TPB Scenarios Examine How Expanded Use of Tolls, Bus Rapid Transit, and Land Use Changes Impact Transportation Patterns

Sep 16, 2010

Washington, D.C. – Findings from a study on the impacts of introducing tolls, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and land use changes throughout the metropolitan Washington region were presented at the September meeting of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB). 

In the study, the TPB examined two scenarios and measured their impact on driving, congestion, transportation mode share, and air pollution. The “full scenario” looked at the effects of implementing a 1,650-mile regional system of priced lanes or tolls (including new lanes and conversions of existing lanes), a region-wide 500-mile BRT system, and changes in land use policies to promote denser, transit-oriented development. The second scenario looked at the effects of making just the land use changes without introducing the priced lanes or BRT.

In the full scenario, the amount of driving increases while congestion decreases significantly. Bicycling, walking, and transit use all increase significantly, and carpooling experiences a small uptick. Bicycling, walking, and transit trips increase significantly in the second scenario as well, while the amount of driving decreases and congestion increases slightly.

Noting how much could be accomplished under the land use only scenario, Harriet Tregoning, Director of the District of Columbia Office of Planning said, “Without spending any money and by focusing on using our existing land and transportation system more efficiently, we can have a very large impact on reaching our goals.”

“The scenarios presented today help us ask some fundamental questions about how to dramatically improve the performance of the region’s transportation system,” said TPB Chairman and Falls Church City Councilmember Dave Snyder. “No one should get too wrapped up in the individual numbers, but rather use the scenarios to understand the potential role of each of the components – land use, tolls, and more transit.” 

Following the briefing, the TPB will proceed with an assessment, in conjunction with the Brookings Institution, of the public acceptability of priced lanes. The TPB and Brookings were awarded a federal grant in August to pursue this assessment.

To view/download a presentation of the TPB study, click here. To view/download the full study, click here.

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