Focus on Meaningful Community Engagement, Investing Revenues, and Collecting High Quality Data to Make Congestion Pricing Equitable.
Case Studies of Congestion Pricing Around the World.
Made Public Date
01/25/2021

898

Vancouver
Canada

302

New York City
New York
United States

758

Seattle
Washington
United States

1138

Singapore
Singapore

1139

London
England

1140

Stockholm
Sweden

857

Gothenburg
Sweden
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Identifier
2021-01007

Equitable Congestion Pricing

Background

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.

Lessons Learned

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:

  • Conduct Meaningful Community Engagement Activities. Meaningful and ongoing community engagement before and after implementation of congestion pricing can help make the system more equitable. Specifically, community engagement can help policymakers identify priorities for road-pricing strategies, develop and revise downtown zone discounts that meet community needs, and decide how to best spend CP revenue.
  • Use a pricing structure that strikes a balance between efficiency and equity. When implementing a congestion pricing scheme, planners should carefully consider any discounts or exemptions. For example, discounts for residents in the congestion pricing zone or for electric vehicles tend to inhibit efficiency of congestion pricing systems.
  • Have a clear plan for investing congestion pricing revenues. Investing congestion pricing revenues in improved public transit is the most efficacious use of revenues from congestion pricing. Public transit improvements also improves equity across the transportation system.
  • Collect high-quality data and report on outcomes. Collection of high-quality data can help public authorities understand how well the congestion pricing scheme is actually working. Disaggregated data about vehicles is most useful.