The Pricing's Right: Examining High-Performance Highways

Congestion charging, or value pricing, through the use of what the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is calling "high-performance highways" is examined as a possible tool to reduce traffic, speed travel, and raise revenue for maintaining and expanding the transportation infrastructure. In general, value pricing works by removing at least some of the non-commuting drivers from roadways during rush hours. Data from I-66 outside the Capital Beltway in Washington, D.C., show a significant drop in flows as the morning rush ends. A new variation on the concept are high-performance highways, where variable tolls are imposed on all lanes of the facility. This would give more control over traffic flow than the current most-frequently used tool, ramp metering. Maximum throughput speeds can be calculated and set as benchmarks for triggering different levels of pricing until the speeds are achieved. In addition, more capacity can be achieved on facilities when traffic speeds are made more uniform, as evidenced by the 91 Express Lanes in California's Orange County. They carry 40 percent of the volume on 33 percent of the capacity at peak travel times. The pricing system must be clear and understandable so that drivers can make informed choices. Prices should also be adjusted periodically to reflect changes in traffic patterns. A section on addressing public acceptance describes some of the schemes for distributing revenues from value pricing and showing motorists the benefits. There is also a section on how transit services could benefit from high-performance highways.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01111588
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: May 22 2008 4:09PM