7 states get $9.7 million for congestion relief

Seven states will receive more than $9.7 million as part of a national program to encourage innovative strategies to relieve congestion, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

California, Florida, North Carolina, Minnesota, Texas, Virginia and Washington received grants for 10 projects under the FHWA’s Value Pricing Pilot Program (VPPP).

“Value pricing” refers to varying price levels by time of day or traffic volume in order to manage congestion. It can significantly improve traffic flow by encouraging people to choose to drive at different times of the day, thereby spreading out demand and reducing congestion at peak hours.

“These projects show that states are developing new ways of thinking about how to manage congestion,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a press statement.

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez says that the money from the program will “continue to support innovative solutions that will provide better results for the American people.

“Ultimately, people will be able to spend more time doing what they like and less time stuck in traffic,”  Mendez said in a press statement.

Some of the grants include the following:

•$1.9 million for the Texas Department of Transportation to test a pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) insurance plan that allows drivers to buy insurance by the mile.

•$1.8 million for the California Department of Transportation and the City of Berkeley to implement a parking pricing plan that includes real-time information on available spaces.

•$900,000 for south Florida to develop a priced-lanes network in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area that will improve the travel reliability for commuters, including transit and carpool users.

The VPPP was initially authorized in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) as the Congestion Pricing Pilot Program and renewed with the passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). For more than a decade, the program has supported more 70 projects in 15 states to improve travel through pricing.

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State Agency Project Grant Amount Description
CA Caltrans / Santa Clara County Stanford U Parking Pricing w/ Off-Peak Commuting Incentives $2.358 million Strategies to manage traffic and parking.
CA Caltrans / City of Berkeley Berkeley Parking Pricing and Real-time Guidance for City & University $ 1.8 million Strategies to manage on-street parking and reduce congestion from circling vehicles.
CA Caltrans / Santa Barbara County Dynamic Ridesharing with Pricing Incentives $158,400 Testing of carpooling system that uses participation incentives.
FL Florida DOT Network  of Priced Managed Lanes in S. Florida $900,000 Initiative for a regional priced managed lane network that can serve as a model for other regions.
FL Tampa-Hillsboro Expressway Authority Regional Bus Toll Lanes Study $800,000 Advancement of first regional network of bus toll lanes in the Tampa area.
NC NCDOT and Charlotte MPO Regional Priced Lanes Study $400,000 Advancement of first regional network of priced lanes in the Charlotte area.
MN MnDOT Parking Pricing Alternatives to Monthly Parking Passes $24,800 Expansion of project to test incentive alternatives to monthly parking passes and discourage daily driving.
TX Texas DOT MileMeter/NuRide Pay-per-mile Insurance & Incentives $1.984 million Usage-based insurance pricing and additional incentives for efficient travel choices.
VA Virginia DOT and Washington  Council Of Governments Public Acceptance Study of Regional Pricing in DC $320,000 Advancement of regional pricing in DC including pricing existing facilities.
WA Washington DOT and King County Incentives to Reduce  Amount of Parking $1.024 million Implementation of incentives as alternatives to parking.
Total $9.768 million

Source of data in the table: Federal Highway Administration