The impacts of time of day pricing on car user behavior: findings from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s initiative
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This paper discusses the key findings from a research project that assessed the impacts of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Time of Day Pricing Initiative on the behavior of passenger car users. The survey data, comprised of 505 observations, show that 7.4% of passenger trips changed behavior because of the time of day pricing initiative, and that demand is inelastic to tolls with elasticities in the range of −0.11 to −0.24. Passenger car users who changed behavior responded to time of day pricing by implementing multidimensional strategies (3.23 different behavioral changes per user on average), involving behavioral responses such as changes in facility usage, changes in time of travel, changes in the payment type, and changes in mode/occupancy. The most frequently cited behavioral response was to shift mode, either to transit or carpool, and maintain the original time of travel (done in 2.55% of trips), instead of changing time of travel and maintaining the use of the passenger car (0.69% of trips). This reluctance to change travel schedules is undoubtedly a reflection of the limited time of travel flexibility that, on average, was estimated to be 20.4 and 12.3 min for early and late arrival for work-related trips. This, in turn, suggests the need for comprehensive policies, possibly involving incentives or regulations to foster employers’ participation in staggered/flexible work hour programs. Such approaches, combined with time of day pricing, are likely to be more effective in balancing car traffic during the day. Other behavioral responses of significance were reduce the number of trips made during the weekday peak-hours (1.65%), and switching to EZ-Pass to take advantage of the toll discounts (0.81%).
KeywordsRoad pricing Time of day pricing initiative Behavioral changes
This project was sponsored by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Value Pricing Program, through the University Transportation Research Center. Additional support was provided by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Special thanks are due to Mark Muriello and Danny Jiji (PANYNJ) for their support and assistance throughout this investigation. The opinions and conclusions presented are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of sponsors and participating agencies.
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