Reactions to Value Pricing by Different Suburban Population Groups



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Value pricing strategies are beginning to be considered for future improvements in suburban areas that currently do not experience significant congestion but are expected to become congested in the future. This is a significant departure from implementing these strategies in congested urban areas as is commonly done now. Therefore, traveler reaction in these suburban areas is unknown. To plan and design value pricing projects most effectively, it will be necessary to gain an understanding of suburban travelers' potential reaction to value pricing. Responses to a survey of travelers using the eastern and western segments of Interstate 10 (I-10) outside of San Antonio were used to study differences in response to value pricing by suburban population groups. These surveys collected information on travelers' socioeconomic and trip characteristics as well as their attitudes towards value pricing in the form of potential Express Toll Lanes (ETLS). Stated preference scenarios presented to survey respondents were used to develop mode choice models. These models were used to determine characteristics that may impact the decision to choose to travel on the general purpose lanes (GPLs) or the ETLs. This research suggests that the implementation of value pricing strategies on suburban corridors may pose a challenge from a policy standpoint. The populations using these corridors appear to be more varied in their responses toward value pricing than populations using congested urban corridors. Overall, it was found that the majority of travelers on I-10E and I-10W are not favorable to the implementation of value pricing for the future expansion of these corridors. However, I-10W travelers seem to be more willing to pay for travel time savings. This is likely due to the fact that travelers on I-10W earn higher average incomes, are more likely to use I-10W on a regular basis for commute purposes, and are more often exposed to some traffic congestion. Conversely, travelers on I-10E are more likely to use I-10E less frequently for non-commute trips, travel longer distances, and probably do not have an intuitive sense of the value they would place on travel time savings since they do not regularly experience congestion.