Environmental Justice Analyses When Considering Toll Implementation or Rate Changes

Tolling has become more prevalent as a funding mechanism as well as an operations strategy for transportation facilities. Tolling can have an impact on low-income and minority populations, but the extent of the impact is unclear. As a result of Presidential Executive Order 12898, U.S.DOT Order 5610.2(a), and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S.DOT requires transportation agencies to take into consideration environmental justice (EJ) in all transportation programs, policies, and activities. However, there is little guidance on how to best incorporate EJ analysis in assessing equity concerns in the context of pricing. Further, there is little consensus about what types of mitigation measures are appropriate to be used to offset the effects of tolling on minority and low-income populations. Research is needed to better understand how to measure and address the impact of tolling on minority and low-income populations at it relates to mobility, access, and household income. The objective of this research is to develop a toolbox that practitioners can use to evaluate and address environmental justice issues that arise when implementing tolls or rate changes. The toolbox will be used to assist transportation decision makers with how to assess and offset any potential impacts on minority and low-income populations as a result of tolling. The toolbox should include: (1) Tools to measure the impacts of tolling on mobility, access, and household income; (2) Tools to engage low-income and minority populations early and often so decision makers and users can better understand the value of trade-offs when considering travel reliability, costs, and time; and (3) Tools to offset impacts on low-income and minority populations. In order to develop this toolbox, it is envisioned that the researcher will provide: (a) a comprehensive literature review; (b) appropriate data sets (and gaps) to perform the EJ analysis related to tolling; (c) a description of the methods of analysis needed to characterize impacts; (d) the types of tolling proposals and other pricing situations for which detailed analysis of effects on minority and low-income users will or should be needed; (e) templates for assessing which tools to use under which circumstances for both analysis and mitigation (templates should be customizable by transportation agency size, mode, geographic location, types of tolling proposals, alternative routes, alternative modes, etc.); (f) applicable case studies (assess what works, what does not work, and why); (g) guidance for choosing most appropriate assessment and mitigation methods under different circumstances; (h) new approaches for assessing and mitigating impact; (i) additional new approaches for assessment or mitigation along with how they may be used and why they may work; and, (j) best practices with respect to how to measure and address the impact of tolling on minority and low-income populations. The research should answer questions such as, but not limited to, the following: What constitutes adequate analysis for measuring impacts on low-income and minority populations? What methodologies are most appropriate for measuring and addressing impacts on the low-income and minority populations? What is the appropriate geographic study area for measuring and addressing impacts? Do different types of revenue collection methods have different impacts on low-income and minority populations (e.g., electronic toll collection, video toll collection)? What barriers exist for participation in the use of toll roads by low-income and minority populations (e.g., registration requirements, stable mailing addresses, credit cards, etc.)? What are best methods for addressing impacts based on type of facilities, availability of alternate routes, modes, tolling structure, purpose for tolls, etc.? What are the range of educational tools needed to foster understanding so that low-income and minority populations can make informed decisions related to the use of toll facilities? What are the mitigation strategies that have worked and what could potentially work? Do different segments of the low-income and minority populations experience tolling impacts in different ways? Completed; Published as NCHRP Research Report 860.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 08-100

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Chisholm-Smith, Gwen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Louis Berger Group

    30A Vreeland Road
    Florham Park, NJ  United States  07932
  • Principal Investigators:

    Pesesky, Lawrence

  • Start Date: 20140729
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20161130
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37715

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01545077
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 08-100
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 25 2014 1:01AM