Evaluation Study of New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s Time of Day Pricing Initiative

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CAIT project no.: 114 RU6514

Fiscal Year: 2000/2001

Status: Final

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Kaan Ozbay, Ozlem Yanmaz-Tuzel, Sandeep Mudigonda, Bekir Bartin

External Author(s): Alan Lichtenstein, Voorhees Transportation Center Martin Robins, Voorhees Transportation Center, Jose Holguin-Veras, RPI Mecit Cetin, RPI Ning Xu, RPI Juan C. Zorrilla, RPI Shuwen Xia, RPI Qian Wang, RPI Michael Silas, RPI Judith Parrish, NJDOT Swati Gandhi, NJDOT



In September 2000, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority introduced E-ZPass technology along with the first stage of its time of day pricing program. In January 2003, toll levels for each time period and vehicle type were increased as part of the second stage of the NJ Turnpike time of day pricing program. The project had three main focus areas: Traffic Impacts, Behavioral Impacts and Media and Decision Makers Responses. In the first area, aggregate traffic counts and disaggregate vehicle-by-vehicle traffic and travel time information were used to quantify the impacts of the two phases of the time of day pricing program on the time of day choices of users. In addition, a simulation and toll plaza model were developed to assess the before and after toll plaza and facility-wide throughput, delays both at the toll plazas and mainline, and emissions. In the second focus area, traveler surveys were conducted with passenger cars to gain insights on the behavioral changes, and to evaluate the economic value of travel time savings and elasticities of the NJ Turnpike users. Finally, in the third focus area the acceptability of the time of day pricing program among media and decision makers was investigated. The aggregate analysis revealed a shift in traffic to off-peak periods after the first phase of time of day pricing program, and a shift to peak periods after the second phase. The disaggregate analysis indicated that given the small toll differential between peak and off-peak periods, commuters responded more to congestion (lower travel times) than slightly higher tolls, and second phase of the time of day pricing program did not have a statistically significant impact on the traffic patterns of the NJ Turnpike. Simulation results revealed that from 2000 to 2001 the average trip delay was reduced by about 3-18 percent, E-ZPass was observed to reduce the toll plaza delays by 44-74 percent, and there was 10.7 percent reduction in vehicle emission levels. However, after 2001 emissions slightly increased due to the increasing demand. In addition, the NJ Turnpike users had relatively high VOT values ($15/hr-$20/hr) and low elasticity values (between -0.06 and -0.18), indicating that give higher values to travel time savings compared to other toll road users in the U.S.