Focus on Congestion Relief

Congestion Reduction Toolbox:

Value Pricing

This concept, also known as congestion pricing or peak-period pricing, involves charging relatively higher prices for travel during peak periods. It is the same as that used in many other sectors of the economy to respond to peak-use demands. FHWA is partnering with state and local agencies to test a number of value pricing projects to determine their ability to reduce congestion and increase travel options.

With the costs of traffic congestion increasing at the same rate as the frustration levels of commuters nationwide, government officials and members of the transportation industry are seeking new strategies for addressing the problem of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Introducing value pricing to highway facilities brings transportation supply and demand into balance and keeps the lanes congestion free. Value pricing is a way of harnessing the power of the market to reduce the waste associated with traffic congestion. Many drivers would like to choose to bypass congestion by using priced lanes, particularly when they are in a hurry. Value pricing entails fees or tolls for road use that vary with the level of congestion. Fees are typically assessed electronically to eliminate delays associated with manual toll collection facilities.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) created the Value Pricing Pilot Program under Section 1216(a) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21, Public Law 105-178), which authorized the Secretary of Transportation (the Secretary) to enter into cooperative agreements with up to fifteen State governments to establish, maintain, and monitor local value pricing pilot projects.

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