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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 43 I-15 express lanes in Utah, implemented in 2006 initially as a permit system where a limited number of solo drivers pay a monthly fee of $50 to use the lanes; however, a full electronic tolling system with charges varying by time of day based on actual traffic volumes is expected to be implemented by late 2010. Exhibit 20 provides more information on conversion of existing HOV and other lanes to HOT lanes. 2.3.2 Variable Pricing on New or Rehabilitated Facilities and Regionwide Networks The distinguishing feature of these projects is that instead of applying pricing to existing facili- ties, congestion pricing is introduced with new road capacity or along with major rehabilitation. The overall goal is to improve the facility and enhance traffic flow in the corridor while managing traffic demand through pricing, thereby creating a new high-quality travel option for the users. Like HOT lane conversions, new and revamped express lanes or other facilities use variable pricing to control traffic, reduce peak period congestion, and generate new revenues. Some projects may also give preference to HOV travelers. State and local budget cuts and unsuccessful attempts to fund transportation improvements through taxation have increased the interest of states in financing lane additions using toll revenues. For example, the planned SR-520 project in the Puget Sound region involves widening and reha- bilitating a bridge, while supporting improvements with new variable tolls on the bride. Planners in the region hope to extend the concept to other new facilities and existing facilities combined with improvements. Projects include: Newly constructed express lanes with variable tolls on SR-91 in Orange County, California, opened in 1995 to reduce congestion on one of the most heavily congested highways in the United States. The project added two new lanes in each direction, with tolls varying by direction, day of the week, and time of the day according to a pre-set schedule. Unlike many HOT lane conversions, the toll schedule on SR-91 does not vary automatically with level of traffic ("dynamic pricing") but is set by management and is updated periodically to reflect trends in traffic conditions and to maintain free-flowing traffic. In 2007, the peak toll in the busiest half hour was 95 cents per mile. In-vehicle transponders are used to assess and deduct tolls from a pre-paid account. Managed lanes on the 15-mile I-30 corridor in Dallas; the first 6 miles opened in 2007 with two reversible express lanes operating during the peak periods, allowing single-occupant vehi- cles for a fee and HOVs for a fee that was up to 50% off the SOV rate at peak periods. A fixed fee was applied during the first 6 months (75 cents per mile maximum) and pricing varying by traf- fic levels ("dynamic") thereafter. New express lane projects currently under development include the I-15 managed lanes in San Diego arising as an extension of I-15 HOT lanes, the I-10 (Katy Freeway) reconstruction in Hous- ton, and managed lanes on I-30 and I-635 and the North Tarrant Expressway in Dallas. Also included in this category are regionwide networks of new express lanes or facilities at sev- eral potential locations within a region and, in some cases, including regionwide initiatives to pro- mote carpooling or improve transit services. The overall purpose is to add highway capacity while managing new traffic levels and generating revenues through pricing. The lane management is aimed at creating new high-quality travel options for the users where the toll revenues can cover all or a significant proportion of the associated costs. Feasibility studies or long-range plans for regionwide networks of express lanes with inclusion of demand management and

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44 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Exhibit 20. Conversion to HOT lanes. Planning Considerations Travel/Traffic Impact: Evaluations of I-15 in San Diego and US-290 and Katy Freeway in Houston show 21% to 24% increase in lane use across projects with no decrease in travel speeds and 11- to 20-minute travel time savings for HOT lane users; impacts on traffic in general purpose lanes were positive in Houston and Minneapolis (speeds were up 15% in peak period with up to 1,000 fewer vehicles), but not conclusive in San Diego. SOV violations: I-15 showed fewer SOV violators in the HOT lanes, probably due to more enforcement and some previous violators buying into the lanes. Revenue/Finance Revenues and program costs: Revenues typically used to cover operating costs of operations and enforcement in full or part; where available, additional revenues sometimes recommended for transit, transportation improvements in the corridor, and/or implementation of ridesharing and other TDM programs (e.g., San Diego, Minneapolis, Los Angeles). Revenues may cover all improvements and operating costs for projects with sufficient volumes and low capital costs, but may not for small, low-volume or highly capital-intensive projects; revenue/finance balance also influenced by competing facilities, as with I-15 upon opening of SR-56. Equity Experience shows that income equity has not been a major issue; usage surveys of I-15 lanes in San Diego and I-394 lanes in Minneapolis showed high support for HOT lanes across all income groups, with lowest and highest income groups expressing about equal support. Experience shows that HOT lanes are likely to be used by all income groups, although higher-income drivers are more likely to have transponders (I-394 Minneapolis); transit usage has improved in the case of Minneapolis I-394 HOT lanes benefiting low-income commuters; no disadvantages caused to transit and carpool users. Equity concerns may center more on those with inflexible work schedules, with peak-hour tolling in effect on HOT lanes; however, optional nature of HOT lanes reduces concerns about some travelers being worse off than before. Requirement of an electronic tolling account (e.g., need to purchase a transponder, maintain a pre-paid account balance) can be a concern for low-income or other groups without credit cards or access to checking accounts. Environment Assessments limited: Evaluations of HOT lanes focus primarily on traffic impacts and traveler reactions; limited evaluations show no increase in noise or corridor emissions (I-394). Possible reduction of congestion on general purpose lanes due to shift of traffic to HOT lanes may reduce overall emissions in corridor in the short term. Policy/Institutional Authorization: State authorization required for toll collection and for any private sector role in development and operations. Revenue allocation: How much allocated to HOT lane operations, to improvements in the corridor, to transit, or to other programs, in the same corridor or across the transportation network. Freight: Applicability to freight vehicles must be decided, i.e. whether or not they can use the lane for time-sensitive trips; in Minneapolis, free passage for freight vehicles in off-peak hours is being considered. Discounts: Discount policy for HOVs, buses, and hybrid vehicles are decision points for revenue generation and demand management. Agreements: Agreements between HOT lane operating agency, transit operators, enforcement agencies and highway department needed to specify transit, enforcement, and maintenance services. Local planning and federal programs: Congestion management process and fiscally constrained long-range plan may bear on HOT lane development and cost/revenue plans and require specification in or amendments to long-range regional transportation plan. Emerging Directions Motivators Underutilized or overutilized HOV lanes; perceptions of severe congestion in general purpose lanes; and willingness to pay for time savings, enhanced safety, and reliability. Violation rates in HOV lanes perceived as an issue with credible promise of improved enforcement via HOT conversion.