Distance-dependent congestion pricing for downtown zones

Carlos F. Daganzo, Lewis J. Lehe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A growing literature exploits macroscopic theories of traffic to model congestion pricing policies in downtown zones. This study introduces trip length heterogeneity into this analysis and proposes a usage-based, time-varying congestion toll that alleviates congestion while prioritizing shorter trips. Unlike conventional trip-based tolls the scheme is intended to align the fees paid by drivers with the actual congestion damage they do, and to increase the toll's benefits as a result.The scheme is intended to maximize the number of people that finish their trips close to their desired times. The usage-based toll is compared to a traditional, trip-based toll which neglects trip length. It is found that, like trip-based tolls, properly designed usage-based tolls alleviate congestion. But they reduce schedule delay more than trip-based tolls and do so with much smaller user fees. As a result usage-based tolls leave most of those who pay with a large welfare gain. This may increase the tolls' political acceptability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Macroscopic fundamental diagram
  • Morning commute problem
  • Usage-based congestion pricing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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