Reducing congestion : congestion pricing has promise for improving use of transporation infrastructure
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Reducing congestion : congestion pricing has promise for improving use of transporation infrastructure

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    Congestion pricing can potentially reduce congestion by providing incentives for drivers to shift trips to off-peak periods, use less congested routes, or use alternative modes, thereby spreading out demand for available transportation infrastructure. Congestion pricing also has the potential to create other benefits, such as generating revenue to help fund transportation investment. Possible challenges to implementing congestion pricing include current statutory restrictions limiting the use of congestion pricing, and concerns about equity and fairness across income groups. In theory, equity and fairness concerns could be mitigated depending on how the revenues that are generated are used. This testimony by JayEtta Z. Hecker, Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues, before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress addresses (1) the potential benefits that can be expected from pricing congested transportation systems, approaches to using congestion pricing in transportation systems, and the implementation challenges that such pricing policies pose, and (2) examples of projects in which pricing of congested transportation systems has been applied to date, and what these examples reveal about potential benefits or challenges to implementation. Projects were not necessarily able to demonstrate benefits for the full range of transportation users. For example, those who were able to use the special freeway lane saw a decrease in travel time, but in some cases there was little systemwide reduction in travel times, and congestion increased on alternative routes. Nonetheless, there is some evidence that equity and fairness concerns can be mitigated. Some projects have shown substantial usage by low-income groups, and other projects have used revenues generated to subsidize low cost transportation options. In addition, some recent proposals for refining congestion-pricing techniques have incorporated further strategies for overcoming equity concerns. 20 p.
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