As those who follow our agency may know, Metro has been studying if, where, and how congestion pricing (i.e., tolls) could be tested in our region to reduce gridlock and offer better mobility options to everyone.
The Traffic Reduction Study began in 2020 with listening sessions with elected officials, local government agencies, community representatives and customers. In 2021, Metro introduced early concept areas to the public and began its initial technical evaluation.
On January 22, 2022, a post on Metro’s The Source blog stated that Metro would host virtual public meetings in February. However, no official notices or invites have been issued for meetings because Metro is taking additional time to understand the impact of the pandemic on mobility patterns and other data used in the Traffic Reduction Study.
The extended duration of the coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted how people commute. Over the past two years, employers have relaxed requirements for in-person working, reducing the need for employees to commute daily. The decline in commercial office space occupancy likely won’t soon return to pre-pandemic levels. And high turnover in the job market has led to shifts in traffic patterns, congestion areas, and schedules. A number of these changes could become permanent as we emerge from the pandemic.
Our team is analyzing these factors and reviewing existing data to ensure the study findings reflect current and future trends. We’re also identifying types of transportation investments, low-income assistance programs, and other strategies that will make a successful and equitable pilot program.
While we have shared information on some early concepts, we are far from done collecting, analyzing and gathering public input. To that end, we plan to schedule public meetings for later in 2022. In the meantime, Metro will continue to publicly share updates periodically and gather input from customers and other stakeholders about their transportation needs.
We anticipate submitting a pilot program and implementation plan to the Metro Board for approval in 2023. If approved, Metro and partners will begin design and implementation of the pilot program for an anticipated launch in 2026.
Categories: Policy & Funding