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
Center for Innovative Finance Support
Federal Highway Administration
Fourth Part of a Webinar Series on Overcoming the Challenges of Congestion Pricing.
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Overcoming the Challenges of Congestion Pricing webinar series. My name is Jennifer Symoun and I will moderate today's webinar, which will focus on Congestion Pricing Equity Impacts. Please be advised that today's seminar is being recorded.
Before I go any further, I do want to let those of you who are calling into the teleconference for the audio know that you need to mute your computer speakers or else you will be hearing your audio over the computer as well.
Today we'll have several presenters. We'll start off with Brian Taylor of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Policy, then Carol Zimmerman of the Battelle Memorial Institute, then Jamie Strauz-Clark of PRR, and then a joint presentation by Jack Opiola and Matthew Dorfman of D'Artagnan Consulting, and then we'll wrap it up with a brief presentation by Patrick Decorla-Souza of the Federal Highway Administration Center for Innovative Finance Support.
Today's webinar will last 90 minutes. We'll take questions following each presentation and then take questions at the end if time allows. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the chat area. Please make sure you send your question to "Everyone" and indicate which presenter your question is for. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box. If we are unable to get through all of the questions in the time allotted we will get written responses from the presenters and send them out with the follow up information.
The PowerPoint presentations used today are available for download from the file download box in the lower right corner of your screen. I would also like to remind you that this session is being recorded. The recording, presentations, and a transcript will be posted to the Tolling and Pricing web site within the next few weeks and I will send out a notice when they are available.
We'll now go ahead and get started. Our first presenter will be Brian Taylor, Professor and Chair of Urban Planning in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Policy.
Thank you. This is my first webinar so I am very excited to try this experience out. I'm going to start off with my game plan, give you an overview of what I'm go to do. My presentation is an overview or introductory presentation to the rest of the presentations that follow. This overview draws on four research projects that were conducted over the past six years, all looking at various aspects of equity and fairness as it relates to transportation finance and pricing.
I'm going to talk about ways of thinking of equity and transportation broadly. I'm going to talk about a framework for evaluating transportation finance equity. And then I'm going to talk about lessons from case studies that we have conducted here at UCLA at efforts to overcome equity objections to pricing. Other speakers will go into more detail on that so I won't spend an enormous amount of time on those studies themselves.
First, these are some ways of thinking about equity and transportation. Part of the motivation around this must particularly with pricing is not that pricing is being dealt with as a way of coping with congestion so much as public officials are interested in trying to find ways around the revenue shortfalls. For many officials who are very averse to the idea of pricing for a long time, they are now willing to consider it in part because such severe shortfalls. New technology is making it relatively easy for us to directly charge users for road use. Principles of efficiency and effectiveness support the turns towards tolling. This is both out of financial constraints and principles of efficiency and effectiveness are taking a turn toward tolling. All of which are coalescing around a push toward tolling. What about equity? This comes up for people around the country confronting these projects that might involve pricing.
Equity is very much in the eye of the beholder. We find if you look at the debates around equity as it relates to transportation finance and pricing, it is defined differently by different interests at different times. To paraphrase former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart on the question of pornography, most of us can precisely define equity or in equity and transportation finance, but we think that we know when we see it. That is often the way people operate. They operate somewhat inconsistent in principles of equity.
Because of this concept, many reasonable people can develop reasonable and often incongruent ways to define equity. In transportation policy, some of these debates are sincere, and some are tactical. That is, people may raise equity as a concern when it may not be their own motivation. This can create confusion for legitimate questions about public policy. A question that arises is, even if someone brings up equity concerns cynically, if they are valid, they are valid and we have to address them. Sometimes that has created some hard feelings and debates about this issue.
There are two general ways to think about transportation equity. One is that transportation is an end itself, and the other is transportation does, a means to an end. Now the transportation is concept is the transportation programs we talked about like highway programs, transit programs, fuel taxes, tolls, various programs that we have. Transportation does is about what we use for transportation for and how it facilitates economic and social activity. Both of these approaches have important equity considerations. That is, we can do a lot of research to look at, for example, how people have access to employment or education. Those are questions about equity as it relates to "transportation does". "Transportation is" is how we construct the programs.
When you think about how transportation does, it is a critical link to work, recreation, health care, culture and many other things hat we are in the business of providing for people. Public officials are highly concerned that people have sufficient levels of mobility or accessibility to quality of living. Public investment in transportation are needed to provide basic access to essential goods and services in so many times when talking about investments in transportation, and we have equity concerns, it is not about pricing per se, but how does present programs deliver an equitable program systems.
Have to pay raises a whole other set of questions. This "transportation is" is the focus of what I want to talk about here. If we think about transportation programs, the end of itself, there are four questions that are important with respect to the programs. Who pays for transportation? How and where do they pay? Who benefits from transportation? How and where do they benefit? Where is important in transportation as anything but not so much in equity issues or other areas. We are concerned with not only the people get the benefits but also where they pay for it.
If we think about trying to provide a series of justice for transportation finance, we can think about three basic philosophical approaches. We hear about things like horizontal and vertical equity and those are put in context but if we step back more broadly. We can think about egalitarian philosophies that tend to emphasize outcomes. That is fairer systems which results in about equal outcomes at the end. There are other differences or research-based philosophies which tend to emphasize opportunities. That is if your system is one where we give people an equal chance to succeed or fail on their own. The third set of philosophical questions is more libertarian. The emphasize markets and exchange. It is where people are able to make those kinds of exchanges on the market.
If we think about that in the background, it helps us understand why we can have a very conflicting views of equity we have these debates. We can turn around and think about kind of equity is to provide transportation and we find things like market equity, we end up with market arguments saying we should bring prices in line with costs in postwar benefits received. Opportunity equity would say we will treat individuals, interest groups or jurisdictions equally. Outcome equity, which is the most radical approach, is that we might redistribute resources that affect equal outcomes. We should think about people with equal levels of mobility. That is most rarely pursued in the US.
A question I want to ask is, when people are debating about equity, why are they so often talking about past? I think it is because of the different units of analysis. Other people bring this up later in their presentations.
What are some of the unit of analysis in transportation policy? We can talk about individuals or households, how residents, voters, travelers, fair. We can think about groups or interests. When we talk about group equity and how different groups fair with each out. Third and importantly, we have geographic or area focused. How do states, counties, legislative districts, how do they fair relative to one and another? In transportation, that geographic equity is a huge issue.
