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SECTION 1 Decision-Making Guide: Evaluating Road Pricing Potential for Local Areas and Conditions This section provides background on six road pricing concepts and provides diagnostic infor- mation to help planners and decision makers assess which specific road pricing concepts might be most applicable in their areas. It begins by briefly describing six road pricing concepts, followed by showing the applicability of the concepts through a series of three tables that (1) addresses how the pricing concepts match with many of today's important local and state transportation goals; (2) shows how the concepts best apply to roadway operating conditions, type and severity of con- gestion, availability of transportation alternatives, and the policy and institutional setting in a region; and (3) provides the main considerations related to acceptability, engagement, and com- munication that are important for the successful adoption and implementation of all the pricing concepts. 1.1 Road Pricing Concepts The discussion in this section and the rest of the report focuses on the following six categories of road pricing: · Conversion of existing HOV or other lanes to HOT lanes · Variable pricing on new or rehabilitated facilities and regionwide networks · Variable pricing on existing toll facilities · Pricing of an area of existing roads and streets ("areawide" or "cordon" pricing) · Distance-based pricing or mileage fees · Variable pricing applied to parking These six categories cover a full array of pricing strategies applied both within the United States and around the world. Descriptions of these concepts are provided in the following paragraphs. 1.1.1 Conversion of Existing HOV or Other Lanes to HOT Lanes Conversions of existing HOV lanes to HOT lanes allow vehicles not meeting normal occupancy requirements to "buy-in" to the lane by paying a toll varying by time of day or level of congestion. In some cases, it is not HOV lanes but shoulder lanes that are converted to dynamically priced HOT lanes. Conversion of general purpose lanes to HOT lanes has also been studied, but is yet to be implemented. Of course, HOT lanes on new or rehabilitated facilities without conversion are another possibility, as addressed in the next category. HOT lanes allow drivers to use high-speed, uncongested HOV lanes either by meeting minimum occupancy requirements or by paying a toll. Where HOV lanes face peak-hour congestion, conversion to HOT lanes allows the use of variable pricing to control traffic demand, reduce peak-period congestion, and ensure that the lanes pro- vide premium travel conditions to all users, both existing HOV users and new paying customers. 6