Equity and Impacts on Low-Income Groups
While managed lane strategies focus primarily on improving the throughput of automobiles on selected segments of the regional Transportation network, it is anticipated that a major benefit of such strategies is improved accessibility to employment by disadvantaged communities. Additionally, there may be air quality benefits imparted through reduction of delay and associated vehicle idling; traditionally, low-income communities have suffered disproportionately high rates of asthma that some attribute to proximity to congested highway facilities.
Congestion pricing applications may be perceived as having an adverse affect on low-income people's ability to access expressway facilities. They may also force higher volumes of and/or heavy vehicle traffic onto densely settled arterial corridors. Yet low income people have also recognized the benefits managed lanes offer to mainline expressway systems, in terms of improved flow and travel speed. According to SANDAG, 80% of low-income drivers (below $40,000 annual income) approve of the application of HOT lanes to congested corridors.
What should be done to assure that managed lanes have positive impacts for low income individuals and disadvantaged communities?