Value pricing on the I-15 freeway

Willingness to pay for improved travel service

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In San Diego, California, a value pricing project has been implemented in order to make better use of the existing reversible HOV-facility on Interstate 15, just north of San Diego. In this project, paying solo drivers are allowed to use the Express Lanes. These drivers experience the benefits of free-flow travel instead of the heavily congested traffic situations on the main lanes. The price for using the Express Lanes is determined dynamically and depends on the flow of traffic on these lanes. The objectives of the research presented in the report are: (1) to determine if the project has a congestion relieving effect for the main lanes, (2) how travelers decide between the different travel options in the 1-15 corridor. Using the available historical traffic data, changes in traffic conditions on the 1-15 main lanes were examined. The project does not seem to have a congestion relieving effect. The number of participant is small and there is almost always latent demand. In order to determine how people choose between the different travel options, travel time savings for the Express Lane users were determined. The travel time savings were calculated from loop detector speed at different cross-sections and reach values up to 18 minutes. The estimated travel time savings were then used to estimate mode choice models which explain the choice behavior of travelers between spending time by traveling on the main lanes and spending money by traveling on the Express Lanes. The choice models show that wealthier people, people with a higher level of education, home owners, and woman are more likely to pay for the use of the Express Lanes. The value-of-time of program participants is approximately $31.00 per hour for commuters and $71.00 per hour for non-commuters.