An Evaluation of Public Opinion about Congestion Pricing and Tolls

Policy makers and transportation agencies are viewing various forms of transportation and congestion pricing as ways to deal with both congestion and increasingly scarce funding for the transportation system. To aid local governments in determining whether congestion pricing would be feasible in the Puget Sound region, this project assessed public attitude toward transportation pricing and explored ways to present information to the public that would increase their understanding.

The research methodology included three data gathering techniques, seven 90-minute employer-based focus group sessions involving 86 people; thirteen interviews with regional elected officials, business leaders, and public managers; and three forums composed of previous focus groups participants to review the observations and conclusions of the study.

On the basis of the participants' emphasis and our own observations, we believe that the following are the most important conclusions about public opinion from our study: 1) Pricing programs must ensure a reasonable level of mobility by providing good alternatives to SOVs (single occupant vehicles); 2) Pricing must be applied region-wide if it is to be effective and to have any chance of addressing geographic equity issues; 3) How the revenues are used is critical to public acceptance; 4) There must be well considered ways to deal with traffic and parking spillover; 5) Income equity issues must be addressed; 6) Members of the public must believe that transportation pricing will reduce congestion if they are to support it; and 7) The public must have a high level of confidence in the technology
Publication Date: 
Friday, September 1, 1995
Publication Number: 
WA-RD 377.1
Last modified: 
10/12/2016 - 15:41
Cy Ulberg, Gordon MacFarland.
Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)
Number of Pages: 
Attitudes, Congestion pricing, Financing, Pricing, Public opinion, Tolls, Traffic congestion, User charges.