Value Pricing Study Explores Ways to Improve the Region’s Traffic Flow
Posted on: August 8, 2013 in Transportation News
Busy Central Floridians spend more than a normal work week each year stuck in traffic, says the Texas Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Report. Orlando is tied for 13th most congested metro area in the country, and it’s getting worse.
We expect more than 1 million additional residents by the year 2040. As we grow, commute times could easily double unless we find ways to relieve traffic overload.
Recent media reports have discussed a study being conducted at MetroPlan Orlando on value pricing, a tool used in several cities to address congestion. As a long range transportation planning agency, we explore various strategies while developing plans for a balanced transportation system. With our current traffic problems, the region can’t afford to reject alternatives that might give us relief without proper study. That’s responsible planning.
Congestion pricing – sometimes called value pricing – works in many cities by persuading rush hour drivers to change schedules and travel in less busy times or to try options such as carpooling or public transit. Another solution could include variable parking prices.
How might it work here? It’s much too early to say. The steering committee for the current study will examine about 40 options to see which ones could be viable. Many economists looking at costs of gridlock in the U.S. — fuel, pollution, lost productivity – agree value pricing represents one of the best approaches to keep Americans moving.
MetroPlan Orlando has done survey research that shows residents overwhelmingly think more should be done to address transportation needs. Adding toll roads is often listed among the top choices for getting revenue to address those needs.
Roadway expansion is becoming less viable, so we should look at better ways to manage roads we have. Also, developing public transit is vital to moving people around the region. SunRail, the LYMMO expansion and other local projects are in the works to help improve that side of the transportation system.
Lack of planning results in urban sprawl, which makes our region less desirable for residents and businesses. The current value pricing study is one of many tools planners can use to make sure our children and grandchildren don’t spend all their time stuck in traffic.
Here’s a fact sheet that tells more about our current study.