The Impact of Tolls on Access and Travel Patterns of Different Socioeconomic Groups: A Study for the Greater New York Metropolitan Area

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-NC40

Fiscal Year: 2016/2017

Status: In Progress

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Devajyoti Deka, Ph.D., Patrick Szary, Ph.D.

External Author(s): Krishna Murthy

Sponsor(s): USDOT-FHWA, Meadowlink Transportation Management Association (EZRide)


This research will analyze data from the 2011 household travel survey for the Greater New York Metropolitan area, conducted by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), to examine the potential impacts of tolls on the travel patterns of people in general and workers in particular. The impacts will be assessed regarding the use of alternative routes, modes, and destinations.

The survey data includes detailed trip patterns (by mode and travel time) for residents of two southern counties of Connecticut, New York City and its surrounding counties, and 14 counties of New Jersey. Street network GIS shape files, Census Transportation Planning Products (CTPP) data, and data from the American Community Survey (ACS) will be integrated with survey data for analysis.

At an initial step, trips from the survey data that have toll facilities on the fastest route between the origins and destinations will be identified. By focusing on those trips, comparisons will be made between those who actually used toll facilities and those who used alternative routes and modes to examine if there are variations between the toll payers and others in terms of socioeconomic characteristics.

In the subsequent part, employment centers within the region will be identified and the characteristics of the workers traveling to those centers by using toll facilities will be compared with the characteristics of travelers traveling to those centers by using alternative routes and modes.

In the third part, this research will examine if travelers from low-income and minority households travel longer distances or spend more time traveling than other workers when toll facilities are present between their homes and proximate employment centers. The policy implications of the findings will be discussed in the context of the USDOT’s strategic goals.