A meta-study of various road user pricing strategies finds that in nearly all cases these strategies are effective.
White paper examines use of electronic road user pricing strategies.
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Lessons Learned for Designing Programs to Charge for Road Use, Congestion, and Emissions.

Summary Information

Road user pricing strategies are a way to charge road users, particularly automobiles, for their usage of roads. Typically, these strategies take one of three forms. First, users may be charged on a per mile basis. Users may be charged a fee based on the total number of miles they drive in some time frame or may be charged based on the number of miles they drive on a specific road section. Second, users may be charged for driving into a certain portion of a city during a certain time of the day, this is typically referred to as congestion pricing. Third, users may be assessed an "environmental fee" based on the number of miles they drive and/or the type of vehicle they drive.

Researchers at the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, at the University of California, Davis, conducted a meta-study of available literature on these types of pricing schemes. They assessed what previous case studies and publish papers have found about the effectiveness of different road pricing strategies and then drew conclusions about what these studies have found on balance.


  • Vehicle pricing is an economically efficient way to capture the costs of these externalities associated with the use of cars and trucks.
  • Almost every pricing mechanism has successfully reduced the externality they were targeting.
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