USDOT Federal Highway Administration USDOT Home | FHWA Home | Feedback
Skip to main content

Road Pricing: Resources

USDOT Resources: Overcoming the Challenges of Congestion Pricing 2011 FHWA Webinar Series

Patrick DeCorla-Souza, Tolling and Pricing Program Manager, FHWA
Lee Munnich, Humphrey Institute, University of Minnesota
Kenneth Buckeye, Minnesota Department of Transportation
John Doan, SRF Consulting

Office of Innovative Program Delivery
Federal Highway Administration

Fifth Part of a Webinar Series on Overcoming the Challenges of Congestion Pricing.

Session 6: Dynamic Ridesharing and Congestion Pricing


  • Via Computer - No action needed
  • Via Telephone - Mute computer speakers, call 1-866-863-9293 passcode 57921953

Presentations by:

Audience Q&A: addressed after each presentation, please type your questions into the chat area on the right side of the screen

Closed captioning was available at:

Upcoming Webinars:

Recordings and Materials from Previous Webinars:

Upcoming Webinars:
August 25, 2011 - Pay-as-You-Drive Insurance
September 22, 2011 - Economics of Congestion Pricing and Impacts on Business
October 27, 2011 - Integrating Transit with Congestion Pricing and Increasing Congestion Pricing Acceptance
November 17, 2011 - Best Practices in Parking Pricing
December 15, 2011 - Results of the Urban Partnership and Congestion Reduction Demonstration Programs

Part 1: What is Dynamic Ridesharing?

Myron Swisher, SAIC
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

"20th Century" Ridesharing

  • Traditional TDM (1970s & '80s)
    • Car Pooling, Ride Share Matching, HOV Lanes
    • Static, Permanent, Daily
    • Save time AND $
  • Car Pool Lines "Slugging" (1990s)
    • Unofficial - Respond to demand
    • Primarily 3+ HOV
    • Flexible use, static locations

Dynamic Ridesharing

  • Social Networking and Smart Phone driven
  • Fully on demand & real-time
    • Pick up any where along route
    • Driver utilizes traveler information for real-time decision to car pool
    • Rider connects with driver through smart phone and GPS location

Synergy with Roadway Pricing and Other TDM

Monday Morning

Graph of Monday morning commute synergy

Synergy with Roadway Pricing and Other TDM

Tuesday Morning

Graph of Tuesday morning commute synergy

Synergy with Roadway Pricing and Other TDM

Wednesday Morning

Graph of Wednesday morning commute synergy

Part 2: The Federal Government's Interest in Dynamic Ridesharing

Marc Oliphant, AICP
Department of the Navy

Dynamic Ridesharing & Congestion Pricing Webinar

Why is Dynamic Ridesharing Important to the Government?

  • Reduces vehicle-miles traveled, leading to:
    • Congestion mitigation
    • Carbon and air-pollutant emissions cuts
    • New infrastructure expenditure reductions
  • Potential to provide socially-necessary transportation.
    • Senior citizens, dial-a-ride, college students

Photo: congested traffic Photo: people at bus stop

Why is Dynamic Ridesharing Important to the Government?

  • More efficient use of current infrastructure
    • Numerous possibilities for an increasingly connected world
  • Person throughput focus vs. vehicle throughput
    • Filling empty seats that are already making the trips

Photo: Busy traffic

Photo Credit: Mark Burris

Government Role

  • Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program funding.
    • Provided to State DOTs & MPOs
  • State and local funding
    • Federal Gov often matches

Photo: Waiting for a ride Photo: Vanpool riders

Government Role

  • Federal discretionary grant funding
    • Value Pricing Pilot Program (VPPP)
      • 2010: Santa Barbara, CA pilot program funded
      • 2011: 4 dynamic ridesharing applications (of 30 total)
    • Logo: slugging Tour 2010 - Leave no slug behindExploratory Advanced Research (EAR)
      • Scan tour of DC, Houston, and San Fran casual carpool lines
      • Focus Groups (upcoming)
    • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
      • 2011 DOT SBIR Phase I Project Funded & Underway
      • Specifically Investigating:
        • Automated HOV Reporting Solutions
          • Hardware (seat sensors)
          • Software Solution (ridematching software interface)
        • Syncing Ridematching Software w/ In-vehicle Computer

Logo Credit: Mark Burris

Part 3: Casual Carpooling in Houston

Mark Burris
Texas A & M University

Houston, TX

  • Slugging occurs at three locations
    • Kingsland and Addicks Park & Ride lots on I-10
    • NW Station Park & Ride lot on US 290
  • Occurs mostly between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM, concentrated during HOV3+ periods
  • Changes with HOV occupancy requirements
  • Mainly use transit for return trips, a small percentage slug back from Louisiana Street (downtown)

Map of Park and Rides

Northwest Freeway (US 290)

