The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced nearly $3.4 million in grants for states and local agencies to explore innovative new pricing approaches to reduce traffic congestion, overcrowding of transit systems and parking shortages during peak travel times.

“Increasing strain on the transportation system is one of the challenges our nation will continue to face in the upcoming decades,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Finding new ways to cut congestion can help address this challenge as our travel demands continue to climb.”

The grants are part of FHWA’s Value Pricing Pilot Program to fund the study of new pricing methods. Since its creation almost two decades ago, the program has funded more than 50 cutting-edge projects to tackle congestion in major metropolitan areas, such as HOV-to-HOT lane conversions, that have become commonplace nationwide.

The GROW AMERICA Act, the Presidents long-term transportation bill, will also leverage research and innovation as solutions to moving people and goods more safely and efficiently, while pursuing opportunities to minimize impacts on the environment. A number of challenges exist on the horizon, and research will play a key role in developing solutions.

“The program encourages new ways of thinking about transportation and promotes more choices for the traveling public,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Ultimately, people will have more quality time and spend less of it stuck in traffic or looking for parking.”

Today’s grants support five forward-looking projects, including an evaluation of “cordon pricing” – currently deployed in London and Singapore – that charges vehicles for entry in congested areas. Grant funds will also support a pay-as-you-drive insurance pilot program that charges users according to mileage driven instead of a flat rate.

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