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Adding Priced Capacity for Congestion Relief Robert W. Poole, Jr. Director of Transportation Studies Reason Foundation www.reason.org/transportation.

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Presentation on theme: "Adding Priced Capacity for Congestion Relief Robert W. Poole, Jr. Director of Transportation Studies Reason Foundation www.reason.org/transportation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Adding Priced Capacity for Congestion Relief Robert W. Poole, Jr. Director of Transportation Studies Reason Foundation

2 Not Just New Capacity: Priced Capacity Value pricing keeps the lanes uncongested, offers premium service. During rush hours, priced lanes offer much greater througput. Self-generated revenues mean they can get built now, not “ someday. ”

3 What Types of Priced Capacity? HOT Lanes Express Toll Lanes Express Toll Networks Truck-Only Toll Lanes New beltways Missing links in freeway systems

4 HOT Lanes: A First Step Priced lanes offer meaningful congestion relief to those willing to pay. Ensure use of all of the expensive capacity. Toll revenues can help pay for the large investment needed. High performance is sustainable, long- term.

5 Value Pricing Offers Precise Traffic Flow Control I-15 quasi-real-time variable pricing 91-Express: fine-tuned rate schedule, periodically adjusted 49% of peak traffic with 33% of lane capacity Both offer reliable high speeds during rush hours.

6 91 Express Lanes, Orange County, California

7 Priced Lane Projects, 2006

8 Synergy of Priced Lanes and Bus Rapid Transit Value-priced lane is virtual equivalent of exclusive busway (VEB). Pricing limits vehicle flow to what ’ s compatible with LOS C conditions. Reliable high speed is sustainable long- term, thanks to pricing. Houston implementing first VEB on Katy Freeway managed lanes.

9 VEB Prototype: Houston’s Katy Managed Lanes 3-way public-public partnership Transit agency (METRO) Toll agency (HCTRA) State DOT (TxDOT) 4 new lanes in median, with value pricing HCTRA funds and manages the priced lanes METRO guaranteed 65 buses/hr and 25% of capacity for bus + HOV3+ LOS C to be maintained, via pricing and occupancy controls

10 Implications of Katy Agreement Transit funding: no toll revenues to METRO, but still a great deal (free guideway). Busway capacity: 65/hr. is 62% increase; should be ample. FTA approval: granted, based on LOS C. Occupancy changes: going to HOV-3 now and HOV-4 as needed. Pricing sustainability: MOU commitment.

11 Network Comparisons 500-lane-mile VEB Network cost is $4 to $6 billion, based on Reason studies. 250 route-mile light rail system cost is $31 billion, based on latest FTA data. 250 route-mile heavy rail system would be $38 billion, per FTA. Plus, the VEB guideway would not depend on [limited] FTA funding.

12 Where can we add new capacity? Go up — add elevated lanes above existing freeway Go under — bored tunnels under sensitive areas (e.g., for missing links) Re-use untraditional ROW: Rail lines Flood plains Power line corridors

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15 Tampa’s elevated express toll lanes

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21 Conclusions Value-priced toll lanes provide “ congestion insurance ” for all motorists, even if they don ’ t use them often. A network of priced lanes is the virtual equivalent of a regionwide busway network, offering a low-cost alternative to rail. New capacity can be added above and below existing roads and lands, and along non- highway ROW. Toll revenues can pay for much of the cost of new priced capacity.

22 Adding Priced Capacity for Congestion Relief Robert W. Poole, Jr. Director of Transportation Studies Reason Foundation


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