  • HOV Lane:
    • SOVs never allowed, Buses always free
    • from 5 am to 6:45 am
      • HOV 2+ Free
    • From 6:45 am to 8:00 am
      • HOV 2 pay $2 toll through QuickRide program
      • HOV 3+ free
    • From 8:00 am to 11 am and 2 pm to 7 pm:
      • HOV 2+ Free

Photo: Northwest Station 1 Photo: Northwest Station

Katy Freeway (I 10)

  • 1 HOV Lane (pre-2009):
    • SOVs never allowed, Buses always free
    • From 6:45 am to 8:00 am and 4 pm to 5 pm
      • HOV 2 pay $2 toll through QuickRide program
      • HOV 3+ free
    • Other times:
      • HOV 2+ Free
  • 4 Managed Lanes (2009 - present)
    • SOVs pay a toll all times, HOVs pay in off-peak
    • Buses always free

Photo: Katy- Kingsland Park and Ride Photo: Katy Park and Ride

Houston - The Trip Back

Photo: Bus at bus stop

Characteristics (2003 Survey)
Traditional HOV on the HOV lane
Carpool Passengers 4+times/wk
Transit Riders
Trip Purpose  
CommuteAB 85.0% 79.8% 96.0% 88.9%
Work (non-commute) 9.0% 5.8% 4.0% 7.3%
Other 6.0% 14.4% 0.0% 3.8%
Trips per Week 9.85 9.91 9.67 9.20
Male 60.9% 49.7% 50.7% 45.8%
Female 39.1% 50.3% 49.3% 54.2%
Number of VehiclesA 2.42 2.39 2.22 2.19

A Significant (p ≤ 0.05) difference when comparing all four modes
B Significant (p ≤ 0.05) difference when comparing casual carpooling and transit

Casual Carpool Passenger Characteristics
(n = 208, all slugs)
Familiarity With Current Carpool Companions  
Never traveled with before 65.3%
Traveled with once or twice before 28.1%
Travel with frequently 6.6%
Frequency of Casual Carpool Use
Everyday 52.0%
3 to 4 days per week 24.0%
1 to 2 days per week 19.9%
Less than once per week 4.1%
First time 0.0%
Mode Used for Evening Return Trip
Casual carpool 12.8%
Bus 66.3%
regular carpool with family or friends 5.1%
Drive alone 0.0%
Other 15.8%


Slug Counts
Date Kingsland* Addicks* Northwest Station
June 2009* 70
Ended just before 9, mostly 2 slugs
Ended around 8:30, mix of 1 and 2 slugs.
Ended just after 9, 2 slugs during QuickRide, 1 otherwise
October 2008*A 122
Ended just before 9, mostly 2 slugs
Ended around 8:45, mostly 1 slug.
Ended just after 9, 2 slugs during QuickRide, 1 otherwise
November 2003 161 203 214
June 2003 130 219 135

A Katy single HOV lane still (partially) operational but under transition to Managed Lanes
* Katy Managed Lanes (HOV 2+ Free) began November 2008
* Katy Managed Lanes Allowed SOVs for a toll beginning April 2009

Part 4: Washington State Department of Transportation - SR 520 Carpool Pilot Project

Shamus Misek
WSDOT Rideshare Program Manager

Paula Hammond
Secretary of Transportation

Brian Lagberberg
Director -Public Transportation Division

Congestion Pricing Webinar July 28, 2011

Public Transportation Related Experience

Rideshare Program Manager, WSDOT (2009-Present)

Manager, Research Transportation Programs - University of Illinois/Urban Transportation Center, Chicago (2001-2008)

Department Manager, Vanpool Services - Pace Arlington Heights, IL (1990-2001)

ADA Compliance Manager - Pace, Arlington Heights, IL (1989-1991)

Special Projects Manager - Pace, Arlington Heights, IL (1985-1989)

Senior Project Manager, Paratransit Services - Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Chicago, IL (1980-1985)

Overview of WSDOT Pilot Project

  • Identified in 2009 state transportation budget ($400K)
    • Develop a pilot carpool project -SR 520 corridor
    • Enables carpooling without pre-arrangement
    • Allows for transfer of rider credits between participants
    • Membership system
    • Pre-screening to ensure participant safety
Project Purpose and Objective
  • Design and Implement a limited scale carpool pilot
    • On an accelerated schedule
    • Examine its effectiveness in reducing vehicle trips and vehicle miles traveled (VMT)
    • Evaluate the costs and benefits
  • Target audience
    • Commuters who drive alone on SR 520

WSDOT Pilot Project Goals

  • Design project that is achievable within time period
  • Test the viability and feasibility of this type of project with and without tolling on the SR 520 corridor
  • Ensure the safety and security of project participants
  • Reduce vehicle trips and VMT
  • Report project results and lessons learned
  • Recommend future implementation possibilities

Pilot Project Challenges

  • Satisfying legislative intent and ensuring:
    • Pilot project participants' safety
    • Minimizing the state's potential exposure to liability and risk
    • Recruiting a significant pool of participants
    • Approving 250 drivers and 750 riders

