Equitable Congestion Pricing

Research Team: Mollie D’Agostino (lead), Michael Zhang, Kelly Fleming, Paige Pellaton, and Brittany White

University: UC Davis

Problem Statement: Traffic congestion is a problem in all of California’s major cities. In San Francisco, congestion worsened considerably between 2010 and 2016, during which vehicle hours of delay within the City of San Francisco increased 66%. This was a period of significant economic growth, with 160,000 additional jobs, 70,000 new residents, and 5,700 new ridehailing vehicles. The region has also been plagued by significant increases to the costs of living. Transportation challenges can exacerbate economic inequities for residents, and place increased burdens on low-income households struggling to meet rising costs. In an effort to address both equity issues and traffic congestion, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) is currently updating the San Francisco Mobility, Access, and Pricing Study, originally published in 2010.

Project Description: The first part of this project consisted of a review of case studies of existing and planned congestion pricing strategies in North America (Vancouver, Seattle, and New York) and elsewhere (Singapore, London, Stockholm, and Gothenberg). The analysis shows that the most equitable congestion pricing systems include 1) a meaningful community-engagement processes to help policymakers identify equitable priorities; 2) pricing structures that strike a balance between efficiency and equity, while encouraging multi-modal travel; 3) clear plans for investing CP revenues to equalize the costs and benefits of congestion relief; and lastly, 4) a comprehensive data reporting plan to ensure equity goals are achieved. The second part of the project (still underway) will include an analysis component that will apply equity metrics identified in the literature review to compare modeling outputs from SFCTA's regional travel demand model. This analysis will evaluate three types of equity impacts: income equity, geographic equity, and modal equity. This project was developed to support the San Francisco County Transportation Authority in its efforts to conduct the Downtown Congestion Project.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $67,000

Project Partner(s): San Francisco County Transportation Authority

Report(s):
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