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Congestion Pricing- Anyone?

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
Anyone aware of a jurisdiction in the United States that is currently using congestion :-# pricing in any form? How about gas stations seeking to limit peak hour congestion due to extraordinarily low prices :-0 ?
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
The One said:
Anyone aware of a jurisdiction in the United States that is currently using congestion :-# pricing in any form? How about gas stations seeking to limit peak hour congestion due to extraordinarily low prices :-0 ?

The NJ Turnpike does it. I'm pretty sure all of the Hudson river crossings (manhattan/new jersey) do it as well. You can just google 'congestion pricing' and insert the following names - Tappan Zee, George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals Bridge, Verrazano Bridge.
Most of them are owned by PANYNJ so you might just be able to check out their website.

There's talk of bringing it to the Garden State Parkway too but i think they're much more interested in bringing in the high speed EZPass first. Right now most of the EZPass units in the North Jesey area are 15 or 25 mph. A lot of the NYC units are 5 mph or dead stop. All of the Philly units are 15mph with the exception of the PA Turnpike bridge over the Delaware River. They have one lane that goes through a high speed gantry - it says "45 mph" but i've gone it through it succesfully at just over 50 mph.

It's crazy but it's typical traffic engineering. They're trying to squeeze all of the capacity they can out of the system before they'll even study congestion pricing.
When the Turnpike went through with it, from what i've read, peak period growth basically stopped and off-peak growth doubled.

It's a problem in the New York area because the trains are already maxed out in most places. They can't start putting the brakes on NJ drivers until they build a new train tunnel into manhattan. On the other hand they could start using the congestion charges to fund the project.
 
Messages
1,264
Points
22
There are quite a few existing and planned congestion/variable pricing projects around the country, particulary in California. Most have to do with changing HOV lanes into HOT lanes. SR-91 in Orange County, is a tolled facility where the tolls vary by the amount of congestion. Prices range from $.50 to $4.50, I think. Maybe some Southern California Cyburbanites will chime in. I was involved in a variable pricing study in Maryland before it was halted by our former Governor. I would suggesting checking out FHWA's website at www.fhwa.dot.gov and typing in variable pricing in the SEARCH box. Good luck!
 

AubieTurtle

Cyburbian
Messages
894
Points
21
I've always thought it was odd that EZPass requires such low speeds. I work for a tollway and our cruise cards read at much higher speeds. It isn't unusual for traffic to flow through the toll plaza at 70. I guess our card readers are set to be more sensitive than most.

There is talk in Georgia about HOT lanes and congestion pricing but I don't know how much good it will do without alternatives. At least it will raise money from those using the roads instead of coming out of the general fund.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
AubieTurtle said:
I've always thought it was odd that EZPass requires such low speeds. I work for a tollway and our cruise cards read at much higher speeds. It isn't unusual for traffic to flow through the toll plaza at 70. I guess our card readers are set to be more sensitive than most.

There is talk in Georgia about HOT lanes and congestion pricing but I don't know how much good it will do without alternatives. At least it will raise money from those using the roads instead of coming out of the general fund.

yeah, EZPass is an old system so it's not a matter of them not having the technology it's more an issue, for EZPass, of the cost of swapping them out.

It's also a huge issue with the various highway authorities of the immense cost of reconfiguring toll plazas. A lot of these places were built between the 30's and 60's and when EZPass came along they just hooked up the sensors to the toll booths.

You obviously can't have someone driving 70mph through a 9 foot wide toll lane with booths on either side so they have to tear down parts of the plazas and find a way to seperate traffic into cash/exact change and hi-speed EZPass without shutting down to many tollbooths at once.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
More complex congestion pricing

Great, thanks. How about the more odd ball types (some of which I know have legal issues)
1. Fixed pricing for gasoline at peak hours (international examples?) to discurage use during peak travel times.
2. Sticker zones (Like London and Mexico City) vehicles traveling through designated areas (registered inside = free sticker) are required to obtain and display a sticker at a yearly cost when registering a vehicle. May only apply to vehicles registered in the specific county (keep vacationers happy but not residents).
I know, I know, equal protection, interstate commerce acts and a host of other legal issues may effect this one.......just humor me on this......
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
The One said:
2. Sticker zones (Like London and Mexico City) vehicles traveling through designated areas (registered inside = free sticker) are required to obtain and display a sticker at a yearly cost when registering a vehicle. May only apply to vehicles registered in the specific county (keep vacationers happy but not residents).
I know, I know, equal protection, interstate commerce acts and a host of other legal issues may effect this one.......just humor me on this......
Pennsylvania, the commonwealth in which i live, was the second state to join the union and in its City of Brotherly Love we don't seem to have any legal problems making residents buy parking permits if they want to park their cars on their own streets. The residents usually request it as a way to keep shoppers and commuters from tying up spaces all day long. Other drivers can still park there without a permit but only for two hours. The permits are only available for cars registered in that neighborhood

Toll roads charge a fee. The cheapest bridges and tunnels leaving NJ cost $3. Many of the prices vary by time of day. NYC is already considering congestion pricing by tolling all of the bridges and tunnels (except GWBridge) into Manhattan and making them variable. There is no legal challenge just a lot of huffing and puffing from Long Island/Queens commuters.

