How Effective are Toll Roads in Improving Operational Performance?

Principle Investigator: Srinivas S. Pulugurtha
Research Staff: Sonu Mathew
Funding Agency: United States Department of Transportation / San Jose State University

Over the past two decades, there has been increased attention towards the management of congestion by means of pricing strategies such as the use of toll roads. This is in contrast with earlier efforts, which were mainly focused on capacity enhancement measures. Toll project design and pricing strategies are generally developed using conventional four step modeling processes and other long-term transportation planning assessments. The outcomes of such priori modeling, however, may be entirely different from what is observed in the real world. In other words, the long-term effect of such transportation projects is very difficult to capture from the conventional traffic forecasting models and assessments. The main objective of this research was to evaluate the efficacy of toll roads in reducing travel time and improving travel time reliability on links within its vicinity, using data for the Triangle Expressway in Raleigh, NC, USA. The study results indicate a positive trend in reliability over the years of operation of the Triangle Expressway. The analysis in this research of cross-streets at varying distances from the Expressway, and during different years of the toll road operation, substantiated the geospatial and temporal influence on the effects of the toll on travel times.