A MWCOG study, paid for by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration Value Pricing Pilot Program and performed over 2011-2012 is ready to be presented tonight. The study deals with public attitudes towards various methods of pricing roads. They studies three scenarios - HOT lanes, GPS-based VMT with a congestion component and congestion zones or as they put it:
Scenario 1: Priced Lanes on All Major Highways – variably priced lanes on all interstates, as well as some other major roadways
Scenario 2: Pricing on All Roads and Streets – variable, per-mile pricing using vehicle-based GPS systems
Scenario 3: Priced Zones – drivers pay a fee to enter or drive within a designated area
The major conclusions are:
- People see congestion and funding as major problems, and that only goes up the more they learn and talk about it.
- People are very oppossed (86% opposed) to GPS tracking for road pricing - out of privacy concerns and a sense of a lack of choice. But they're OK with the other two scenarios (32% and 34% oppossed). With more information, support for HOT lanes increases, and support for GPS-based VMT decreases.
- "People were skeptical about the effectiveness of the scenarios, particularly in reducing congestion. They did not believe that pricing could actually reduce demand because, they said, driving for most people is a necessity not a choice. Participants emphasized that people in this region drive because they have to, not because they want to."
- Support for raising the gas tax went from 21% to 57% once people learned more about it and considered congestion pricing alternatives
Obviously, any effort to increase pricing for driving - especially congestion - will likely make cycling more appealing and possibly provide revenue for facility improvement.