Greater Washington Partnership advocates six performance-driven tolling principles

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The Greater Washington Partnership has released a new performance-driven tolling report, the first of three regional mobility briefs on significant transportation challenges in the Capital Region of Baltimore, Washington DC and Richmond.

The partnership is a first-of-its-kind civic alliance of CEOs from the leading businesses in the Greater Washington Capital Region. The organization’s new brief, Tackling the Capital Region’s Roadway Congestion: Performance-Driven Tolling, is the first of three studies of the region’s transportation issues.

The brief provides a roadmap for decision makers to deliver on the potential of performance-driven tolling in the Capital Region and offers six clear and demonstrable principles that the partnership feels should be deployed for all new tolling facilities, and when considering changes for existing tolling facilities.

The brief reveals that roadway congestion costs the Capital Region more than US$7bn annually, with Baltimore metropolitan region commuters losing US$1,115, and Washington commuters losing US$1,845 each year – the highest cost in the USA. While the Capital Region is at the national forefront of using performance-driven tolling to combat roadway congestion and improve mobility and access, not all of the region’s tolling facilities adopt performance-driven principles. As a result, the current patchwork system across the region’s highways means concentrated pockets of severe congestion, even at non-peak times, which are projected to get even worse in the years ahead.

The study explains that performance-driven tolling is a powerful tool, if deployed correctly, and has proven successful across the USA at reducing congestion, increasing speeds, improving reliability, enhancing access for all income levels and providing improved travel options for all consumers.

Developed through extensive analysis, direct engagement with stakeholders and decision makers, and with input from the Greater Washington Partnership’s nationally-recognized Mobility Steering Committee, the six Performance-Driven Tolling Principles are:

• Tolling investments should improve the transportation system, not just the tolled facility;

• Toll planning should be coordinated regionally to deliver the benefits of greater mobility and reliability to all consumers of the transportation system;

• Decision makers should prioritize providing enhanced connectivity to the greatest number of people, not moving the most vehicles or generating the most revenue;

• Consumers of all income levels should benefit from the tolling investment, including those without the financial means to afford the tolls;

• Tolling revenue should be invested in cost-effective public transportation enhancements;

• Public agencies should conduct robust and broad public engagement to develop goals, performance metrics and public benefit assessments for each tolling project, whether delivered by the public agency or by a public-private partnership.

“We need a serious, sustained effort across the Capital Region to address our excessive congestion, and the Partnership’s performance-driven tolling principles provide a clear roadmap for decision makers to do just that,” said Jason Miller, CEO of the Greater Washington Partnership.

“Implementing these principles can help create a truly super-regional transportation network, and in doing so create the connectedness needed to drive economic productivity, giving more people access to jobs, supporting better public transportation options, and guaranteeing that the public receives a high return on its investment in our infrastructure.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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