Is congestion the same everywhere?
Highway congestion, very simply, is caused when traffic demand approaches or exceeds the available capacity of the highway system. Though this concept is easy to understand, congestion can vary significantly from day to day because traffic demand and available highway capacity are constantly changing. Traffic demands vary significantly by time of day, day of the week, and season of the year, and are also subject to significant fluctuations due to recreational travel, special events, and emergencies (e.g. evacuations). Available highway capacity, which is often viewed as being fixed, also varies constantly, being frequently reduced by incidents (e.g. crashes and disabled vehicles), work zones, adverse weather, and other causes.
To add even more complexity, the definition of highway congestion also varies significantly from time to time and place to place based on user expectations. An intersection that may seem very congested in a rural community may not even register as an annoyance in a large metropolitan area. A level of congestion that users expect during peak commute periods may be unacceptable if experienced on Sunday morning. Because of this, congestion is difficult to define precisely in a mathematical sense – it actually represents the difference between the highway system performance that users expect and how the system actually performs.
Congestion can also be measured in a number of ways – level of service, speed, travel time, and delay are commonly used measures. However, travelers have indicated that more important than the severity, magnitude, or quantity of congestion is the reliability of the highway system. People in a large metropolitan area may accept that a 20 mile freeway trip takes 40 minutes during the peak period, so long as this predicted travel time is reliable and is not 25 minutes one day and 2 hours the next. This focus on reliability is particularly prevalent in the freight community, where the value of time under certain just-in-time delivery circumstances may exceed $5 per minute.
By Mark Ginocchio
Published March 21 2007
WESTPORT - Federal Highway Administration officials yesterday urged state lawmakers to install highway tolls that charge motorists different rates based on peak and off-peak hours.
The tolling method, called congestion or value pricing, helps reduce traffic during rush hour while providing the state with cash for transportation improvements, said Patrick DeCorla-Souza, program manager for the administration's congestion pricing initiative.
Other cities worldwide use the method successfully, and other transportation systems, such as airlines and railroads, already charge varying rates based on peak hours, DeCorla-Souza said at a meeting at Westport Police Department headquarters organized by the South Western Regional Planning Agency.
"People understand that at certain times during the year, certain goods and services are more valuable," DeCorla-Souza said at the event, attended by about 30 municipal leaders and legislators from Fairfield County. "The idea now is to help them understand it in the transportation arena."
Nondiscrimination provisions apply to all programs and activities of Federal-aid recipients, sub-recipients, and contractors, regardless of tier. The obligation to not discriminate is based on the objective of Congress to not have funds, which were collected in a non-discriminatory manner used in ways that subsidize, promote, or perpetuate discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, or retaliation. Primary recipients are responsible for determining and obtaining compliance by their sub-recipients and contractors. The recent passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the clarifications of the reach of Title VI in the arenas of Environmental Justice and the needs of Limited English Proficient populations have expanded jurisdiction, clients, and complexity.
COURSE NUMBER: FHWA-NHI-142042
COURSE TITLE: Fundamentals of Title VI/Environmental Justice
LENGTH: 2 Days CEU: 1.2 Units
FEE: $270 Per Participant
CLASS SIZE: Minimum:20; Maximum:30
Environmental justice and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to every stage of transportation decisionmaking. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and its partners are committed to integrating the nondiscrimination principles of environmental justice and Title VI into all Federal-aid programs. Through these and other transportation programs, many opportunities exist to establish partnerships with other public and private organizations to create livable communities that meet the needs of all people. This course presents participants with a framework for using a variety of approaches and tools for accomplishing environmental justice goals in Federal-aid programs and other transportation projects.
Mid-Ohio regional planning commission
MORPC's efforts are noteworthy for using analytical techniques and public involvement. The agency effectively used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping to locate low-income and minority populations within the Columbus metropolitan area. This information was incorporated into a travel-demand forecasting model to assess the benefits and burdens of existing and planned transportation system investments on target populations.
Central to MORPC's study plan was the agency's use of the travel-demand forecasting model that it had used to prepare its Vision 2020 Transportation Plan. This model employed land use and demographic information for each TAZ within the MORPC planning area to forecast existing and future traffic patterns and volumes on the regional transportation network. By expanding the modeling process to take into account the distribution of target versus nontarget populations within each TAZ, MORPC was able to estimate the extent to which low-income and minority populations were equitably served for each measure conside