If we take different philosophical approaches and we take the different units of analysis, and we put it together, we can get a little bit of a framework like this that helps us think about why we might have such different views on these debates. You can think about, for example, opportunity equity and in groups, we say that in the middle there, each group received a proportionately equal share. That is meaningful view of equity that would be very different if we were to adopt one of these other boxes. This framework has helped us think about how it is that we are going to frame it for the project or program we are trying to deal with and help in a public hearing, we might hear very different people from different views were coming from different perspectives.
Now, if we were going to use this, we could look at the framework that we compare, for example, something like congestion tolls and sales taxes. To give one example here, if we look at individual units of analysis, we have market equity as an approach which is that more libertarian approach. We say that equity is high for congestion tolls if the revenues were targeted to improve facilities used by toll payers. For sales tax as we might say from this prospective equity might be low because tax payments are unrelated to costs imposed or benefits received, with no sort of market focus to it.
We could look through this particular perspective and identify the box, look at the type of toll or comparison that you're making, and come up with different ways of developing metrics to evaluate equity.
This is the more narrow question about if congestion pricing fair? Just about everyone has an opinion on that. I think it is a political issue, often because of the grounds that it is unfair. Work that we have done in the US and around the world find that it arises in one way or another frequently when applied to congestion pricing. So, beyond just the views, their feelings about them are often visceral, amorphous and inconsistent. People have one view at one time and another at another and they think it is internally consistent but it is not, philosophically.
The number of projects in the US and abroad continues to grow but keep in mind the considerable political skepticism about the fairness of the idea. Many road pricing proposals, especially early on, almost always fall victim to political objections and not just technologically or operational objections. Often, either sincerely or tactically, it is something on equity grounds.
In the US, the HOT lanes are really the most popular approach we have seen so far. We have many cities either have them or are building them and we have more who are considering them. HOT lanes add choices and in the US that is very popular. You have the choice to pay tolls to bypass traffic or remain in the congested free lane. They are generally proven popular in the US. But they have often raised considerable equity concerns during planning and implementation and continue to do so here in my hometown of Los Angeles. Plans for area in system wide pricing are also progressing, but much more slowly. These are mostly in the form of feasibility studies and pilot testing here in the US, although they have been informative elsewhere in the world.
Now opposition to these other forms of pricing is much stronger in the US, in particular cordon pricing. We find that there are fewer equity concerns with truck tolls, but I would like to think that is because the vast majority of people are not truck drivers and they like to impose taxes on other peoples. There is a growing literature on empirical studies actually trying to measure fairness to various pricing alternatives. This is a graph of study I did a few years ago. Where we compared the express lanes in Orange County and what was happening as we shifted from the toll lanes to a sales tax format, we found that the burden would be shifted away from the middle class and onto the very poorest people and onto the highest people. In a sense, the sales tax was much more unfair to the poorest people in that county. But it did have an interesting distribution.
There are more studies like that can be used as information to inform these debates. Equity concerns are raised far less often to hike fuel or sales taxes for transportation. In other words, the equity bar is much higher for pricing proposals. Now, I want to turn to some lessons from case studies of efforts to overcome equity objections to pricing and I think other speakers are going to fill in the blanks on some of these. We looked at 14 pricing projects worldwide about two years ago and we found that equity issues were common to all of them and there was a pivotal role in these three US cases.
What were some of these lessons learned? I will wrap up with this. First, we found that when equity is dealt with successfully it is addressed early in the process. It was not swept under the rug that was addressed up front and early on. There was broad-based support secured among the wide variety of public interest groups for pricing and programs. Trust is built between elected officials and transportation agencies ahead of time on these programs so that the equity concerns would not rear up the end. Also a constituency for the toll revenues was organized. People who are going to be benefiting were organized in advanced to argue that their benefits would be accrued from that.
Quickly, what were some of the things? When equity is explicitly addressed at the outset, elected officials are less likely to harden opposition on equity grounds. This increases process of transparency and encourages players to sincerely address equity.
Now, in terms of broad-based support, just the fact that community outreach increases comfort with the idea for pricing, whether it is fair. It is just the fact that people are making this effort to reach out. Public education can also lead so some to argue for pricing to correct current inequities. That is that early on people are looking at how the system is paid for now, public officials and members of the public can start to argue that using pricing is actually correcting it.
And open ongoing sincere public dialogue was common to every successful case of implementation we looked at. That is just that really was this pushed through or hammered through on people. People were involved.
Now, trust between public officials and transportation agencies also came up as a big issue. Road pricing equity concerns stretched well beyond low-income travelers and there is a lot of equity concerns between different agencies and the reason between the state and regional agencies between federal and local, and a lot of this concerned fairness and equity issues. The geographic distribution for revenue collection and distribution is central. That is, coming up with an agreement that you feel comfortable with. Geographic equity concerns arise more frequently when all or part of the toll revenues is slated for other modes or other places. For example, early proposals for Stockholm and New York which put a very large share to public transit created some backlash.
The use of toll revenues affects both the actual and perceived equity of transportation pricing. Engineers tend to focus on pricing as a way to increase efficiency while public officials and focus on revenues. Geographic equity concerns can be addressed by dedicating the revenues to improvements to the tolled corridor or by explicitly defining the allocation of toll revenues which increases the transparency and trust. But a primary focus as he mentioned, on transit is proven problematic. Transit can help increase equity but if it is directed primarily or exclusively at transit, that has proven an issue.
As I conclude, pricing raises equity concerns more than other forms of transportation finance. There is little empirical support for the idea that pricing is less fair than other forms of transportation finance but pricing tends to get more scrutiny than other forms of transportation finance. We can think about equity in a framework that helps us understand why people may be talking past one and another. Road pricing is most likely to be of limited when equity issues of all kinds are addressed up front and outreach and education efforts are sincere. Most public officials benefit pricing by principally in the revenue generated and active consistencies are very important. Equity issues are more likely to be successfully negotiated in places with track records of political trust and intergovernmental cooperation.
Thank you very much. On here at the top is a reference to a report for the BiPartisan Policy Center, looking at the framework and case studies for road pricing equity. Thank you.
Well, thank you, Brian. I don't currently see any questions typed in the chat area. What we will do is just move on to our next presenter, and then we can circle back at the end if anybody does think of questions for Brian and come back to Brian for those questions. So, our next presenter will be Carol Zimmerman, Director of Highway Operation Programs and ITS at Battelle. I will bring up your presentation and you can go ahead.
I will talk today about the equity analysis that is part of the national evaluation of projects sponsored by US DOT under the name of the Urban Partnership Agreement and the Congestion Reduction Demonstration program. As you can see from the pictures along the bottom of my first slide here, there are six sites: Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Minnesota, the Minneapolis area of Minnesota, San Francisco, and Seattle. These were awarded fairly large contract to undertake projects where the central focus was on various kinds of pricing.
