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ODOT's goal is to ensure the benefits of tolling (reduced congestion and improved mobility) are shared across all demographics. ODOT seeks to collaborate with community partners to work towards an equitable distribution of the benefits of reduced congestion. An I-205 and I-5 Toll Projects' Equity Framework will guide the entirety of this project, including the technical analysis and the public engagement strategies. The goals of the toll projects' equity framework are to:
Discussions with the public, regional stakeholders and elected officials during the 2018 Feasibility Analysis revealed three consistent themes:
Historically and currently underrepresented and underserved communities experience negative impacts from our existing transportation system due to past investment and development patterns. For example, many low-income communities have been priced out of centrally located neighborhoods by high housing costs and are now living farther away from employment and services. These same individuals often have less flexibility with travel times and may not have access to other transportation options.
While variable rate tolling or congestion pricing is a proven tool for funding projects and managing traffic, we also know that success for our region will require improved public transit or other travel options.
Improve Public Transportation and other Transportation Options
Improving public transportation and other transportation options is an essential strategy for equity and mobility. We need viable options to improve mobility for those who are less able to pay a toll.
Most pricing projects throughout the country have included investments in increased public transportation, carpool/vanpool, biking and pedestrian alternatives.
Minimize and lessen negative impacts of diversion to neighborhoods
Neighborhood diversion currently exists as drivers use neighborhood streets as a cut through to avoid congestion on freeways. Implementing tolls on I-205 and I-5 has potential to cause some people to avoid tolls and use local neighborhood streets. Both the I-205 and I-5 projects need to identify toll end points to lessen negative impacts.
During this phase of analysis, we will evaluate diversion potential and design options that can encourage beneficial diversion and minimize unwanted diversion.
Diversion can take many forms, some of which are beneficial:
Toward the surface street system. This occurs when through traffic diverts from freeways onto the local and arterial road network.
Away from local streets. If tolls reduce freeway congestion, it will draw vehicles away from the local and arterial road network and back to the freeway in search of travel-time savings.
Change travel mode. This type of diversion reflects vehicles shifting to different transportation modes like biking, walking, or transit.
Change travel time. This type of diversion reflects people shifting travel to different times of day to avoid the peak commute hours.
Change freeway route. Currently, ODOT balances freeway volumes via variable message signs and other tools. Tolls may be another strategy to balance diversion.
ODOT continues to seek extensive public and stakeholder involvement to inform an equity framework, project development, and community mobility and equity priorities.
Multiple strategies are underway to ensure the Oregon Transportation Commission and ODOT staff hear from community members in the Portland metro area including Southwest Washington before decision-making on selected alternatives for both I-205 and I-5, equity and mobility strategies and, in the future, toll policies and rates.
Planned strategies include:
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