High occupancy toll lanes with a refund option: a stated preference survey of the Phoenix-Metropolitan Area

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Managed Lanes (MLs) have been increasingly advocated as a way to reduce congestion. This study provides an innovative new tolling strategy for MLs called the travel time refund (TTR). The

Managed Lanes (MLs) have been increasingly advocated as a way to reduce congestion. This study provides an innovative new tolling strategy for MLs called the travel time refund (TTR). The TTR is an “insurance” that ensures the ML user will arrive to their destination within a specified travel time savings, at an additional fee to the toll. If the user fails to arrive to their destination, the user is refunded the toll amount.

To gauge interest in the TTR, a stated preference survey was developed and distributed throughout the Phoenix-metropolitan area. Over 2,200 responses were gathered with about 805 being completed. Exploratory data analysis of the data included a descriptive analysis regarding individual and household demographic variables, HOV usage and satisfaction levels, HOT usage and interests, and TTR interests. Cross-tabulation analysis is further conducted to examine trends and correlations between variables, if any.

Because most survey takers were in Arizona, the majority (53%) of respondents were unfamiliar with HOT lanes and their practices. This may have had an impact on the interest in the TTR, although it was not apparent when looking at the cross-tabulation between HOT knowledge and TTR interest. The concept of the HOT lane and “paying to travel” itself may have turned people away from the TTR option. Therefore, similar surveys implementing new HOT pricing strategies should be deployed where current HOT practices are already in existence. Moreover, introducing the TTR concept to current HOT users may also receive valuable feedback in its future deployment.

Further analysis will include the weighting of data to account for sample bias, an exploration of the stated preference scenarios to determine what factors were significant in peoples’ choices, and a predictive model of those choices based on demographic information.