As indicated on the next slide, among these six sites there were a variety of different types of pricing projects. There were HOT lanes, but at two of the site, there are variable parking pricing: San Francisco and Los Angeles. At one site, Seattle, an entire road, Route 520, is being priced. I would also point out, as a context for the evaluation activity that we are conducting, is that equity is one of 12 areas of the evaluation. It is not the only thing, it is important but there are other areas that we're looking at, such as congestion and safety and environmental impact.
I would also point out, since my presentation today will be focusing mostly on the methodology that we are using, since the results from the evaluation of these are not generally available, some projects are still being deployed. I would note that the local partners at each site are responsible for collecting most of the data, including that of which is being used in the equity analysis. There are a couple of exceptions to this. One is that in Seattle and Atlanta, the Volpe center is conducting travel surveys before and after the implementation of pricing. Battelle is conducting interviews with stakeholders that are the representatives of the deploying agencies in each area and some other organizations.
So, the implications of this is that the resources that are available to do customized research focusing on equity are fairly limited and so we are drawing on various types of information, as you'll see in the slides that follow.
I should also mention the background, for those of you not familiar with the UPA and CRD project as they are called, is that in addition to pricing projects all of the sites have enhancements to their transit system on the area where the pricing is occurring. All, except I should note San Francisco, but the other sites have enhanced their transit to provide improved alternatives for travel, for people who want to consider transit to expand their mobility options. And there are other enhancements as well that are taking place under the rubric of the four Ts: tolling, transit, telecommuting, and technology.
Okay, moving along to the equity analysis. The approach that we are using addresses four principal questions that you see there. One is, looking at various socioeconomic groups in each site, what are the direct effects on them in terms of project pricing impact? The same data will be used and looked at from a spatial distribution standpoint as well. Were certain areas receiving more of the cost or more of the benefits than others? In particular, we want to focus on low income and minority groups within each site to see if they were receiving differential impact from the pricing project. Finally, if there are revenues above and beyond that needed for operating the pricing system, how are they being reinvested? What are the equity implications of such reinvestment strategies? In some sites where there are planned in the original designs of the project, there may be some mitigation measures that are being implemented. In those cases, we will look at the effectiveness of those mitigation measures.
Okay, so now I'm going to run through just a few slides here, just to explain to you what data we are going to be using in this equity analysis at these sites. One important area is to look at the change in the cost of transportation that people are paying. And here you see different types of costs that we are going to analyze. One would be tolls paid. Parking paid, transit affairs, operations of vehicles. and adaptation or inconvenience costs is another type of cost that we thought we might try to include, but it does not seem that data will be available for that category unless it is from anecdotal data from focus groups or something like that. The other cost measures, we do have the means to try to look at them, such as from the toll data, we will have that both from the traveler surveys, such as in Atlanta and Seattle, but also the toll system data. This system will generally be tolls that are being paid and those can be analyzed by customers' location. We won't have demographic or socioeconomic status from the toll system but will have zip code data and can associate those with Census data and brought out findings from them.
Cost data is one type of equity data source that we will be looking at. Another will be the travel impact on people and this will come primarily from surveys in the form of finding out: what their travel time was, the change in travel time before and after implementation of the pricing projects, and systems that they travel.
We will also look at air quality impacts for changes in emissions. This is a little bit trickier because to find out the people who were impacted, we have to look at where the emissions are being generated and for that, we will be drawing on traffic data that will look at changes in VMTs by roadway link. We will associate those links with some area measures such as zip code or Census track in the neighborhood nearest road links. Emission factors will be applied to VMTs to understand that the air quality changes are before and after pricing.
Another source of data we will be looking at people's perceptions of fairness of pricing, especially on low income groups and that will come obviously from things like survey data. Similarly, asking about attitudes toward pricing as a general strategy for reducing congestion or in the case of San Francisco, and Los Angeles, increasing the availability of parking. Another type of reception data will be coming from the stakeholders who we interview to get their perspective on how well the public has accepted the pricing projects at their site.
As I mentioned earlier, we will be looking at how each site uses revenues generated in their pricing projects and here again, we will turn to the stakeholders to understand how they would expect any net revenues above and beyond the operating costs of their pricing programs, how those revenues would be used and how they would desire them to be used. Bear in mind that we will only be looking at the first year after the pricing projects are deployed. So, there won't be huge revenues, if any generated within the first year. We will be looking more at their plans for the use of such revenues when they accumulate.
We will first see whether the site did incorporate any mitigation measures in their plans that would mitigate the potentially negative effects of pricing on vulnerable populations. I note here that the prime example of that is in Los Angeles where they have established credit programs for frequent transit users and also a program for low income households who would qualify so that they can get toll credits or could use credits for their transit use. We would be looking then to see how those programs have been successful. Have people been taking advantage of them? But, mitigation measures could be looked at from another standpoint, as well, and that would be transit improvements and being kind of the carrot, if you will. This is to get people to think about their mobility options in a broader way. People will have to pay the toll in order to get more bus facilities, bus runs are set up, more park and ride lots are established, making it easier to get to buses, those could be measures as well.
Unlike many services, Miami has launched and we do have results from Miami. I would point out that Miami itself was responsible for its evaluation where as the Battelle team is focusing primarily on the other sites. Miami was so far ahead of the curve in their deployment that DOT asked them to take care of their evaluation because they were too early to take advantage of the national evaluation.
The survey results for bus riders in Miami where the express buses on the I-95 Miami area can make use of the HOT lanes and what has been found over the three-year period is that ridership has increased substantially as the buses have become more attractive in that they have cut down on the time it takes to get to their destinations in Miami and more service has been implemented.
It is also found that the service has attracted proportionately different clientelle, more men, white, and higher income populations. There has been a shift, somewhat, in those ridership characteristics. However, I would say from an equity standpoint, another point could be made that the population of previously rode the buses and are still doing so are continuing to benefit from the service improvements, even though the service has attracted a broader ridership characteristics.
I would also note that in Miami, when the HOT lanes were implanted, they did not just convert from an HOV lane to a HOT lane, they actually added two lanes. There have been benefits in the general-purpose lanes that are available to everyone who was previously driving their own vehicles. As the statistic here note, the morning peak speed has climbed from 19 to 42 mph in the general-purpose lanes, and it is even greater in a HOT lane. What that means is that lower income drivers were previously using the general-purpose lane don't have to pay polls to get a faster ride there and continue to use the general-purpose lane and are traveling faster than previously.
