Consider the complexity of the public-private partnerships when implementing managed lanes and congestion pricing projects.

Lessons from a domestic scan of ten metropolitan areas.

Date Posted

A Domestic Scan of Congestion Pricing and Managed Lanes

Summary Information

The FHWA sponsored a scan of selected Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs) to determine how they are planning for congestion pricing and managed lanes. The scan was performed by conducting a survey of agencies that had been directly involved in consideration of these options in ten metropolitan areas:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas
  • Los Angeles-Orange County, California
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Miami, Florida
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Washington, DC

There was considerable enthusiasm for the concept of congestion pricing and pricing of managed lanes among the agencies in the metropolitan areas surveyed. The number of studies, and in particular, the consideration of congestion pricing on a regional network basis suggest that interest in and acceptance of congestion pricing and managed lanes is growing.

Lessons Learned

When involving the private sector as a partner in a managed lanes and congestion pricing project:

  • Understand that while public-private partnerships may be important to the financial viability of congestion pricing or managed lanes projects, the complexity of the partnerships can be challenging for public agencies. When federal funding for planning or implementation is included in a public-private partnership, the complexity increases, and subsequent delays can be extensive to regional policy makers and elected officials.
  • Be aware that there can be so much enthusiasm for the revenue generation that public agencies are willing to give away too much in negotiation of public-private ventures.
  • Plan for public-sector regional oversight – in the form of a "watchdog" – to make sure that network effects are taken into account.

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