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Regional Mobility Pricing Project

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Project Status

We are currently in the initial planning phase for the Regional Mobility Pricing Project, which evaluates congestion pricing, a type of tolling, the entire I-5 and I-205 corridor in the Portland metropolitan region. In 2022, ODOT will study project options, identify strategies to assist low-income drivers and historically excluded and underserved communities, and invite public input. ODOT will partner with local agencies and transit providers to guide ODOT's commitments for transit and other multimodal improvements with toll projects.

Thank you for taking our survey! We received several thousand responses to our online survey in May. Community perspectives will shape the project design, ways we can design a toll discount or credit for people experiencing low-incomes, and other ways to make this change work for the Portland metropolitan region. We hope you will continue to stay engaged! Please stay tuned for future public input opportunities and a summary of what we heard from the survey and community engagement in spring 2022. 

What we've heard: Last year, travelers and community members shared their thoughts about congestion pricing in the Portland metropolitan area. Learn more here about what we heard from briefings, discussion groups, and over 6,500 survey responses. Don't have time to read the full report? See our November 2021 newsletter with key takeaways or watch a video to learn more about what community engagement liaisons heard from their communities.

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​The Regional Mobility Pricing Project would apply congestion pricing (using variable-rate tolls) on all lanes of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metro area to manage traffic congestion and raise revenue for priority transportation projects that improve mobility.

The project area begins just south of the Columbia River in and ends at the Boone Bridge over the Willamette River in Wilsonville. Toll rates would vary on a set schedule based on time of day, vehicle class, and vehicle occupancy.

The term "congestion pricing" describes a type of tolling that aims to improve mobility, travel times, and reliability by charging a higher price during peak traffic periods. The higher fee—typically implemented along with transit and other multimodal improvements—encourages some drivers to consider using other travel options such as carpools or transit, or change their travel time to other, less congested times of the day, or not make the trip at all. 

The study area includes I 5 and and two oh 5 from the Oregon Washington state line to the Boone Bridge in Wilsonville. 

​What is being proposed?

  • Drivers would pay a toll through an all-electronic collection system. This system allows drivers to keep moving and not stop (as illustrated below). 
  • Toll rates would vary by time of day, location, and vehicle type (a concept known as congestion pricing). Higher tolls will be applied in areas with more congestion to help traffic flow smoothly. 
  • Toll systems will read a transponder, a small device placed on the inside of the windshield, or capture a picture of the vehicle's license plate to collect a toll. 
  • All drivers pay a toll each time they use the tolled portions of I-5 and I-205. Travelers will be able to review the toll rate before getting on the toll road. 
  • Larger vehicles, like freight trucks, would pay a higher toll than passenger vehicles. 
  • ODOT will provide a discount or credit for people experiencing low incomes. Some discounts and credits for select vehicle classes or users may also be available. ​

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Purpose​​


Our outdated transportation system requires us to take action and make improvements. 

The cost of congestion on freeways in the Portland metropolitan region was $1.2 million a day in 2019, according to ODOT's 2020 Traffic Performance Report. The metropolitan area is expected to grow 23% by 2040. Yet, Oregon faces an annual shortfall of $510 million to adequately maintain bridges and roads.

Tolling is a necessary tool to fix our transportation system. 

Congestion pricing, a type of tolling, will bring more reliable trips and address congestion in the Portland metropolitan region, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The revenue from tolling will fund seismic, safety and bottleneck-relief projects, further relieving congestion.

How does this help keep traffic moving? ​

In cities, space is limited, and communities make choices about how best to use that space. When something is in high demand, the value or price increases. 

Congestion pricing charges a higher fee during rush hour (generally 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.), compared to other times, so travelers can make informed choices, such as:
  • Delaying running errands until off-peak hours.
  • Taking a bus, biking, or carpooling instead of driving alone.
  • Paying a toll for a more reliable trip.
Removing as little as 5% of the vehicles from a busy road reduces traffic and allows a more efficient flow of cars. Fewer vehicles on the road during peak travel times means less traffic.



Portland is not the first city to explore congestion pricing as a tool to reduce traffic. Places like Seattle and Minneapolis/St. Paul have been using congestion pricing for over a decade with great success. In Seattle, the Federal Highway Administration reported traffic volumes decreased by 35-40 percent, and in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the state's Department of Transportation found drivers were able to travel at speeds above 45 mph approximately 96 percent of the time.

Oregon is committed to using congestion pricing on I-5 and I-205 to manage traffic in the Portland metropolitan area.

The State of Oregon is exploring tolling as part of a comprehensive approach to better manage congestion in the Portland metropolitan region. In 2017, the Oregon Legislature approved House Bill 2017, known as Keep Oregon Moving. In 2021, the Legislature adopted another bill, HB 3055, which clarified and reinforced the transportation direction from HB 2017. These directed the Oregon Transportation Commission to pursue and implement tolling I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metropolitan region and committed funding to projects that will manage traffic congestion and improve the transportation system statewide, including improvements to highways, the freight network, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. ​


Expected Benefits

  • Improves travel time and increases reliability, safety and efficiency.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.
  • Establishes a new, sustainable funding source through a user fee.
  • Supports enhanced transportation equity and mobility. 
Our goal is to both reduce congestion and raise revenue for critical projects. Additionally, we are designing the project so that congestion pricing on I-5 and I-205 achieves the following:
  • Provides benefits for historically and currently excluded and underserved communities.
  • Limits additional rerouting to adjacent roads and neighborhoods due to drivers avoiding the tolled interstates.
  • Supports transit, walking, and rolling choices to reduce congestion.
  • Supports safe travel.
  • Contributes to regional improvements in air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Supports regional economic growth.
  • Manages traffic congestion.
  • Is compatible with tolling planned for the I-205 Toll Project and the Interstate Bridge.

ODOT seeks extensive public and stakeholder involvement to inform project goal setting, development, and equity and mobility strategies. See our Mobility and Equity page.

 We have planned multiple strategies to ensure the Oregon Transportation Commission and ODOT staff hear from community members in the Portland metropolitan area, including Southwest Washington, before making decisions.​

Planned strategies include:

  • Collaboration with the Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee.
  • Equitable and focused engagement with communities who have been historically and currently excluded and underserved by transportation projects.
  • Broad public and community outreach using interactive events and online channels.
  • Briefings and discussions with existing regional policy groups (for example, Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, Region 1 Area Commission on Transportation).
  • Seeking input from technical work groups of partner agency staff on methodologies and analytical results that incorporate stakeholder input.

As the Regional Mobility Pricing​ Project moves forward, ODOT will be offering other digital opportunities to provide valuable feedback and hear directly from the experts. Learn more here about how to get involved (link to new Get Involved page) and sign up for project updates to find out about upcoming events.​​

​The process to implement a toll program requires substantial analysis, public input, construction, testing and driver education before the system can be operational. Early planning for tolling on I-5 and I-205 started in 2021. The formal environmental review is expected to begin in 2022. The earliest tolling could begin under the Regional Mobility Pricing Project is 2025. Learn more about the ongoing I-205 Toll Project.

Fall 2021 Schedule

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