So, those are the only actual results that we have to date to share. The next site where we will be able to analyze is in Minnesota. Their projects have all deployed as of October last year and so we are collecting a year of post-deployment data and will be analyzing that data after that.
And so, the next steps are that we will be issuing reports on the evaluation results and equity analysis along with other analysis areas. Those individual reports will be issued as the site deployment finishes the evaluation and so starting next year, with Minnesota and then finishing up Los Angeles is last site to be completed. And then there will be a summary report across all of the site findings.
If you would like more information, an Urban Partnership and Congestion Reduction Demonstration programs, there is a link here to DOT's website where you can find out more information.
Okay, thank you, Carol. We have some questions so we will take about five minutes to get into as many questions as we can. Let's see here. This one might be more meant for Brian. How might the Housing and Transportation Index and result of Brookings Transit Access Ratings be used to apply to equity? Thinking beyond just transportation and moving to a whole holistic view of livability?
You think that one is for Brian?
I don't know. Are you able to answer that one or do you think it is more directed to Brian?
It seems like a Brian question. I would have to think about it.
Okay, I was not quite sure. Brian, we will get back to you at the end. In a slide describing the data source for transit costs, what is applied by mode shift?
Well, by mode shift, what I meant was that we want to look at people in our travel surveys. In the case of transit, it is the onboard surveys where we will be asking them how they travel prior to pricing and obviously there on the bus, then. So for those people who have shifted from say driving their own car to transit, we will have that information in and can assess their change in travel costs, in this case, they're paying transit fares rather than cost associated with driving a vehicle.
I understand that many of the pricing projects have generated enough revenue to essentially cover debt service, operations and maintenance, with little access revenue. Given this, what are alternative ways of addressing equity that does not involve dedicating excess revenues to transit?
Well, I guess that is not something that I am necessarily answering from the evaluation standpoint. Our job is to measure those revenues and find out from the site what they are planning to do with them. I would differ that back to one of the deployers to address that.
Okay. Again, this one might be more of a deployer one, too. If pricing improves efficiency, it would likely increase VMT due to increased use. How would you address air quality impacts in this instance?
Is this an induced-demand kind of question? Well, that is one thing that we will be looking for. Is there an increase in VMT? Also, the emissions factors are based on speed so it is hard to know at this point how the emissions will actually sort themselves out. There will be a combination of those two things, VMT and speed. Whether the air quality changes or not will have to be determined.
Mitigation measures sound a lot like the discussion related to carbon offsets, meaning that we could use the increased revenues more than transportation costs, for example, to buy food, rent, basic necessities, and more livability. So this is just a comment. Another question is how to address the negative perception that transit ridership is directly related to your socioeconomic level?
The last data that I presented on Miami indicates that when transit is seen as an attractive alternative, in this case in the travel time and other features associated with what they are doing and in Miami, it clearly is not associated with low income, necessarily, if it is attracting more ridership.
It is also the case that these are commuter buses which generally serve a different population than, say the transit buses that serve the population on normal street, non-highway. So, I think that each site is looking hard from the standpoint of these express buses, to enhance or make them more attractive. This will let people know about them so that they can attract the commuter base along their highways, which do tend to be higher income perhaps than average for the region.
We will take one last question that is typed in and we'll move on. In Miami, did the Express Buss survey account for higher unemployment hence people using buses as opposed to driving personal vehicles? What about higher fuel prices?
This survey did not because it took place kind well before the current spike in fuel prices. So, I would have to go back to the survey to see what questions might have been asked about what motivated them to change and whether fuel prices were. I don't know the answer offhand but I could look that up and reply afterwards, Jennifer.
Okay, thank you. I saw one more question came in but we'll have to move onto the next presentation. Carol, if you want feel free to type in a response to the last question that came in or I could also send it to you after.
Will do, thank you.
Thank you, Carol. We'll move on to our next presenter, Jamie Strausz-Clark, Director of Public Affairs and Policy for PRR
Thank you and I apologize in advance I have a little cough so you'll have to forgive me as I have to start coughing for a moment.
Thank you for inviting me to present this analysis. I'm presenting on behalf of my client, the Washington State Department of Transportation which I will refer to from here on out as Wash DOT. A little local info for those of you not from this area, it is not Wiz DOT. The people who work there don't like it when you call it that, it is Wash DOT.
I will give you an overview, kind of a roadmap of my presentation. I will begin by defining environmental justice and explain why we look at environmental justice affects on transportation projects and then I will describe the project context which Carol covered some of that in her presentation so that will be fairly short. I'm going to describe our research methodology and review our key findings and then discuss the mitigation alternatives that Wash DOT is agreeing to, provide the analysis of the final environmental justice determination, and lastly talk about the next steps because this is really the beginning of the conversation about environmental justice, equity, and congestion pricing. I have some thoughts on what could be done to advance the emerging science.
This is a background of environmental justice. It acknowledges that the quality of the environment affects our lives and negative environmental effects should not disproportionately burden low-income or minority communities. Environmental justice is also about ensuring that the benefits of public projects are evenly distributed and lastly, environmental justice is by providing meaningful opportunities for participation in transportation decision-making to low-income and minority people.
So, I will talk a little bit about how environmental justice relates to transportation. In response to a concern that low-income and minority people bear the amounts of adverse health and environmental justice affects public project. President Clinton issued Executive Order 12898 in 1994 and this directs each federal agency to make environment just as part of its mission. Following that order, US Department transportation issued an order for how analysis should be performed and how environmental justice should be incorporated into the transportation decision-making process. This order required federal agencies to consider human health and environmental effects related to transportation projects that could have a disproportionately high effect on low-income and minority. Also, implement procedures to provide meaningful involvement for this population and later Federal Highways issued a similarly worded order.
I'm going to talk a little bit about the populations covered under environmental justice guidance. Covered populations include people with household incomes at or below the poverty level. This table shows the property level for each household size but also covers populations that define themselves as a person having origins in any of the racial groups of Africa, Hispanics, a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban or central South American. This is regardless of race. Other categories include Asian, or a person having origins in any of the original people of the Far East, Asian, or the subcontinent, and also Pacific Islander or anyone originating from the Pacific Islands. American Indian or Alaska native could be a person having origins in any of the original peoples North America and to maintain cultural identification.
For the purposes of tolling, however, I focused mainly on low-income populations because this is really an income issue. One other note I want to make, although limited English proficient populations are technically not one of the cover populations under federal environmental justice guidelines, this is really under limited in most proficient populations under title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I did consider them in this analysis and talked with our regional Federal Highway Office about this and we determined that because the limited English proficient populations would be affected in many but not all of the same ways as low income populations, that we should talk about them in the environmental justice analysis.
