As cities, particularly the Central Business Districts (CBD) of cities, continue to deal with high levels of congestion, planners and policy makers have increasingly looked to travel pricing schemes to help control congestion.
One such travel pricing scheme is congestion pricing. Congestion pricing involves setting up a cordon zone using electronic tolling equipment around a select area of a city, usually the CBD. Then travelers driving into the cordon zone are charged a fee and the money raised from these fees is reinvested into other transportation projects. In theory, congestion pricing reduces demand for travel into the cordon zone and helps raise revenues for other infrastructure projects.
As cities increasingly turn to congestion pricing, ensuring equity in congestion pricing is a critical concern. To study this issue, a research team at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis studied congestion pricing around the world. The team conducted detailed case studies of three proposed congestion pricing schemes in the United States and Canada in Seattle, Washington, New York, New York, and Vancouver, Canada. The team also analyzed five existing congestion pricing schemes in Singapore, London, United Kingdom, Stockholm, Sweden, and Gothenburg, Sweden.
Based on their analysis, the team offers the following suggestion for encouraging equity in congestion pricing: