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Planning Guide: Developing Road Pricing Plans and Programs 45 Exhibit 20. (Continued). Emerging Directions Higher emissions in part related to stop-and-go congestion on general purpose lanes. Revenue generation supporting HOT operations and development. Promising Electronic tolling technologies make variable pricing by time of day, level of Developments congestion, and vehicle occupancy easier to implement and customer friendly with ability to accept various payment types. Generally promising cost/revenue balance with support for new transit service and no delays to HOV users in operations to date. Technologies offer improved data collection on HOV use, toll payment, travel behavior, equity impacts, and vehicle mix for evaluation and planning. Emerging technology for vehicle occupancy detection and enforcement; new technology for license plate recognition (LPR) and optical character recognition (OCR). Plans for linking individual HOT lane projects into larger regional HOT networks likely to scale up benefits. Experience from San Diego (I-15), Denver (I-25), Minneapolis (I-394), Houston (Katy Freeway), and Puget Sound region (SR-167) provide recent, concrete impacts to reference in planning. Priced dynamic shoulder lanes are increasingly receiving more attention (e.g., I- 35W in MinneapolisSt. Paul). Success Combine HOT pricing project with complementary congestion reduction strategies Considerations like telecommuting, transit enhancements (e.g., bus rapid transit proposed on HOT corridor shoulder lanes), transit incentives, and active traffic management strategies. If HOV lane conversion to HOT is combined with change in carpool exemption/discount from 2+ to 3+, emphasize, document, and report congestion reduction benefit to lane users. Develop explicit plan for revenue allocations to support transit, telecommuting, etc., taking into account discounts/exemptions for low-income groups, to counter potential "Lexus lanes" criticisms. Consider construction of park-and-ride lots near HOT lanes to encourage ridesharing. Plan transit access and egress requirements carefully where applicable to allow for buses moving across traffic into and out of HOT lanes. Collaborate across agencies on operations, enforcement, planning, and communication (highway patrol, transit operators, local transport authority, and regional planning and congestion management agencies). Evaluate trade-offs between toll level required for good level of service, break-even revenues, and political acceptability; ensure toll flexibility in enabling policies. Enforce against non-paying solo drivers; monitor effects on transit access and speeds; plan for customer service and relations program upon implementation, including newsletter and feedback vehicles. Plan for effective marketing of transponders; readable, understandable toll, occupancy, and ingress/egress signage. transit components have been completed in Maryland, Virginia, Minnesota, Texas, and the Wash- ington, D.C. area. New express lanes that are expected to eventually become part of such a network are currently under construction in Virginia and Maryland. Exhibit 21 provides more information on variable pricing on new or rehabilitated facilities and regionwide networks. 2.3.3 Variable Pricing on Existing Toll Facilities This category of pricing introduces variable tolls on highway facilities, bridges, and tunnels hav- ing existing fixed tolls.
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46 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development Exhibit 21. Variable pricing on new or rehabilitated facilities. Planning Considerations Travel/Traffic Impact: SR-91 added two new lanes in each direction to an existing highway with variable tolls by time of day and day of week, resulting in free-flowing express lanes carrying over 40% of peak traffic versus stop and go in general purpose lanes; forecasts for new priced lanes projects in the National Capital Region estimate an increase in transit use, some decrease in HOV, slight increase in VMT, and some increase in speeds on mixed use lanes; forecasting suggests that a network of variable priced lanes can be more effective than the simple sum of individual projects. Mode effect: 40% increase in HOV3+ on SR-91 probably due to initial free-use policy, though charging HOV3+ 50% did not change overall HOV use; overall, more SR-91 commuters shifted from solo to high occupancy than vice versa; no significant effect on transit use (1%) in the corridor. Effect duration: Initially, the new SR-91 capacity dramatically reduced traffic and congestion on the general purpose lanes, but traffic has increased on these lanes with growth in travel. Revenue/Finance Construction: Four-lane, 10-mile-long SR-91 toll facility was constructed for approximately $134 million with private funds and toll revenues covered construction and operating costs; costs did not involve new right-of-way, interchange modifications, or intermediate access/egress points resulting in a cost of about $3 million per lane mile versus $10 million or more per lane mile for typical major urban freeway construction. Cost/revenues: SR-91 income (revenue less expenses) was $733,000 in 1996 rising to $13.7 million in 2001, according to private owner/operator audits; National Capital Region forecasts of revenues versus costs showed revenues may not offset capital and operating costs for major investments in segments of a new network. Economic, finance issues: State of California saved construction and operating/enforcement costs and Orange County gained property taxes from SR-91 private owner/operator of $6.8 million in first 6 years; positive benefit/cost for the expressway compared to carpool lanes as an alternative; combination of new and HOT conversions in SF Bay Area projected to generate revenues to finance capacity 30 to 40 years faster than traditional state and local tax funding; plans for SR-520 (Washington) estimates toll revenues need to be combined with traditional federal and state funds (e.g., gas tax) for financial feasibility. Equity Experience to date shows the income equity issue has not blocked programs, nor has it been critical in focus groups and surveys, e.g., for planned expansion of I-15, survey of facility users found 71% consider the extension fair with few differences based on ethnicity or income; equity assessments are limited but for SR-91, use of the express lanes increased over time for all modes across all incomes, with percentage of trips for the lowest and highest incomes (20% and 50%) stable over time. Environment Assessments limited; projections for network in SF Bay Area indicate that CO emissions reduced 10 million tons over 40 years compared to regular HOV network, in part because of better use of transit due to uncongested speeds. Policy/Institutional Authorization: Legislation required for new authority to finance, build, and operate and required for publicprivate venture (e.g., AB680 California), as well as carefully crafted agreement with private sector. Emerging Directions Motivators Delays, accidents, travel time unreliability. Inadequacy of traditional finance for new capacity. Possible allies in traveling public, businesses concerned with aging roads, inadequate capacity and taxpayers wanting user pay equity. Possible emission reductions compared to do nothing or regular highway expansion. Promising Electronic technologies make variable pricing by location, time of day, and Developments vehicle class easier to implement and customer friendly by accepting various payment types; new information signs add value for real-time status of traffic conditions, accidents, speeds, and travel times. New payment cards and other pay technologies enabling toll and transit fare payment via a single account may enhance toll customer relations and encourage more attention to transit options.