I want to give you a little bit more context on the project that I analyzed. Carol gave you some background on the Urban Partnership Agreement. It is a federal grant to apply variable tolling and other strategies to reduce congestion in the SR 520 corridor in the greater Seattle area. This is to price an existing facility. The environmental justice that I did was for an environmental assessment. How the tolling will work here is this is going to be all electronic tolls with no toll booths and users will either have to purchase an electronic transponder and set up a prepay toll account or pay by mail. They will be collected in both directions and will be variable. Rates will vary by time of day. This is just a little background on this particular facility for those of you not familiar with the area. This facility carries traffic for a lot of the employers from Seattle to Bellevue and Redmond, including Microsoft. It also carries traffic from the suburbs to Seattle. It can get highly congested. I used to take this every day and sometimes could sit for as long as one hour. It could be highly congested during peak travel periods. There will be two toll rates on this facility. A lower rate for vehicles with the transponder accounts, and a higher rate for vehicles that received a bill and pay by mail.
So, I'm good to talk a little bit about the methodology. Typically, when we conduct environmental justice analysis, and I have conducted several not just on price facilities, we look at affect facility on people living nearby facility. For example, we might evaluate the construction impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. And whether low income or minority neighborhoods are affected or we look at the effects on bisecting a low income or minority communities with a new transportation facility.
In this case, the primary effects, adverse and beneficial, are on the users so we had to identify a new methodology. The challenge is that congestion pricing was not defined at the national level which meant that we had to identify our own approach.
As far back as 2007, we worked closely with our regional Federal Highway Office to develop and implement methodology for evaluating effects for congestion pricing on users. The study approach that we took was with the help of Wash DOT, we identified the SR 520 travel shed by videotaping license plates on and off ramps in the mainline during peak, nonpeak, and weekend periods. This took place in May 2008. Wash DOT provided licenses plate information which translated into home addresses for registered vehicles and PRR used a reverse directory to associate addresses with telephone numbers. We as telephone numbers to conduct telephone survey of users and also use them to recruit focus groups and Spanish-language telephone interviews.
This is a map that shows you the SR 520 travel shed and the dots on the map represent the addresses associated with the registered owners of the videotaped vehicles. This gives you an idea of how we look at the travel shed. This is the poverty data from 2000 overlaid with the travel shed and I'm going to use an arrow to show you. The darker shading here shows higher concentrations of low income populations. As you can see, the travel shed contains some low income populations. Here is an area and here's another one. This is the University of Washington is located. What you can see here is that the dots overlaid with this will show you where there are higher concentrations of people who use the bridge. We look for places where they were both lots of dots and darker shading. Right there, for example.
As you can see from this map, if you spend time looking at it, this is not a facility used overwhelmingly by low income populations. We have done other travel shed maps and other facilities such as I-90 down here have much higher concentrations of low-income populations using it.
Let me talk about our data collection. As I said, PRR conducted a random sample telephone survey of SR 520 Bridge users. We also conducted a transit intercept survey. We had a crew go out to park and ride lots for transit that serves the SR 520 Bridge and we distributed a paper survey and pencils and paper survey was a self mailer with a postage paid so people could fill it out and drop it in the mail. We conducted focus groups with SR 520 Bridge users and also conducted Spanish-language telephone interviews.
This chart shows you a simplified and how it broke down from low income minority and non-environmental justice populations. I should also mention that with a telephone survey, we set quotas for reaching minority and low income bridge users.
This is a quick role of the potential effects and I am going to speak about each of these in turn. First, congestion pricing that benefits low-income users. The cost of tolls does burden some of the low income users. Transit was not viable alternative for some low income users. Un-tolled routes added time and distance. And, the transponder technology adds burden for low-income users.
Starting, some low income users support congestion pricing. We found that a faster more reliable trip is a benefit to all users. It may particularly benefit some low income users. Nearly 36% of low income respondents to our telephone survey, half of the low income focus group participants, and all of the Spanish-language interviewees indicated that they would pay a toll for the benefit that it was a value of a faster, more reliable trip. This was consistent with a lot of the HOT studies we found in the literature review that we did at the beginning of the study which pretty much found that tolls may be less costly than traffic delays for some low income families.
We also found that tolls would present a burden to some low income users. Many low income users indicated on the survey that they would avoid the toll. Sixty eight percent of the respondents indicated that they would change their travel behavior to avoid the toll. When we probe this more in focus groups and Spanish-language interviews, we found that tolls would be a burden on their selves and for their families and while some will think that they would forgo the trip or use an untolled alternative, others would have to give up other family expenditures in order to continue their current travel patterns.
We found that transit was not perceived to be a viable alternative for many of the low income users that were involved in our study. 51% of low-income telephone survey respondents said they would not use transit to avoid the toll. Of those who said they would not use transit, 53% said that service was too infrequent and 56% said that they were too far from transit for it to be convenient for them. We also found from broader outreach that many low income users are actually car dependent because they live in areas where transit service is not possible for them or they might have a disability that does not allow them to use traditional transit or they may have a number of children that they're driving around or they have a number of stops making in a day. Transit is just not an option for them. I do want to note that as part of the UPA project, our region is implementing new transit service, but at the time that the survey was fielded, which was 2008, the region had agreed in principle that there would be new transit service but the specific changes have not yet been planned. People responding to the survey were not aware of the service.
Moving on, untolled routes would add substantial time and distance. We found that more than 64% of low-income telephone survey respondents said they would use untolled routes to avoid the toll but of those who said they would use untold routes, 67% said that it would greatly increase travel time and 97% would greatly increase travel distance and of course, by increasing trouble distance you're increasing the cost because you're adding to both gas and wear and tear on the car.
Lastly, transponders create burden for a couple of reasons. One challenge is that 25% of the low income telephone survey respondents indicated that they would not be able to use a credit, debit or checking account to prepay for their transponder. This is consistent with regional studies that show substantial low income population do not have access to credit or debit accounts. We found that nearly 20% of low-income respondents to the telephone survey said they could not afford the $12 transponder. As mentioned, there would be two toll rates on the SR 520 Bridge, one would be for folks who have a transponder and a higher rate would be for those who do not and pay by mail.
At the time we did the study, those rates have not been determined so we just refer to it as a surcharge. We did not know what level it would be but we concluded that if it was higher if you do not have a transponder that could respond to a burden for low-income people.
