Economic Development Research Group Blog

CONGESTION PRICING – AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS FINALLY COME (TO THE U.S.)

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In the early hours of March 31 st , New York State took the landmark step of moving forward with implementation of a congestion pricing policy for Manhattan. [1] With this deal, NYC edges out other cities like Seattle [2] and Los Angeles [3] to be the first in the U.S. to impose a charge on all vehicles entering a specific zone of the city. Other kinds of congestion pricing like dynamic rates for express toll lanes have existed for years, but drivers generally have an alternative option to reach their destinations without paying a fee. Starting in 2021, that will not be the case for almost any vehicle traveling into Manhattan below 60 th Street – only emergency vehicles and vehicles transporting someone with a disability are exempt from the charge established in New York’s legislation. I wrote back in February about how congestion pricing and road usage charge discussions...
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ROAD PRICING MAY BE COMING: ECONOMISTS ARE ON BOARD, BUT WILL THE PUBLIC BE CONVINCED?

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Most people seem to agree with a “user-pays” principle for transportation infrastructure, especially for roads and highways. The fuel excise tax on gasoline and diesel has long been the primary source of federal and state transportation revenues. While economists have long advocated for other types of fees, transportation professionals, policymakers, politicians and even the public have just recently become more active in pricing discussions. A number of trends in transportation technology and behavior have launched this discussion, which was strongly evident this year at the TRB Annual Meeting. A lot of work that I shared at TRB this year considers how revenue policies might respond to the following trends and what the impacts of those revenue policies would be on household contribution to transportation funding in urban and rural areas respectively. Trend 1: Fuel Efficiency and Electrification. The most recent CAFE standards will significantly increase the fuel efficiency of the fleet,...
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Brand New National Travel Behavior Data

On August 8th and 9th, I had the opportunity to attend the 2018 National Household Travel Survey Workshop (NHTS)  in Washington, DC. I presented a poster called  Evaluating Alternative Transportation Revenue Regimes Using the NHTS Transferability Statistics , based on work EDR Group has done for the Western Road User Charge Consortium (RUC West). This NHTS data product from the 2009 survey allows us to estimate the travel behavior of households at a census tract scale across the U.S. To date we’ve examined 10 states to understand how revenue-neutral conversion from a gasoline excise tax to a road usage charge would affect different groups of households.   While I’ve used the NHTS for several different analyses at EDR Group—from comparing modal choices and trip characteristics to constructing time of day and weekly travel distributions—having only 2009 survey results was starting to be limiting. This conference was a great opportunity to discuss innovative uses of the data with other experts in the travel behavior field and learn about what’s new in the 2017 vintage...
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A Summer in Zurich

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Kyle Schroeckenthaler of EDR Group is on assignment to the offices of our parent company, EBP, in Zurich for the summer months.  While in Zurich, Kyle is working closely with the Resources, Energy and Climate division as well as the Transportation group to identify European and global best practices that could be beneficial to our US-based clients.  Kyle’s visit will especially support EDR Group’s ability to provide a range and depth of services to clients on new mobility topics such as vehicle electrification and automated and connected technologies effect on transportation systems.     Last month, I arrived in Zurich, Switzerland to start a two-month long visit, and I am working in the offices of EBP (our parent company) for the summer. I am working a lot with existing US-based projects and clients, but also have many other exciting opportunities to support our Swiss colleagues and build relationships that will be...
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