Road pricing: public perceptions and program development

As state and local governments grapple with reduced revenue from traditional sources, deferred maintenance needs, and traffic congestion, many are searching for ways to generate revenue and reduce congestion without making major capital investments. An NCHRP report released earlier this year, Road Pricing: Public Perceptions and Program Development, provides a solid overview of major road pricing concepts and useful guidance for governments and public agencies working to implement a road pricing plan or considering doing so.

The report focuses on six types of pricing programs, each of which is linked to its impacts on community and regional goals, as shown in the table below:

  • Conversion of existing HOV or other lanes to HOT lanes;
  • Variable pricing on new or revamped facilities;
  • Variable pricing on existing toll facilities;
  • Areawide pricing;
  • Mileage or VMT fees; and
  • Parking pricing.

The report has two parts. The first provides a review of each of the six road pricing concepts and information for planners and decision makers to evaluate the potential of each and understand the best engagement and communication strategies. The second part provides interview findings, literature reviews, and references to resource materials on planning, engagement, and communication related to road pricing strategies.

Overall, the report is a good starting point for those considering or working to implement new road pricing programs.