, especially for a project affecting a large area or corridor, involving regional and state planners is important for several reasons: Clearance of the project by the responsible regional and state agencies will be needed to receive potential federal funds supporting demonstration or implementation, and/or transit services expanded with the pricing program.

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28 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Exhibit 11. Independent peer review recommendations to the 520 Tolling Implementation Committee. Recommendations from Peer Review Conduct a more detailed review of results, including focus on target corridor Run the model under different assumptions, including: fixed trip table sensitivity analysis Improve model consistency, including: values of time operating costs in trip distribution Include strategic recommendations for future work stated preference survey corridor specific analysis State results in ranges to account for uncertainty Source: Washington State DOT website for the SR-520 project: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Partners/Build520/documents/PeerReview_NextSteps_081208.pdf Regional and state planners and agency officials can be important and knowledgeable allies on developing new or revised regional and state policy and gaining necessary approvals. Regional planners also provide a regional perspective and regional analysis on such important matters as geographic equity, revenue distribution, and why pricing is considered for one corridor or area and not another. Regional and state planners assess the balance of revenues and costs as part of fiscally con- strained metropolitan plans for significant projects. An important potential benefit of pricing projects for regional and state highway planners is how pricing may generate planned capacity sooner than traditional state and local funding sources allow. This effect is especially important in light of ongoing and projected shortfalls in revenues from such sources. Finally, regional planners attend to air quality conformity and environmental justice require- ments for significant projects. Section 2.2 addresses in detail how road pricing can fit into regional and state transportation planning processes as structured under federal law and guidance. The important point for plan- ners carrying out project plans is to involve regional and state planners and be aware of how the formal federal plan process can bear on project development, especially for anticipated large projects. 2.1.2.7 Use Respectful, Clear, Non-Jargon Messages in Engagement and Communication Vehicles; Tailor Messages to Audience Segments Throughout the entire planning process, communications should: Describe and underscore the nature of the problem(s) to be addressed Highlight key elements of proposed or implemented programs Be convincing about pricing effectiveness in addressing problems Convey experience with pricing to date to build familiarity Reiterate achievements of relevant agencies to boost credibility For effective communication, the form, content, and tone of communication vehicles around these purposes should be as respectful, pithy, clear, and free of economic, planning, or engineer- ing jargon as much as possible. Ensuring that the communication vehicles are available in mul- tiple languages represented in the region and to minority communities, English speaking and otherwise, also helps ensure that all potentially affected parties are reached and have the infor- mation they need to participate in the planning process.

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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 29 Examples from Interview Sites: While the areawide pricing plan in San Francisco has been put on hold, planners there have learned that jargon in road pricing discussions and communica- tions can be off putting. Planners believe terms such as "marginal cost" pricing and even "con- gestion pricing" connote an overly technical slant. In fact, "congestion pricing" seems to imply a double burden: first, congestion itself, then pricing added on top. San Francisco planners found that organizing several working groups as part of planning (technical, business, policy, citizen, and agencies) and matching language accordingly reduced the risk of offending audi- ence members. Other interview sites also have chosen not to use the term "congestion pricing." For example, Texas uses "managed lanes" and Minnesota uses "express lanes" or simply "MnPASS lanes" after the well-received and widely recognized transponder used on the express lanes (see Exhibit 12). The term "express lanes" is intended to convey a premium service enabling customers to receive faster and more reliable service for the price they are paying. The message especially targets users versus taxpayers or citizens at large. Texas provides another illustration of pithy, easily remembered, and catchy phrasing in its com- munications about the rationales for tolling and pricing. A phrase coined by the former Chair of the Texas DOT and adopted by planners and decision maker advocates is "no roads, slow roads, or toll roads" to underscore the need for pricing in the face of growth and declining gas taxes. Such digestible messages coupled with an open, continuous communications program referenced ear- lier for legislators and communities helps maintain a supportive constituency behind the ongoing program in Texas. 2.1.2.8 Learn from Glitches and Setbacks; Move on Because road pricing has its roots in economic analysis and perceptions, it is not unusual for analysts and planners developing pricing options to focus on the most effective, efficient, or opti- mal solutions, often centered on congestion. As the above checkpoints indicate, such an avenue may be a mistake as such options may not be the most acceptable, or are entirely unacceptable. The planner's task is to identify the most resonant problems and find the mix of pricing options that work and are acceptable. For example, to attack downtown congestion, areawide pricing may be more effective than parking pricing, but far more perilous to plan, gain acceptance around, and move toward implementation. Planners should be aware that the acceptability research shows that HOT lanes, traditional toll facilities, and express lanes generally garner the most support, and less support is likely for cordon pricing, mileage-based fees, and private sector partnerships involving rights to revenues. General or hypothetical pricing concepts are less likely to meet with support than those applying to specific facilities. However, all is not lost if a pricing plan runs into resistance, misunderstanding, or even rejec- tion. As the literature suggests, some successful plans had long gestation and hiatus periods as well as early rejections, as in the MinneapolisSt. Paul Twin Cities area and in London. The planner's task is to learn from stumbling points and regroup, whether by altering the concept, engagement strategies, timing of plan efforts including waiting for a more auspicious time to begin again, or a combination of all of these. For example, planners with MnDOT turned to a "grasstops" approach of contacting, educating, and seeking support from elected officials and community leaders after Exhibit 12. Logo for Minnesota's MnPASS lanes. Source: MnPASS website: http://mnpass.org/