A couple of other equity impacts associated. First are the impacts associated with limited English proficient populations. Because this is an electronic system and would be fairly new to the region, it would involve sending up a transponder recount and prepaying. We were concerned that limited English proficient populations would have difficulty understanding the electronic system and changes coming to the bridge. We also, after doing a lot of outreach, found that the toll may present a burden to social service agencies that provide transportation to low income clients. We have some nonprofit organizations that provide private para-transit services and those services are not exempt from the toll.
Mitigation. The first one is transit improvements, I mentioned that earlier. Part of this project, the region would be increasing transit availability across SR 520. This would be especially important coming to or from communities with higher concentrations of low-income populations. A second mitigation strategy would be establishing customer service centers at either end of the bridge where people who did not have debit, credit or checking account could purchase transponders and establish their accounts with cash. That would help the unbanked population. Similarly, Wash DOT was exploring establishing transponder retail outlets at grocery retail stores. Wash DOT has enabled using Electronic Benefits Transfer cards to purchase transponders and reload them. The EBT card is used by people who received public benefit would have to purchase groceries or other items.
Wash DOT committed to conducting multi-language outreach and the ones that were selected were the ones which the Department of Licensing users where they do translation and interpretation. Those are Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. All of this outreach is to provide information about a transponder, establishing an account, and using a system. Also, this was to provide training to social service workers to provide information to their clients about tolling and options to avoid the toll.
So, it all comes down to the environmental justice determination which is how you conclude on the environmental justice analysis. The effect is disproportionately high and adverse if low income and/or minority populations will other predominately bear the effect or suffer the effect and the effect will be considerably more severe or greater magnitude than those suffered by the general population. In the case of this project, the population would not predominately bear the effect. Everyone who used the facility will be paying the toll except for the transit and registered vanpools. The effect would be more severe for environmental justice populations. The toll will be the same for everyone and will represent a greater proportion of low income users' income than a high income user. However, similarly, this is true for the cost of the transponder. It would be the same for everyone. This cost would have a higher impact on those with a lower income. We concluded that with the mitigation outline, most of the adverse effects of the avoided or minimized and therefore no disproportionately high or adverse effect would remain.
I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about what I think might be recommended next steps for emerging this science. This is the beginning of the conversation and there is no nationally defined methodology for evaluating equity and congestion pricing. So, one thought I had was that we really need to do deeper examination of benefits to low-income people of congestion pricing. As that study showed us earlier, many low income populations indicated that the cost of the toll was actually less than the cost to delay and we need to have more data on that.
Another thought was evaluating the effects of system-wide congestion on low-income populations. This was a project specific analysis and we looked at untolled routes as an alternative to using this facility. However, here in this region, we have a long-term transportation master plan that will be pricing all of the major highways and so we need to look at what those impacts would be; benefits and adverse impact on the income populations. We also need to evaluate the effectiveness of both the mitigation strategies that we identified and other mitigation strategies that other regions are looking at. Right now, there is not a clear idea of the kinds of mitigation strategies that DOT and state should be implementing.
For tolling projects designed to raise revenue, I think there should be a study and there has been some studies, but more localized studies of the impact of tolling compared to other revenue strategies. What is really important for any community that is looking at congestion pricing and tolling is to define what is fair and acceptable in terms of equity at either at the local, state or national level. Those decisions are well above my pay grade and I think not even something that Wash DOT can define. It is something that has to be defined at the legislative level.
If you would like more information about the analysis and our conclusions, this is a link to the Environmental Justice Discipline Report for the Urban Partnership SR 520 Partnership. I will blow through this slide so you might have time to copy that you can download my presentation or do Google search.
Carol Lee Roalkvam has graciously agreed to be the contact if you have future questions about this project. I will be grilled in a minute and will answer what I can but she will be happy to answer any questions so feel free to get in touch with her.
Thank you, Jamie. We're going to try to move quickly through these questions so we have time to get onto the next presentation. The first question is: environmental justice assessments are a required part of the environmental review, however if a project receives a Categorical Exclusion and does not have to do a review, how can environmental justice reviews be incorporated into planning and analysis?
That is a good question and I don't think I can answer that. I would have to talk with my colleagues at Wash DOT before I will answer that. Is that something I could get back to you after the conclusion of this?
Sure. The next question is: what is the range of percent surcharges for pay by mail that were considered?
You know, at the time, that is a good question. At the time that we did the study, there was no clarity on what those would be. I'm going to have to ask, at least not from our end. I will have to ask my colleagues if they can give you a better sense of timeline for looking at those. Rates are established now and they are much lower than we were imagining the highest scenario would be. They're more on the order of a few, you know, $0.50 to a $1.50. I may be speaking out of turn here so again, I would like to get back to you. But at the time, there was a wide range of discussion. There is nothing on the order at this point such as $30. But, if you're traveling the bridge, both ways and you are paying a toll in both directions, even a surcharge of $.50 each way could add up. I will get back to you after I consulted with my client so I can better understanding the timeline and the range of surcharges which were discussed.
Can you explain what method you use to reach populations that no longer have home phones and only use cell phones? Also, if there is a dependency on car use because transit is not an option, are the user's owners and if not to the toll prices affect them the same way?
Those are good questions. We have a number of strategies for reaching cell phone only households. There is a sample lists that you can purchase that actually provide you with cell phone numbers and there are some other strategies that we use. At the time that we did this study and we used the reverse phone directory, we were primarily relying only on reaching household at the number associated with the address of the videotape license plate. So, that was a limitation of this study.
The second part of your question is: are the user's owners and if not, do the toll prices affect them the same way? That is another good question and the way we handle that was we would call the number associated with the registered vehicle owner and then we had some screening questions, for example how often do you use the SR 520 Bridge? We would only move on through the survey if someone indicated that they used it two or more days a week. We also, in order to meet our quota for people that had incomes at or below the party threshold we asked them a series of questions about their income. Of course, this was all anonymous, but about their household incomes of that we could determine if they met that threshold or not. Even if we happened to get on the phone with someone who is not an owner of that car, if they indicated that they both cross the bridge two days a week and they have household income that was at or below the federal poverty level, we would field the survey with them.
One more question. Would not even a cash account be a burden for low-income users? Many cannot afford a deposit as it would be multiples of a toll.
That would be a burden for users. I wish I knew off the top of my head. It might be $20 or $30 required to put a deposit on a prepaid account and of course, that money is still yours until you cross the bridge. But, for many low-income users, they don't have that surplus of cash available. So there would still be a group of low-income users that would be unable to set up a cash account and would have to do to pay by mail option.
Okay, thank you. We are going to move on to our next presentation now. And thank you, Jamie. This presentation will be given jointly by Jack Opiola and Matthew Dorfman of D'Artagnan Consulting.
