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Mobility Pricing Opportunities and Challenges

Project Summary

Status

In development

Last Updated

July, 2019

Responsible Council / Committee

Mobility Council / Transportation Planning Committee

Project Funding Partners

Expected Duration

18 months

Total Funding Estimate

$110,000

Staff Contact

Abstract

Transportation pricing is a powerful motivator behind the choices individuals make, particularly in urban contexts where more travel options exist. Canada’s wide variety of current or envisioned transportation pricing tools includes parking fees, congestion pricing, transit fares, fuel taxes, road and bridge tolls, distance-based insurance, and more recent mobility-as-a-service concepts.

Some funding mechanisms, particularly fuel taxes, are increasingly seen as challenged by new technologies and services including automated vehicles, electric vehicles and transportation network companies.

New forms of mobility pricing, or newly priced facilities, tend to be controversial; typical concerns relate to cost, personal privacy, equity and affordability, and how revenues are used. Recent experience in Metro Vancouver and the City of Toronto have shown the challenges in achieving public and political support. On the other hand, the international experience includes numerous examples of cordon and facility tolling that were initially controversial but ultimately achieved popular support while raising funds and helping to manage transportation demand, resulting in benefits for different classes of users.

OBJECTIVES

The major objective of this project is to identify how mobility pricing can contribute to the performance of urban transportation systems in Canada, and to the achievement of key social, economic and environmental outcomes. It will address shared policy priorities, recent technological advances, emerging business models, and observed shifts in consumer preferences. Potential focus questions include:

  • What are the key outcomes to which mobility pricing can contribute? (e.g. congestion management, emissions, equity, government revenues)
  • What forms of mobility pricing offer the greatest potential to improve key outcomes, and how are they affected by current and emerging trends? (e.g. congestion charging, mileage-based levies, mobility-as-a-service, transit fares, fuel taxes, parking fees, curbside access fees)
  • What undesirable outcomes of mobility pricing are possible, and how can they be mitigated? (e.g. negative impacts on equity or affordability)
  • What challenges are faced by public-sector agencies seeking to implement or manage mobility pricing? (e.g. legal barriers, technological gaps, public acceptance)

Project work could include surveys of practitioners, a review of leading international practices, and the application of structured analysis frameworks (e.g. SWOT).

The final project deliverable is intended to be a discussion paper that assesses mobility pricing options and identifies leverage points available to Canadian transportation stakeholders. This is a broad topic, and funders will have the opportunity to shape the work to meet their areas of interest and take advantage of the project team’s expertise.