You'll find few differences of that sort between English and American corporate law so I doubt you're going to find any legal obstructions to cordon pricing. Just a lot of kicking and screaming from car addicted crazies.

http://www.tstc.org/bulletin/20030224/mtr40401.html
http://www.tstc.org/bulletin/20030224/mtr40401.html
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
JRESTA Your My HERO....

Yes, or those pesky personal freedom types who oppose all kinds of taxes, even the defacto kind.... ;-) You seem to think it would be no problem to ask gas station owners in a congested area to flex their prices based on the time of day. Got any examples? I like the sticker idea a great deal and believe it would at least help take some pressure off a specified area, but could also increase vehicle miles traveled and pressure in other traffic areas...... :-# , but maybe that's a problem for regional planners..... :-D
Thanks
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
I know the Washington DC metro area is looking at doing this and I expect it to go over well but like NYC some of the metro lines are already overfull at peak times so I am not sure what they expect to do besides raise money.

There is also talk of making a lane of the beltway HOT not just the roads in and out of the City.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
PlannerGirl said:
I know the Washington DC metro area is looking at doing this and I expect it to go over well but like NYC some of the metro lines are already overfull at peak times so I am not sure what they expect to do besides raise money.

There is also talk of making a lane of the beltway HOT not just the roads in and out of the City.
I've seen weekday Metro trains and it is insane. At the same time I think that's a flaw in the system. Metro tries to be a subway and commuter rail at the same time and it just doesn't work. I'm sure Metro planners have all the great ideas already but i would think the commuter rail system needs to be improved/expanded to take the suburban pressure off of the Metro.

My biggest complaint about the Metro is how far apart the stops are. You just wind up attracting bigger crowds at stations b/c you have such a large catchment area. DC needs to bring back a streetcar system with modern trams that can carry 150 or so people per car so you can keep the people who are only going 3 or 4 stops from going underground in the first place.

How do you pay for it? Toll those bridges and off-ramps!
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
The One said:
Yes, or those pesky personal freedom types who oppose all kinds of taxes, even the defacto kind.... ;-) You seem to think it would be no problem to ask gas station owners in a congested area to flex their prices based on the time of day. Got any examples? I like the sticker idea a great deal and believe it would at least help take some pressure off a specified area, but could also increase vehicle miles traveled and pressure in other traffic areas...... :-# , but maybe that's a problem for regional planners..... :-D
Thanks
I don't think variable gas prices would change much in terms of congestion- it might make an interesting fix for air quality, though. People don't fill up everyday, esp. in urban areas where a tank of gas can last you a week or two. The suburbanites driving downtown also don't fill up in the urban areas b/c it's typically more expensive.

I'm more interested in tolls as a way to balance out demand among modes. A lot of traffic coming down 95 in the morning is coming downtown but just as much of it is going through downtown. I don't blame them for driving b/c transit is either not available or would take twice as long as driving. When i ask people that drive to center city why they do it, however, i hear the same excuses every time - "it's too far to walk from the train station" or "i hate SEPTA."

We all hate SEPTA and people in just about every city complain about their transit system but that's a lame excuse for driving solo when nearly everyone in the region lives within 3 miles of a commuter rail station and the few that don't pass one on their way in.

So yeah, i think variable cordon pricing is much more equitable. You're charging people for using a finite resource when they have many other options available.
 

Forestieri

Member
Messages
8
Points
0
Road Pricing and Restricted Access Zones in Europe

There are a number of examples in Europe regarding restricted access and much work has been done in the last five years as cities are working towards implementing road pricing -- Rome, Italy has has restricted access since 1989 and in the last four years has implemented a telepass system with gates for recognition of authorised vehicles and for issuing tickets to unauthorised cars. Trondehiem, Norway has a toll system with varying prices for different times of days. Check out the following links:
http://www.progress-project.org/

http://www.trafficlinq.com/its.htm#congestion
 
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