4-1: Pricing Mechanisms for Managed Lanes

 

Principal Investigator Mark Burris, Ph.D.
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Abstract

Two common means of pricing Managed Lanes (MLs) are to vary tolls based on time of day, or to vary them dynamically based on real-time congestion measurements. Which of the two tolling options is more effective in regulating ML-usage is unclear. In this study, large datasets on toll prices, vehicle travel speeds, traffic volumes and densities will be utilized to assess the effects of the two different congestion pricing strategies on traffic conditions. Input data will come from freeway loop detectors and Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) readers. Both sources can provide a rich set of data that reveals lane choices made by drivers and the resulting traffic impacts over time and space. Changing toll rates will be correlated with traffic conditions on both the MLs and the general purpose lanes (GPLs). The goal is to evaluate the impact of the two pricing approaches on traffic conditions to assess if the traffic management benefits from dynamic pricing are commensurate to its more resource intensive implementation compared to variable pricing.