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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 41 impacts including environmental justice issues along with a public participation process in select- ing preferred alternatives. Environmental justice sometimes is the only substantive issue evaluated in environmental documents involving pricing projects. It involves conducting thorough analysis to show that disadvantaged populations, including low-income and minority communities, will not be disproportionately burdened by a road pricing scheme and that the project is the least dis- criminatory alternative. Experience has shown that it is important for state and local actors, includ- ing state DOTs, local leaders, MPOs, and congestion management agencies (CMAs), to collaborate in moving road pricing projects forward through the complex stages of project development and environmental review. 2.3 Analytic, Policy, and Success Considerations for Each Road Pricing Concept This section presents examples for all six road pricing concepts. Each example is followed by a table with information on: Travel impacts Revenues and finance Equity Environment Policy and institutional requirements Popular reasons for attention to the concept Promising recent developments bearing on acceptability and success Exhibits in the rest of this section have been developed through interviews with regional and state actors active in road pricing development, a review of plans and studies collected as part of the interviews, and a review of literature related to each of the road pricing concepts. The interview sites are listed at the beginning of Section 2.1. The exhibits incorporate not only findings from com- pleted studies but also the latest projections of travel and other impacts from ongoing studies gath- ered from respondents and agency sources. Part 2 contains the interview summaries with reference reports and website links for those interested in site sources. 2.3.1 Conversion of Existing HOV and Other Lanes to HOT Lanes This category of pricing introduces a new, more reliable travel option on congested corridors that have existing HOV lanes by converting the HOV lanes to HOT lanes. It also includes cases where shoulder lanes are converted to HOT lanes. HOV lanes are converted to HOT lanes usually to make better use of underused capacity or to alleviate HOV lane congestion. Either way, the objective is to gain more precise control over lane volumes than is possible using occupancy eligi- bility alone. In the case of congested HOV lanes, it may be necessary to reduce or eliminate free access to two-person carpools. Vehicles with single occupancy (or lower than required occupancy) can use the HOT lanes by paying a toll that varies with the level of congestion on the corridor and/or the time of day. Vehi- cles meeting the HOV occupancy requirements of the lane (typically 2+ or 3+ passenger occu- pancy) travel free of charge or at a discounted rate in most applications. The goal is to achieve optimum utilization of an existing HOV lane (whether under- or overused) or new HOT lane. HOT lanes ensure good level of service for HOV drivers, while allowing single-occupancy vehicles or vehicles with lower than required occupancy to enjoy the same level of service by paying a charge. HOT lanes can be developed with new or existing road capacity. Most early HOT lanes converted existing HOV lanes to HOT lanes and mostly on underused rather than overused HOV facilities. More recently, new HOT lanes and networks of lanes are receiving attention. Where developing

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42 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development additional roadway is not desirable or feasible, especially in highly developed and congested corri- dors, planners are giving new attention to converting shoulder lanes to HOT lanes providing a more reliable travel option compared to the general purpose lanes. Planners should be sensitive to occupancy requirements in cases of converting HOV lanes to HOT lanes, as well as whether the HOT will include general purpose lanes. For instance, the fol- lowing options can be expected to have differing usage and diversion potential, as well as accept- ability implications: Conversion of HOV2+ lanes to HOT lanes Conversion of HOT2+ to HOT3+ lanes Conversion of an HOV2+ lane and a general purpose lane into a combined two-lane HOT facility The following projects have been implemented under this category: I-15 "FasTrak" project in San Diego implemented in 1991, the earliest of all projects, with goals of better utilizing the HOV lanes and raising funds for expanded transit service. Initially 8 miles of reversible lanes were priced with tolls varying dynamically with the level of congestion (as often as every 6 minutes) in order to maintain free-flow traffic conditions. The charges were managed electronically and deducted from prepaid driver accounts recognized via in-vehicle transponders. The normal toll varies between 50 cents and $4, but during very congested peri- ods it can be as high as $8. The average price paid per trip typically has been under $3 and sel- dom goes above $4. The project's success has spurred an expansion project to add 20 additional miles in the I-15 corridor. "QuickRide" HOT lane projects on I-10 (Katy Freeway) and US-290 (Northwest Freeway) in Houston, begun in 2000 and created to reduce heavy congestion on HOV lanes, in contrast to the San Diego project. Free access is restricted to vehicles with three or more people during peak periods. Two-person carpools can use the Katy Freeway lanes by paying a $2 per trip toll dur- ing peak hours, while single-occupant vehicles are prohibited. All transactions are completely automated. HOT lanes on I-25 in Denver, begun in 2006 with preset pricing by time of day, with goals of increasing HOV lane utilization and generating revenues for general corridor improvements. I-394 HOT lanes in Minneapolis (also known as MnPASS lanes), implemented in 2005 with objectives of increasing corridor capacity and throughput, improving utilization of HOV lanes, reducing congestion, creating a new travel option for solo drivers willing to pay a toll, and using excess revenues for improving highway facilities and transit service in the corridor. The project uses dynamic pricing on an 8-mile and 3-mile segment of I-394, with tolls varying as often as every 3 minutes depending on the levels of congestion. A HOT lane conversion project on I-35W is also currently under development in Minneapolis and southern suburbs, involving dynamic pricing on shoulder lanes on a 3-mile section near downtown Minneapolis. The pric- ing policy on that facility will mirror the policy on I-394 with a toll range of 25 cents per segment to a maximum of $8. SR-167 HOT lanes in the Puget Sound region became operational in May 2008. The project includes 9 miles of non-barrier-separated express lanes in both directions. The toll varies with demand to ensure smooth traffic flow, with rates between 50 cents to $9. Carpools of two or more people, vanpools, buses, and motorcycles use the HOT lane toll free. HOT lanes on I-95 in MiamiDade County, also called "95 Express Lanes," opened in 2008 in the northbound direction as part of Phase 1. Southbound lanes opened for tolling in 2010. The project involves a variable-priced toll starting from 25 cents upwards, depending on the level of congestion, to encourage travel in less heavily traveled periods. It also offers a toll-free option for registered carpools (HOV3+), vanpools, transit and emergency vehicles, and registered hybrid vehicles.