ODOT - How will tolling work? from Oregon Toll Program
The Regional Mobility Pricing Project proposes to reduce congestion on I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metropolitan region through congestion pricing. Congestion pricing, using variable-rate tolls, is a key tool in ODOT's urban mobility strategy to reduce traffic jams and provide safer and more predictable trips for travelers.
ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration are beginning an environmental analysis to identify the project's potential benefits and impacts.
Thank you for your comments!
We recently completed a 50-day public comment period that lasted from November 18, 2022 to January 6, 2023. We received over 4,000 comments from across the region and hosted two webinars to share information and answer questions. Review the recordings from the November 29 and November 30 webinars to learn more.
All comments on these materials will be reviewed and summarized and will inform the environmental analysis. In late 2023, FHWA and ODOT will share the Draft Environmental Assessment for public review and comment. We will continue to provide ongoing project updates and opportunities for involvement.
Sign up for the email newsletter to learn about project updates and opportunities for involvement.
Report on public input from spring 2022 now available. We received over 12,000 responses to our online survey in May. Community perspectives will shape the project design, design of a toll discount or credit program for people experiencing low-incomes, and other ways to make this change work for the Portland metropolitan area. Community members also shared ideas for additional needs outside of this project, such as new light rail and roadway connections, to improve the regional transportation system. A summary of what we heard from the survey and community engagement in spring 2022 is here. This builds on previous engagement with travelers and community members, Review our 2021 Engagement Report here. We hope you will continue to stay engaged!
The Regional Mobility Pricing Project will reduce traffic and provide more predictable travel by applying congestion pricing, using variable-rate tolls, on all lanes of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.
What is being proposed?
The proposed project has been informed by planning, public input and analysis over the past several years.
Tolling on all lanes of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. Tolling all lanes, instead of a single express lane, would provide congestion relief and keep costs low for all drivers. Tolls are being studied on I-5 between the Columbia River and the Boone Bridge in Wilsonville and on I-205 from the Columbia River to where I-205 intersects with I-5 in Tualatin. The toll boundaries may be adjusted during or after the environmental analysis.
Tolls based on a set schedule. Drivers would know the toll rate in advance. A set schedule allows drivers to determine the cost of their trip ahead of time to plan their travel.
Tolls based on location and time of day. Toll rates would vary based on time of day and location, known as variable rate tolls. Drivers would be charged higher toll rates at congested locations during morning and afternoon rush hours and lower tolls at less congested locations during other times of day. Drivers would only pay for the portions of I-5 and I-205 they use.
- Drivers would pay a toll through an
all-electronic collection system—Drivers would not stop to pay a toll.
Toll rates would be monitored and adjusted after tolling begins. The Oregon Transportation Commission will set toll rates.
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How would tolls work on I-5 and I-205?
- Toll systems will read a toll tag, a small sticker placed on the inside of the windshield or capture a picture of the vehicle's license plate to collect a toll by mailing the vehicle owner a bill.
- ODOT will provide a discount or credit for people experiencing low incomes. Some discounts or credits for select vehicle types or users may also be available.
See what all-electronic tolling would look like.
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 one necessary tool to fix our transportation system.
Congestion pricing, a type of tolling, will bring more predictable trips and address congestion in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Toll revenue from the Regional Mobility Pricing Project would be an additional source of funding for transportation improvements identified in existing regional transportation planning documents.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 predictable 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 reduce 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, Oregon metropolitan region and committed funding to projects that will reduce traffic congestion and improve the transportation system statewide, including improvements to highways, the freight network, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
- Improves travel time and increases travel predictability, 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.
The Regional Mobility Pricing Project will use congestion pricing to reduce traffic congestion on I-5 and I-205 in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area in a manner that will generate revenue for transportation system investments. 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.
- Reduces 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 Equity and Mobility 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 about how to get involved 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. We are beginning an environmental analysis to identify the project's potential benefits and impacts and will share a Draft Environmental Assessment in late 2023. The earliest tolling could begin under the Regional Mobility Pricing Project is late 2025. Learn more about the ongoing I-205 Toll Project.
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