An Option for Addressing Our Congestion Problem
We have a congestion problem in the Portland metro area. As traffic increases, trips take longer and are less predictable, which impacts our quality of life and the regional economy.
ODOT is addressing congestion through investments in transit, bicycle, pedestrian and highway projects. But more is needed. Through the value pricing feasibility analysis we are exploring the options available and how value pricing could help improve congestion in the Portland metro area.
Oregon’s House Bill 2017, also known as Keep Oregon Moving, directs the Oregon Transportation Commission to develop a proposal for value pricing on I-5 and I-205 from the state line to the junction of the two freeways just south of Tualatin, to reduce congestion. The State Legislature directed the OTC to seek approval from the Federal Highway Administration no later than December 31, 2018. If FHWA approves, the OTC is required to implement value pricing.
What is Value Pricing?
Value pricing, also known as congestion pricing, is a user fee system in which a higher price is set for driving on a road during more congested times of the day.
The goal is to encourage some drivers to travel at less congested times or by other modes of transportation. Drivers who choose to use the priced roadways see more reliable travel times. Value pricing is used in several areas of the world, including the Seattle metro area, and is proven to be a highly effective congestion management tool. Fees are collected electronically so drivers do not have to stop at toll booths. The main types of value pricing strategies that will be considered include:
- Priced lanes, which give drivers a choice to pay to use the lane to save time or to use the adjacent, unpriced lane.
- Priced roadways, a concept under which all lanes would be priced.
Both concepts could be applied to the entire highway or to specific highway segments, which could include bridges. This feasibility analysis will only consider pricing on two corridors, I-5 and I-205. Learn more about the feasibility analysis:
How Can You Get Involved?
Developing an Equitable Plan That Reflects Our Values
The OTC created a policy advisory committee to ensure a diversity of perspectives inform the OTC's final proposal. This committee, in conjunction with a comprehensive public input process, will help identify the most viable option for the Portland metro area. Any proposal forwarded by the OTC will reflect our values around transparency, inclusiveness and equity.