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OCR for page 59
62 Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development are intended to help provide assistance in effectively carrying out federal planning requirements. Key items from the interim guidebooks (FHWA and FTA, February 2008) and briefing book (FHWA and FTA, September 2007) include the following: Road pricing (RP) planning will be constrained by planning cycles. For example, the Metropol- itan Transportation Plan has 5-year updates (every 4 years in non-attainment areas). The Trans- portation Improvement Program or TIP is done every 4 years. Only the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) is done annually. Thus, if an RP proposal arises through the formal regional planning process, it will be bound by these timelines or, if it comes from outside the planning process, it may be "adopted" into the plan, which may constrain project timing. States may legislate their own provisions for congestion management planning, as in California where an entirely separate agency from the MPO can be formed to carry out congestion man- agement planning. In such cases, the Secretary of Transportation must "find" that the processes are consistent with federal congestion management requirements. The congestion management process (CMP) as described in guidance provides an opportunity to consider road pricing. MPOs [or Congestion Management Agency (CMA) in places like Cal- ifornia] in transportation management areas (TMAs)--those metropolitan areas with over 200,000 population--must have a congestion management process that includes congestion management objectives and identifies "travel demand" and "operational strategies"; road pric- ing is a logical candidate for consideration as a strategy. The CMP is intended to be fully inte- grated into the metropolitan transportation planning process. Planners seeking attention to road pricing in federal guidance will not find it featured strongly. The documents provide reference to the strategy, but more attention to road pricing within fed- eral guidance documents may aid in consideration of road pricing in metropolitan and statewide transportation planning. Conformity requirements in planning provide an opportunity for attention to road pricing. The briefing book points to transportation control measures (TCMs) as a means to help attain con- formity; road pricing could qualify as an emissions reduction strategy. Road pricing may aid in meeting the metropolitan planning process requirement to be "fiscally constrained," meaning expected revenues and costs balance. The MPO must demonstrate how it expects to fund projects included in the plan, and that there is a balance between the expected revenue sources for transportation investments and the estimated costs. Revenues may include those from "user charges," which would include road pricing revenues. 3.7 Strategic Highway Research Program 2 Project C01 The keystone project under the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP 2) capacity focus area is the development of a Collaborative Decision-Making Framework (CDMF) for deci- sion points in various phases of the transportation decision-making process (Project C01). The work by ICF is useful for identifying possible points for road pricing to enter planning and deci- sion making. The framework is derived from about 25 detailed case studies of transportation projects and the decision-making processes that led to their adoption. Important findings include the following: Road pricing may be considered at several steps in the long-range planning process. Early steps setting out regional objectives such as sustainability, improving system efficiency, improving air quality, and managing congestion provide opportunities for attention to road pricing. The CMP provides another opportunity where transportation deficiencies in the region are acknowledged and where alternatives such as pricing and demand management strategies are considered and prioritized. The CMP also can spur corridor studies or major investment studies in areas where

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Summary of Literature Review on Planning for Road Pricing 63 congestion is greatest, and bring attention to potential congestion-relief solutions such as road pricing. Corridor planning offers good potential for attention to road pricing because it is specific by area and by level of analysis. Corridor planning is the level of planning detail required for environ- mental review, suggesting both planning and environmental analysis for road pricing might be done simultaneously, thereby shortening development and implementation time. According to the C01 project, there are two paths for road pricing under environmental review. When a road pricing project involves significant new capacity, an extensive environmental review process may be required via an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The review may be necessary either for compliance with NEPA at the federal level or for a state-level environ- mental review required by law in some states. Another path may be lesser reviews or an exemp- tion, particularly for pricing projects on existing facilities, where trip reduction and air quality benefits are clear cut and where revenues support auto use alternatives.