Road pricing is now prominent among the many options that are being considered as part of the development of long range plans and other planning efforts of many Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Departments of Transportation (DOTs), and other transportation agencies. At present, most transportation planning organizations have no easy way of knowing whether a potential corridor is a good candidate for tolling without engaging in involved modeling of the study corridor.
The standard process of estimating traffic and revenue for a new toll project involves the application of detailed network models which are generally both time consuming and costly. As an alternative, the quick response tool road pricing screening tool can generate an order of magnitude estimate of traffic and revenue suitable for determining whether a more detailed study is warranted. This paper will describe the development of the tool and outline the ways that it can be used to screen potential new toll road corridors.
Data on facility characteristics and performance were compiled from 37 existing U.S. toll facilities. Statistical analysis of these data suggested relatively consistent and quantifiable relationships between several aggregate characteristics of the facilities and their resulting traffic and revenue experience. These relationships are represented in the pricing feasibility screening tool and the tool appears to provide good order-of-magnitude estimates for facilities beyond those used to calibrate the tool.
The tool described here has minimal data requirements, yet is capable of generating reasonable preliminary forecasts suitable for screening potential toll facilities. The approach is based on statistical analyses of data from several existing toll facilities in the country and, thus, incorporates the information that has been obtained from the operation of those facilities.
It should be noted that this tool is not a substitute for the detailed network models that produce interchange-level traffic estimates. Rather, it complements those models by facilitating an initial screening process that can be used to identify corridors that meet first-level traffic and revenue thresholds and are worth more detailed study using network models.