How Effective are Toll Roads in Improving Operational Performance?

The growth in population, technological advancements, increase in average life expectancy, and newer and fuel-efficient vehicles as well as urban sprawl has led to a meteoric rise in travel demand over the past few decades. Per a report published by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) in 2012, road infrastructure (lane-miles) has increased only by about 8.6%, whereas vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and travel delay (billion hours) has increased by 97% and 518%, respectively from 1980 to 2013. There is little funding available for new roads or to increase capacity of existing roads due to budget constraints and need to maintain an already aging road infrastructure. An emerging trend is to construct toll roads or express lanes, through public private partnerships (PPP), to better manage the road infrastructure and improve mobility / reduce congestion on urban roads. Exploring such avenues, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA), a unit of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), constructed the Triangle Expressway to improve commuter mobility, accessibility, and connectivity to western Wake County and Research Triangle Park while reducing congestion on the existing north-south routes that serve the Triangle Region, primarily NC 55 and NC 54. The project’s cost was just over $1 billion and is the single largest transportation infrastructure project in North Carolina history (https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/triangleexpressway/). The Triangle Expressway was constructed and opened for access in three phases. The first phase, which connected N.C. 540 between N.C. 55 and N.C. 54, opened in December 2011 (tolls were collected from January 3, 2012). The second and third phases of Triangle Expressway were completed in August 2012 and December 2012, respectively. They connected N.C. 540 between N.C. 54 and N.C. 55 Bypass in Holly Springs. The tolling operation for the second and third phases began August 2, 2012 and January 2, 2013, respectively. Overall, the Triangle Expressway is an 18-mile long toll road in the Raleigh area with 18 toll zone locations. The NCTA is currently underway with construction of the Monroe Expressway and I-77 Express Lanes in the Charlotte region. The decisions to implement transportation projects such as toll roads and express lanes are made through the use of regional travel demand forecasting models and long-range transportation planning. However, the outcomes could differ from outputs of macro-level modeling and analysis. Questions such as the following arise. (1) Are toll roads effective in improving operational performance? How can the effectiveness be quantified? (2) How does travel time vary on toll roads and roads within its vicinity? (3) Is there an improvement in travel time reliability at the regional level after the implementation of toll roads? Is there a possible reduction in their effectiveness over time (number of years after implementation)? (4) How far does the reduction in travel time or improvement in travel time reliability extend due to the construction and operation of toll roads?

    Language

    • English

    Project

    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $74967
    • Contract Numbers:

      69A3551747127

    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Project Managers:

      Stearns, Amy

    • Performing Organizations:

      Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility

      San Jose State University
      San Jose, CA  United States  95112
    • Principal Investigators:

      Pulugurtha, Srinivas

    • Start Date: 20171201
    • Expected Completion Date: 20190630
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01653294
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747127
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: Dec 7 2017 12:41PM