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Abstract

Value pricing projects implemented in the U.S. during the past decade have demonstrated that pricing can be politically and publicly acceptable – so far, four priced lane projects and four variably priced toll facility projects are operating without any significant public or political controversy. On operating projects, pricing keeps congestion from occurring on priced lanes, reduces congestion on toll facilities, changes travel behavior, and improves utilization of existing highway capacity. Revenues from tolls have been used to provide funding for transportation improvements. Yet, issues remain with regard to public attitudes toward projects involving tolls; equity concerns; and political acceptance. Technical issues have also stalled several projects, including high construction costs that limit self-financing capability; access to and egress from priced lanes within freeways; and difficulties with regard to enforcement of toll exemption restrictions for high-occupancy vehicles (HOVs) on priced lanes. Private sector involvement in investment and operation of priced lanes has also encountered problems. This paper summarizes the promises and challenges of value pricing, and how the challenges are being addressed in the various projects implemented or under development under the Value Pricing Pilot Program.

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