In the Seattle metropolitan area, a network wide variable tolling system would cost roughly $749 million to implement and $288 million to operate each year.
Between July 2005 and March 2006 the project observed participant driving patterns before and after hypothetical tolls were imposed on all major freeways and arterials in the Puget Sound region. The technology installed in each participant's vehicle recorded the vehicle's location and matched the vehicle's position to a map of toll roads within the tolling meter. During the before period, drivers were able to view an in-vehicle display that showed the name of the road they were traveling on. During the after period the display showed the name of the road as well as the toll rate per mile and the cumulative toll for the current trip. Periodically, the on-board unit would communicate to a central computer using a cell phone network and reconcile toll charges to each participants account.
To encourage participation, drivers were given an expense account from which to deduct toll charges. If any money remained in the account at the end of the study, the participants were allowed to keep it. The intention was to provide incentive to modify driver behavior and budget toll road use. A website was set up to allow participants to monitor their travel, reflect on trip choices, and gauge the overall consequences of those choices on their account balances.
To estimate the cost to implement a similar system in the Puget Sound region, researchers developed a high-level cost model based in part on findings from a Dutch Cost Monitor model applied to the central Puget Sound area. The model assumed that 90 percent of the vehicles located within the tolling network would opt for the "Main Program" and have tolling equipment installed within the vehicle. Other users would opt for the "Occasional User Program." The model also assumed that 10 percent of the vehicles in select counties adjoining the tolling area would also have OBUs installed.
The table below excerpted from Table-1 of the source report summarizes the results of cost model projections. The largest cost category during the initial implementation would be the in-vehicle equipment cost required for network tolling ($655 million). The largest cost category for annual recurring costs would be the data communications function ($202 million).
Capital (2008 Dollars)
Annual (2008 Dollars)
|OBU (On-board unit) and installation|
|OBU / Installation – New Vehicles|
|OBU – Repair / Replacement|
|Training / Certification – Installers|
|Mobile Stations / Vehicles|
|Enforcement Back Office|
|Staff / Operations Training|
|Space for Central System / Back Office / Call Center|
|Central System Subtotal|
|Data Communications Subtotal|
Published By: Puget Sound Regional Council
Source Date: April 2008URL: http://psrc.org/assets/37/summaryreport.pdf
Annual O&M for network wide variable tolling system: $287,726,300.
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