Pilot Technology Overview

  • Mobile phone application employed for drivers
  • Drivers use GPS-enabled mobile smart phones
    • Verification of each ride
    • Capture trip - travel time, location and distance
  • Micro-payment capabilities
    • Between driver and rider
    • Based on miles traveled
  • Technology provides
    • Verifiable and auditable trip trail
    • SOV trip reductions
  • Pick-up/ drop off locations identified
  • Security features built into vendor application
    • Auto generated PIN# rider shows driver
    • Description of driver's vehicle
    • Screen icon shows individual has passed pre-screening requirements
    • Trip rating system
    • Driver and rider rating system

SR 520 Overview

  • SR 520 bridge tolling/Good to Go! marketing
  • Smarter highways traffic management technology
  • upgrades
  • King County Metro transit enhancements
  • Communications & public outreach
  • Vanpool promotion
  • Employer-based commute trip reduction programs

Vendor / Evaluation and Advisory Committee Concerns

Required pre-screening criteria requirements

  • Limit the potential pool of driver candidates
  • Difficult to attract 250 drivers
  • Deter some individuals from applying to participate
  • Turn away some individuals

Pre-Screening Criteria / Requirements

  • Driver candidates
    • DOL driving record abstract review
    • ($300 K) per accident minimum liability insurance coverage
    • Provide social security number (riders too)
    • Criminal background check (riders too)
    • Certify that to the best of their knowledge - followed prescribed vehicle manufacturer required maintenance schedule
Key Timeline & Activities
  • Oct 2010 - Contract executed
  • Nov 2010 - Vendor initiates beta testing and project benchmark stage
  • Dec 2010 - Benchmark stage completed
  • Jan 2011 - Formal launch and media campaign
  • Feb 2011 - Process to convert initial sign-ups to approved pilot users commences
  • March 2011 - Corridor strategy development begins
  • April 2011 - Expanded recruitment and driver 1.0 app on Windows Phone 7
  • May 2011
    • Evaluation activities
      • Exit surveys
      • Focus groups
    • Project wind-down / close-out
    • Transition from WSDOT funded to AVEGO funded pilot

Registrants and Participant Approval Process

  • 962 individuals signed-up to participate
    • 842 regular SR 520 commuters
    • 35 % Microsoft employees
  • 279 individuals provided their SSN
  • Fully approved
    • 89 riders
    • 9 drivers

What Potential Participants Said

  • Positive
    • Opportunity to save time (58%)
    • Opportunity to save $$ (42%)
      • Instead of driving solo
      • Impending tolls
    • Concept of real-time ridesharing was favorable
  • Negative
    • Did not want to provide SS # (49%) especially to a 3rd party

Potential Benefits / Opportunities

  • Additional tool in the TDM toolbox
  • Additional option for individuals to use in conjunction with or as a complement to transit
  • Alternative to driving solo to park-n-rides/rail stations
  • Can lead to more efficient use of current infrastructure

Government's Role Moving Forward

  • Financial investment (?)
  • Obstacles
  • Publicize/market it along with other commute trip option tools
  • Bring vendors to table with already established partners

Contact Info

Shamus Misek
Rideshare Program Manager
Public Transportation Division
P. O. Box 47387
Olympia, WA 98504-7387
(360) 705-7346

Part 5: Real-Time Ridesharing: Sonoma | Marin | Contra Costa | 2011-12

Brant Arthur


Logos - SCTA and RCPALogo - Climate Protection Campaign

Our Team:

  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission
  • Sonoma County Transportation Authority
  • Contra Costa Transportation Authority
  • Transportation Authority of Marin


Logos of MTC, CCTA, SCTA, and TAM

Photo by Ssshupeon Flickr

Our Approach:

As the Climate Protection Campaign:

  1. Pricing is one of the most effective methods for change
  2. Must line up policy, regulations and incentives]

In this pilot:

  1. Seat pricing instead of lane pricing
  2. Affinity groups key to a successful launch


July/Aug. '11 - Software RFP released

Sept./Oct. '11 - Sign contract with software vendor

Nov. '11 - Initial testing

Jan./Feb. '12 - Launch pilot

Feb.'13 - Transition


Survey question sample

Age: 78.5% of 18-24 year old willing to try; 39.5% of 56 and older

Income: 75% of participants earning up to $25k; 33% of those earning $100K more

Distance: 79% of those commuting over an hour vs. 53% with commutes under 15 minutes

Focus Groups:


  1. Price: Wide variability on what a "fair" price would be, but apparent consensus on avoiding negotiating
  2. Technology: Commuters had no problem with smartphones, while students had concerns about costs and lifestyle changes
  3. Schedule: Commuters more likely to have family concerns while students have less predictable schedules

Software RFP:

Important Features:

  • Focus on iterative design and outreach
  • Ability for the system to charge riders
  • Include transit matches


  • Submit Proposals: August 23, 2011
  • Interview Dates: September 13 - 14, 2011
  • More info:


Image of cell phone with Real-Time Ridesharing map displayed