Thank you, very much. I am going to provide an introduction to Jack for his presentation of case studies on the international perspectives on road pricing. I'm going to provide a brief international perspective on the introduction to equity and in doing that, I'll talk about, it says types of equity but it is really equity analysis and mitigation steps that go along with that equity analysis because these are the real key component of project responses to equity issues. Based on that brief summary of project response, Jack is going to go in and provide his insight on several international case studies, including New Zealand, Hong Kong, London, Stockholm, Manchester and that will provide a few brief conclusions.
As I said, really the first step in the response to equity concerns is equity analysis. You have to be able to speak about what type of equity you are actually talking about. In order to be able to respond to it, there is a common tactic and Brian kind of alluded to this in his presentation at the beginning but by some cynical people which is to try to defeat a project by talking about equity in very general terms. You can't respond to a general term, you've got to actually be very specific. Now, the fact that you have to be very specific does not mean that there are not several different aspects of equity. There are. All projects to have multiple aspect of equity and you need to have several, if at least not all of them, because all of them are impossible. By providing the specific types of equity that are of greatest concern and provide mitigation measure for those types of greatest concern.
So, this slide shows four specific categories used to nail down precisely what type of equity you are talking about. The first types of equity really handle what constitutes equal treatment because openly, equity means treating people equally. So, you've got to define, what actually constitutes equal treatment? Brian's analysis included the ideas of opportunity equity, market equity, and outcome equity. Both opportunity and market equity, more or less, fall into another term Brian mentioned was horizontal equity which more or less means treating people of equal needs and availability equally.
Outcome equity is sometimes called vertical equity which means treating people of different means and ability unequally, such that those people who are of lessons and ability come up to a higher level than they have before. It is important to mention these terms because when talking about international equity issues, these are the terms used.
The units of analysis, the second category, are social groupings by which people are grouped for the equity analysis. Income, as Jamie mentioned, is one of the common ways, perhaps most common way, of grouping people. The next two are important, they're all important, that geographic and demographic separations of people are often raised as major equity concerns in projects. The other is also, but perhaps to a lesser extent. The third category is the impacts of concern. These are really the ways that people's lives are affected by the road pricing project, the congestion pricing project.
There is a bunch of different financial ways that lives can be affected but there are also ways within the transportation service that their lives can be affected. Examples are increased or decreased delay or reliability of transportation. Then there are some external ways, things like safety or crash risk, induced congestion or vehicle emissions.
The last category here is the measures used to assess equity impacts. These are important because they allow comparisons between multiple different types of projects. All projects in absolute terms are very different in size and scope and so it is important to be able to talk about different projects in the same sentence. You need to do a specific measure in order to do this. This can be per capita, in other words per person, or per person trip, per vehicle mile, or per dollar. These are just different way of comparing equity impacts.
Once you have nailed down the specific types of equity you're dealing with, you need to create mitigation measures for those equity concerns that are valid and have a large constituency. I have just listed the five most common measures by which equity concerns are mitigated. The first and most important one is the actual use of revenues from the road pricing project. Judicious use of revenues is the single most important way of mitigating equity affects. It is not the only way and does not exclude other ways but it is a very important way of doing that.
Along with that, it has been shown time and again that the most important aspect of use of revenues is hypothecating or ring-fencing revenues from the project for use on transportation projects. In other words, you're not cross subsidizing water or electricity or some other public work by means of transportation revenue. There is a very strong user pays principle tied into the idea of equity. So, it does not have to be road transportation. It could also be public transportation or other issues. Other mitigation issues include more nuanced pricing, varying pricing by time of day or type or location of road or the actual vehicle type. Another important mitigation measure is facility design and mostly this has to do with the boundaries. Where are the edges of the facility? Some cities have water bodies or other clear markers that give an obvious boundary. Other cities don't and that can present a real problem. A fourth way is giving discounts or exemptions to people who are of greater need or have some justification for having a discount. And the last way, and in many ways this ties into what Jamie was saying, to provide some payment means for the unbanked because as Jamie showed, a lot of people are unbanked and need to be able to pay for whatever pricing is instituted. That is my brief introduction and with that, I'm going to hand it over to Jack Opiola.
Thank you. The first case I am going to talk about is the equity issues that arose on the Auckland Route project. There were two major things and I think these will hit strikes and cords with people looking and pricing issues in the United States. But, one of the big areas in Auckland, that got to be an equity issue, was trying to draw the boundary. What we found was in trying to price people coming in, the alternative mode, giving a modal shift onto public transit, deep analysis told us that what we had was a problem in the fact that people that were living in lower income areas have the poorest levels of public transit in the Auckland area. A term that came off, and you will see this and equity issues overseas, is this issue of social exclusion. In pricing the road network, and providing a cordon around Auckland, what it did was force us to go back and look at the public transit in how the areas were served with public transit. What we started doing correlation was found out that the poorest areas actually have the worst public transit going into those areas.
Obviously, you can mitigate that but it was one of the equity areas that came in and you do have to look at if you are going to be trying to push the agenda to say, let's go with public transit, one of those things you have to look at is the fact that you have to make sure you're giving equal public transit to all areas and not excluding the poor neighborhoods.
The second one was really something that probably comes into the argument that was just given on the environmental justice and that was the fact that it was ethnic inequity. Many of the poor, especially the native New Zealanders, Maoris, tended to use older vehicles, in any case there were diesel vehicles, and they were living further out than the urban center. As a result, they had to go further and because of the charges that were put in on the vehicle road user charging, all diesel vehicles in New Zealand have to pay mileage fee. As a result, because they live further out, they felt that they were being inequitable or the system was inequitable because they had to pay higher fees for where they lived or where their areas were. This also got to be a complication that was very unique in the fact that the entire land that was basically by treaty settled between British and the Maoris was something called the Treaty of Waitangi, and they were coming back to say this was another barrier in which the settlers were manifesting a bias against the Maoris by these charges. The ethnic inequity was one of the New Zealand equity issues that have to be dealt with in the project.
The second one was Hong Kong. This again was a bit of a congestion charge. It was a question that was addressed earlier and this is basically just a percentage of income. This looked at the impact of the charges, how they face the poor people, versus richer income brackets was an inequitable handling. The second one is a little bit different. And the fact that with the charging program, the ports of Hong Kong had a great deal of traffic that was coming from China because this was the main exit point to the world, through the port. Industries in China were using the border crossings to bring goods to the shipped yard to be shipped out.