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30 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development setbacks with an earlier "grassroots" approach aimed more toward travelers and the public at large. The "grasstops" approach eventually helped in gaining acceptance around the successful I-394 HOT lane project. London too eventually implemented an areawide scheme after many years of study and rejection by decision makers, due in large measure to the rise of a high-level advocate and forceful public official to mayor of the city, supported by strong analysis, worsening conges- tion, and a transit expansion plan appealing to a large segment of residents and commuters. Examples from Interview Sites: The Oregon DOT (ODOT) mileage-fee pilot program illus- trates the importance of recovering from a problematic public and media communication process to go forward with a proposed program, address concerns, and set the stage for poten- tial further expansion of the pricing concept. To begin the mileage-fee program, planners engaged key stakeholders and decision makers in the state on the issue of replacing gas tax rev- enues to address the twin problems of insufficient revenues for current and foreseeable roadway needs and congestion varying by location. A 12-member task force of legislators, local decision makers, auto interests, and others supported a mileage-fee pilot program with price variation for congested areas and possible replacement of the state gas tax with a fee based on VMT on the state's roads. However, the broad driving public never came "on board" with VMT fees as a possible replacement to the gas tax. While the pilot program went ahead with willing volunteers, the driv- ing (and potentially voting) public was skeptical about the VMT fees because of uncertainty about possible double paying for road use, fairness to high- versus low-mileage drivers, and potential privacy breaches. These concerns about double billing and privacy were addressed in the pilot (e.g., operations changed from central to fuel station billing and changed from storing traveler coordinates to only counting mileage in tracking devices). In hindsight, planners believe a better job could have been done in developing the specifics of the mileage fee concept early on in light of broad public concerns. Instead, ODOT program administrators were forced to react with information on program specifics after the public and media made assumptions about how a general mileage fee system might work. Good explanation as in Exhibit 13 eventually quelled adverse press reaction and calmed some public fears, and keeps alive the potential of a future VMT fee system for the state. 2.1.2.9 Stay Engaged and Responsive as Implementation Proceeds A consistent finding from the literature is that acceptance tends to grow the longer pricing programs are in existence, although the exact reasons for growing acceptance are not well explored. Some research suggests that proven effectiveness may be important and, where appli- cable, may minimize adverse reactions from influential parties such as local business. In other cases, it may be a proven link between revenues and promised transportation improvements. Whatever the case, research suggests that growing positive program experience is important for all parties including decision makers who must engage their constituents on the progress of the program. An important implication is that concerns about acceptability should not end with program adoption. For best chances at avoiding termination, gaining continued acceptance, and setting the stage for expansion of pricing in a region or state, it is important to keep promises about program design elements generally, and revenue distribution commitments in particular, as implementa- tion proceeds and operations commence. Continually highlighting successful program experience, detailing costs and revenues, and inviting stakeholder input after implementation via newsletters, briefings, and communications will enhance prospects for long-term success. Examples from Interview Sites: MnDOT well illustrates how engagement and communication do not end with adoption and startup of a pricing program. After successful implementation of its first HOT or express lane project, I-394, MnDOT has operated not only an interactive website

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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 31 Exhibit 13. ODOT's correction of inaccuracies in media reports about the road user fee pilot program. Road User Fee Pilot Program Corrections to news reports The Wall Street Journal, Editorial Page by Brendan Miniter May 10, 2005 Inaccuracy: "...it's clear the state is looking to influence behavior in addition to raising revenue by implementing a "vehicle mileage tax." Fact: The Road User Fee Pilot Program is designed to measure behavior among motorists not influence driver behavior. With this pilot program, Oregon is not looking to raise revenue but looking at options for the inevitable future road revenue decline. While it is true that ODOT is obliged to test congestion pricing in the pilot program, this is a requirement of ODOT's FHWA Value Pricing Pilot Program grant and not an indication of a specific policy directive adopted by the Oregon DOT or the state legislature. Any future policy decision Oregon may make on the mileage fee does not necessarily translate into application of congestion pricing, as these two policy decisions are separate. The pilot program will simply test whether or not an electronically collected mileage fee could technologically include congestion pricing should policymakers ever decide to go in that direction. Inaccuracy: "To administer this tax, a global positioning system would be mounted in each car." Fact: The Oregon Road User Fee concept recommends that only new vehicles be equipped with the on- board technology. All of the technologies being used in the pilot program are already being manufactured in cars today. Some automobile manufacturers have already announced that key components will be standard equipment on all models within the next few years. The Federal Highway Administration and transportation standards organizations are working to adopt universal standards for the same technologies being used in the pilot. In the near future, therefore, it is very likely that a state adopting a GPS-based mileage fee would not need to require additional hardware be installed in vehicles. Some sort of software upgrade seems more likely. Clarification: "As a driver fuels up, the device would relay mileage information to the gas pump, which would calculate the VMT." Fact: The Oregon concept is that as the driver fuels up, the VMT is calculated AND the gas tax is deducted. Inaccuracy: "What Oregon is showing us is that taxes can provide a government with the rationale to amass and act on all sorts of personal information, including when and where you've driven." Fact: The GPS receiver in cars simply tells the electronic odometer whether to count the miles as "in state" or "out of state." This is necessary to prevent Oregonians from being charged for miles driven outside the state. No location data is transmitted anywhere or stored in the device or elsewhere; since vehicle location data is not collected, it cannot be accessed. The only data collected and transmitted is the mileage, which is sent to the gas pump reader through a radio frequency that can only travel about eight to ten feet. Source: Website of Oregon DOT's Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/OIPP/mileage_newsroom.shtml for users and prospective users of the facility, but also performed impact analyses and revenue/cost evaluations and publicized the results through press releases and information meetings with deci- sion makers and stakeholder groups. MnDOT believes that ongoing engagement and communi- cation are important not only to the future of I-394 but also to plans for future express lanes such as those recently implemented on I-35W. In the same vein as outreach for I-394, a user satisfac- tion survey and its results are made available to I-394 users through the MnDOT website (see Exhibit 14).