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Tolling and Pricing

Oregon Tolling Policy Development

The 2007 Oregon legislature directed the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) to develop tolling policy recommendations so that if the State decides to pursue tolling, it will have a consistent framework and foundation on which to develop, implement and evaluate potential projects.

The OTC Reviewed and assessed potential effects of highway tolling and pricing to determine if and how tolling could be applied in Oregon. It then commissioned seven white papers to evaluate and understand several technical tolling issues and their implications to motorists, the transportation system and communities in Oregon. The papers were completed in February 2009 and discuss the following concepts:

  1. Can tolling reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
  2. Where, geographically, could tolling work and under what circumstances?
  3. Forecasting change – how do we incorporate tolling and pricing into our regional transportation models?
  4. What are the economics of transportation system reliability?
  5. How does "pricing" urban highway networks affect transportation, people and businesses?
  6. How do you determine if tolling a project is a better alternative than other non-tolled options and how would you choose between a number of tolled alternatives?
  7. Are truck only toll lanes a viable option for Oregon?

The final white papers were presented to transportation stakeholders for feedback in spring of 2009.

ODOT is gathering information and narrowing the options for a discussion of tolling and pricing in Oregon. The OTC will review stakeholder feedback and then consider if and how pricing should be applied in Oregon.


Tolling and congestion pricing have evolving definitions of terms which may be used by different people to mean different things. To be clear, we have defined the following terms which are used in the seven white papers and highlights.

Tolling Types

High occupancy toll (HOT) lanes – Travel lanes restricted to either qualifying HOVs or solo drivers willing to pay a toll. The toll typically varies by time of day or traffic levels and is collected electronically.

Managed toll lane - Any toll lane that uses variably priced tolls to maintain superior, less congested travel conditions.

Area/Cordon tolling - Vehicles are charged to travel into or within a high activity center, such as a downtown or business district. Prices may vary by time of day to encourage motorists to enter the zone during less busy times or to use transit.

System tolling - Implementing tolls on all highways and major arterials in a region to reduce congestion, minimize route diversion and increase transportation revenues.

Tolling Approaches

Congestion pricing – An overarching term used to describe measures that reduce congestion by charging drivers tolls that vary by time of day or traffic volumes.

Tolling - Charging a price to use a road, bridge or tunnel.

Flat rate - Toll rates that don’t change.

Variable/dynamic - A toll that changes by time of day, traffic volumes or other factor. Dynamic tolls change in response to real-time conditions.

Electronic tolling - Using technology to collect tolls from drivers without requiring them to stop and make cash payments.


White Paper Topics

Tolling White Paper Process Overview (PDF)

Each White Paper listed below contains a comment form. Your input and feedback will be used by the Oregon Transportation Commission as it considers next steps.

  1. Air Quality/Greenhouse Gas Emissions White Paper (PDF) - Highlights (PDF)
  2. Geographic and Situational Limits White Paper (PDF) - Highlights (PDF)
  3. Travel Demand Model Sufficiency White Paper (PDF) - Highlights (PDF)
  4. Economic Evaluation of Improved Reliability White Paper (PDF) - Highlights (PDF)
  5. Assessing the Economic Effects of Congestion Pricing White Paper (PDF) - Highlights (PDF)
  6. Economic Comparison of Alternatives White Paper (PDF) - Highlights (PDF)
  7. Truck-Only Toll Lanes White Paper (PDF) - Highlights (PDF)

Tolling and Pricing Policy Amendments to the OTP and OHP

Please contact Michael Rock with any comments or questions.