TRB 2016 Blue Ribbon Committee
16th National Transportation Planning Applications Conference

Evaluation of a New Approach to Address Metropolitan Congestion

Corresponding Author: Patrick DeCorla-Souza, Federal Highway Administration

Presented By: Patrick DeCorla-Souza, Federal Highway Administration


  • William Ankner, Transportation Planning Consultant


In an era of rapid technological change, conventional approaches to reducing highway congestion through highway expansion may be inappropriate. This paper introduces a low-cost approach to address metropolitan congestion by creating a managed lanes network by converting an existing free lane to a priced managed lane and using public-private partnerships (P3s) for project delivery. Person throughput on the network would be optimized through the use of incentives to use high-occupancy vehicles (HOV) and transit. The concept includes freeway reconstruction with capacity enhancements that include converting the right shoulder to a “dynamic” (part-time) shoulder lane that would be open to traffic only during peak periods. This ensures that the same number of free lanes is available for use during the period when the left lane serves as a priced lane. Surplus revenues would be used to pay for travel demand management initiatives, up to the point of maximum economic efficiency. To optimize transit use a hybrid availability payment/shadow toll P3 payment mechanism would be used. Financial incentives in the form of “per person mile” payments, similar to shadow tolls, would incentivize the concessionaire to increase transit use. HOV toll discounts or exemptions would be used to encourage ridesharing. The paper estimates the potential societal benefits and financial viability of the approach using FHWA’s new P3-VALUE 2.0 analytical tool. The analysis suggests that the approach could be financially viable, and could provide significant societal benefits.



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