METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
RESEARCH CHALLENGE: Public Opposition to Congestion Pricing
Too much congestion. Not enough funding. These two problems increasingly have come to define transportation policy woes in our nation’s metropolitan areas, and the Washington, D.C., region is no exception. Many experts agree that congestion pricing—charging tolls or fees that are higher when and where congestion is worse—could at least partially solve both of these challenges.
With some notable exceptions, however, public opposition to congestion pricing—or the perception of such opposition—has stood in the way of implementation. This study therefore focused on the lack of public support for congestion pricing as the key challenge to explore. Through a series of deliberative forums, the study asked whether more information and education about pricing could influence attitudes. The study also sought to unravel the key factors—issues like fairness, effectiveness or privacy—that make a pivotal difference in determining opinions.
The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) carried out the research in partnership with the Brookings Institution. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provided grant funding for the study through its Value Pricing Pilot Program (VPPP). The TPB also engaged the non-profit organization AmericaSpeaks to guide the design and implementation of the five deliberative forums that were the primary research vehicle for this study.
Preliminary research, including the TPB’s 2010 State of the Commute Survey, a review of public opinion research around the country, and a series of listening sessions with stakeholders, informed the structure and content of the deliberative forums.
About The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG)
“The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) is an independent, nonprofit association that brings area leaders together to address major regional issues in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. COG’s membership is comprised of 300 elected officials from 22 local governments, the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures, and U.S. Congress.”