One of the things that Hong Kong did was try to help the environmental side; they look at giving low cost loans to the commercial vehicle market so that they could upgrade the vehicle and have less polluting vehicles within Hong Kong to mitigate the environmental impacts. However, it was only for shipping companies that were in Hong Kong. It did not apply to the trucks coming over from China since they were not residents of Hong Kong. The legislators in their Congress basically saw that as creating in other economic boundary between Hong Kong and China and as they were trying to find the two of them together, it got to be a major issue made by the decision makers and legislators over the fact that we were building a new economic barrier to keep trade between China and Hong Kong apart and favoring Hong Kong. So, again, this was inequitable geographic region and equity.
This is the London congestion charge and this is what you're seeing is the area in congestion charges, many people are familiar with it. What many people might not be familiar with is the equity issues that were addressed. There was one that was similar to the New Zealand situation and it was labeled as poverty by postal code. It was very much an outcome of vertical equity issue where again the poor neighborhoods weren't well served by public transit. As a result, the London congestion charge where they used vehicles before to get home from work, now with the charge, they were told to use public transit. The problem was the neighborhoods were poorly served by public transit. Mitigation measures were really simple as we were adding buses. It was a question of doing the detailed analysis to look at routes and add more bus services into those neighborhoods.
The second one was a side program that people are not familiar with and it was called the low emission zone. This again was a charge for vehicles hat were the more polluting vehicles. It was a charge that if you felt below a certain rating of your diesel truck, you were to pay 120 pounds to come into London. The inequitable issue that arose was that the big operators, the larger firms, could manage their trucks to put the more efficient trucks to make deliveries into London that were smaller firms couldn't. They could not cover an upgrade or have enough vehicles in the fleet in which turn around and come into London with a cleaner vehicle. Now, this one was never really addressed. I mean, this one was addressed by the industry, brought to the public attention, and brought to the project but was never settled and still exists today.
The last one is sometimes one that we overlooked and this was done on parking within a zone. In order to make it easier, it was introduced in Westminster parking by mobile telephone where you could pay for your parking charges by your mobile phone, by putting in a minimum of information which was the parking spots that you were in. But the issue was that all signage instructing you were in English and this was inequitable to EU citizens of nonspeaking countries. Spanish residents, German, Romanian coming into London for holiday or being there with their car, they could not understand the signage on how to turn around and do this because it was English. Actually, the solution was quite elegant and that they did not put signs up in multiple languages but they went to icons. The instructions, you could actually look up the sign and in the icon could follow what you had to do step-by-step in order to record the parking space.
The last one was Stockholm. People are familiar with Stockholm and their congestion charge as well as the equity issues which are a question of, within the zone or just on the outside zone, was an area called Lidingo Island. The only way to get off of the island was to take a bridge over into the zone and pay the congestion charges. We were literally forcing people outside of the zone to get to their homes or to get to work or make a trip were forced to come into the zone. This was very much an equity issue for that small part of the geographic population. The solution was to turn around and put a timer on so that they got 30 minutes in order to cross the zone so that they could come in, cross the zone, get out, and if they do that with any 30 minutes, they were not charged for a trip. Obviously, if they charged in the zone, stay there for the day, it was illegal trip that they were charged for. The second thing is one that we constantly face and that is one where a zone. [Phone line disconnected]
I believe that we lost audio. Are any other presenters there?
I am here.
Did we lose a phone line?
It looks like Jack's phone line died. Why don't we get on because it is getting near the end of the webinar?
Yes. Is the operator there? Did we lose their phone lines?
Yes, we have.
What I'm going to do is Patrick, I will bring up your slide right now and we can move into that. If we have time, we can go back to Jack and Matthew. They only had about three slides left. So, Patrick will bring over to you.
I'm just going to talk about the FHWA resources quickly. If you see the slide, on the web we have available primer on income-based equity impacts of congestion pricing and a PowerPoint has the link to that. Then we have a very recent document published earlier this year, Synthesis of Congestion Pricing Related Environmental Impact Analysis and that includes environmental justice analysis, which is of course the equity issue. And, that is available on our website.
If you're looking for tools to do analysis, the Surface Transportation Efficiency Analysis Model is able to calculate for you burdens and benefits from various geographic zones, primarily your traffic analysis zones. That is also available on our website, and there is an update being developed as we speak.
Underway, we have a couple of documents. One is a much broader document on environmental justice and transportation. We have a whole chapter on tolling and pricing and that is undergoing editing right now and should be out within a month or so. Another document that we are developing focused on congestion pricing is the Guidebook on Evaluating and Mitigating the Impacts of Road Pricing. That project has started and we expect a report sometime in February of next year. With that, Jennifer, I turn it back to you.
Thank you, Patrick. Jack and Matthew, I think your back on. You have a few slides left we unfortunately did not get to when you're phone line cut out. There are questions for you guys. Unfortunately, we are at closing time right now so what I'm going to do is send those to you for responses.
If I could just go to my last slide because I think that one is really where the key message is.
Okay, if you want to take a minute but we are running short on time.
I will be quick. Okay, on the very last slide of the conclusions, I think the real lessons learned from addressing, and Brian brought this up earlier, is the fact that you have to be proactive in addressing equity. You need to do the upfront analysis during the planning and anticipate what the issues are going to be in for the mitigation measures on your plan early and many of these will surface as you do outreach, these are issues that will be raised by the public.
Secondly, when you do get an issue, you have to react positively. As Matthew said, you have to define that concerned. You have to keep drilling down with the opponents to try to translate their issue into a structure that is opportunity market outcome or horizontal and vertical, in order to clarify exactly what they mean in order so that you can respond to it. The general ones you really cannot respond to. And lastly in the entire equity issue, one thing you have to do is be holistic. Many of the decision makers are going to try to say, this is inequitable. What you need to do is look at the old system, analyze it as what its equity is and analyze what the change is you want to make to the system and analyze that. If the change is positive in the holistic sense that in fact people are better off with a new system. It is a good way to submerge issues that are going to linger and show holistic argument, many times both satisfying the decision-makers.
Okay. Well thank you. As I mentioned, we will get those questions to you and get written responses. Also feel free to type your responses into the chat area if you would like to right now. We will get those out to everybody. I do want to thank all of our presenters and think everybody for attending today. The next webinar is going to be held on June 26 and will be about technology to enable and compliment congestion pricing.
I also have a slide showing right now, it is a little bit distorted, but what some of the other upcoming topics will be. We will be holding these webinars monthly. You can visit the web address shown on the slide to register for this webinar as well as read a little bit more about the other upcoming webinars. I will notify everyone when the recording is available from today, and you can continue to download the presentations from the bottom right corner, even after we are done today if you have not had a chance to do it already. So, thank you everybody, and enjoy the rest of your day.