You've probably seen many phrases being thrown out there. Many of them don't seem super obvious. Let's use the information below to understand these terms better.
this is a really broad term that's used to refer to different things
car / bike share fees
road / bridge tolls
ride-hailing / taxi fares
This important concept...
these terms refer to all the ways a user would pay to get around
Charging vehicles a fee for using the road network
...goes by many names that are often used interchangeably
no matter what we call it, this concept is based on the User-Pays Principle.
This is a principle within Mobility Pricing that relates to how we pay/price. A user pays for how much they use the mobility network.
This can be applied through a blunt mechanism (e.g. 3 zone transit fares, annual insurance costs, fuel costs), or in ways where the price is more reflective of the use (e.g. distance-based insurance and transit fares, road usage charges).
Why do we price mobility?
- Pay for Operations + Maintenance
- Raise revenue
- Generate Profit (private sector)
- Manage the mobility system
Issues with Existing Pricing Methods
In recent years, we have separated how much we use from how much we pay. That is, our usage is not as reflective of the costs, as it once was. Sometimes, we use blunt mechanisms to price mobility.
Let's look at an example of this
Say you were on the SkyTrain going from Station A to Station B
Since you crossed the zone boundary, you would be charged a two-zone fare of $4.35 (cash) or $3.55 (Compass card), even though you only travelled one stop.
But, if you travelled one stop in the same zone, you would only be charged $3.05 (cash) or $2.45 (Compass Card), even if the distance you travelled was twice as long.
This blunt mechanism of 'cut-off points' evidently does not reflect how much one actually uses the system.
Often, current pricing mechanisms do not capture all users of the system.
For example, the fuel tax does not apply to electric vehicles, but these vehicles still add to congestion on the road network. Current pricing misses that.
We currently do not pay for many indirect costs of mobility, like...
Implementing a solution to address these indirect costs on society is normally covered under what's known as the User Cost Principle.
This is a principle within Mobility Pricing that relates to how much one contributes to indirect costs on society like congestion.
Under this concept, a user would pay in proportion to how much they contribute.
Making sense of
There are three types of Road Pricing systems:
Area / Cordon System
A fee is charged for driving into or within a defined boundary area.
You probably saw this in the news coverage about Vancouver's proposal.
This system charges a set fee for using a road, bridge, or tunnel to pay for that piece of infrastructure.
The former tolling system on the Port Mann bridge is an example of this.
This system charges a fee for the use of roads over the entire mobility network, typically measured in terms of distance travelled.
Oregon was studying implementing this system for cars of certain fuel efficiency.
(a brief history)
Road Pricing has been discussed many times over the previous decades and features in many regional plans. In some plans, it's been envisioned in a package of other mobility pricing measures.
yeah, we've been talking about doing this for a while.
Use the tool below to learn more. You can download all documents mentioned here in the Resources section.
In 2017, The Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation and TransLink's board set up a Mobility Pricing Independent Commission to study if a pricing system could be implemented in Metro Van to manage congestion, promote fairness, and support investment.
The City of Vancouver approved the Transportation 2040 plan for Vancouver that covers a multi-modal mobility and access improvements throughout the city. Transit financing was also mentioned with 'road pricing' and other mobility pricing tools endorsed.
Moving in Metro was hosted by Moving in a Livable Region and the SFU Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue to engage the community on 'road pricing' in Metro Vancouver. Community dialogues were held in Fall 2013 with a regional summit in Nov 2013. Final reports were released in Feb 2014.
Metro Vancouver (then Greater Vancouver Regional District) and the Province of BC released Transport 2021: A Long-Range Transportation Plan for Greater Vancouver which endorsed 'road pricing' to reduce congestion, accurately signal user costs, and raise revenue for transportation improvements.
Metro Vancouver released Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future, its Regional Growth Strategy. the strategy requested action of other governments and agencies; in the transportation sector, it calls for the implementation of demand management measures such as user-based pricing.
In 2014, the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation released its 10 Year Vision. The Vision outlined funding mechanisms that would help pay for the investments in transportation infrastructure in Metro Vancouver, including mobility pricing.