- Transportation user fees determine the way companies and individuals different transport facilities in an area according to set standards. Federal and state authorities impose such charges to enhance the quality of roads and other transport channels in the area. In some instances, such costs seek to reduce congestion to make it easier for commuters to move from one location to another without unnecessary delays. Consequently, such approaches make it easier for a country to transform its transport systems to enable people to get to their places of work on time (Yaghoubi 126). Pricing policies take into account the level of congestion on roads and peak period road usage in different localities to ensure optimum utilization of roads in an area. Equally crucial, such policies consider the mobility of various road users at a given period and how it affects overall services that are available to people in multiple places.
On some routes, variable pricing ensures people pay more for accessing some lanes compared to others. For instance, High- Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes require drivers of low-occupancy vehicles to pay whenever they use them. In contrast, high occupancy vehicles such as buses may pay lower rates to access such lanes passing through various locations. Thus, HOT lanes enable cities to create routes that are accessible to all road users at all times, while ensuring low-occupancy vehicles pay more to access such routes at specific periods. Such pricing mechanisms enable cities to use revenues they obtain from such lanes to improve transport infrastructure while encouraging more commuters to rely on public transport in various locations (Yaghoubi 173). Therefore, they make it easier for authorities to balance the usage of transport systems at both peak and off-peak periods through flexible toll schedules that take into account operating costs in an area.
The appropriateness of user fees for public amenities ensures federal and state authorities have a consistent source of revenue to maintain them for different people that use them. Social, economic, and environmental sustainability are crucial factors that influence the way public authorities design different transport systems and their overall benefits to users. Primarily, effective pricing models and other transport regulations should consider economic productivity in an area and how it depends on existing transportation systems. Equally crucial, zone-based pricing in some locations limits the number of vehicles that can access a congested place with narrow roads and limited parking (Yaghoubi 187). Such approaches enhance overall road users’ experiences in an area while encouraging more people to use buses, trams, and other high-occupancy vehicles to move from one place to the next. Considerably, user fees help in the enforcement of transport and safety regulations that improve the quality of life of people living in a particular area.
- The user fees for transportation in the Chicago region affect the way different people use available facilities for various activities. There are different revenues the city generates from different transportation activities that enable it to maintain roads and various transport infrastructure in the region. Primarily, user fees charged on vehicles solve different transportation problems while enhancing mobility in different locations across the city. Such approaches allow proper coordination between the state, local, and federal agencies to guarantee efficient funding systems that offer value to users in diverse regions. Therefore, the strategies enable all agencies involved to focus on appropriate ways of funding transport infrastructure to enhance the value that users gain from them at different periods. The motor fuel tax that requires drivers to pay for the mileage they drive within Illinois has affected the overall pricing model the state uses in its transport system (CMAP 6).
The Chicago Transit Authority, Illinois Tollway, and the National Highway System have different requirements that motorists have to fulfill whenever they use them. The Chicago Transit Authority utilizes trains to enable people to move within different parts of Chicago metropolitan zones easily. On the other hand, Illinois Tollway user fees require vehicle owners to pay specific rates whenever they drive in different places according to the number of miles they have moved. Notably, the tolls have increased gradually over the years to account for expenses the state incurs in developing different roads while ensuring users get the best services possible. The Chicago Transit Authority requires people who travel on trains within the city to pay for specified fares as they commute to different locations within the Chicago region (CMAP 18). The freeway charges allow federal authorities to estimate miles that users travel while moving on the national highway system within Illinois and beyond. Therefore, all agencies involved have formulated more efficient ways for users to pay different toll charges to limit stoppages and make it easier for users to reach their destinations quickly without delays.
- a. The concept of externalities in transport defines specific persons that pay and those that benefit from public goods. In effect, it allows policymakers to determine specific social, environmental, and economic costs that affect the quality of transport systems in a particular nation. Equally crucial, the person who gains more value from utilizing a transport system is likely to impact on the longevity of existing infrastructure in an area. For instance, noise, pollution, wear, and tear are considerable externalities that relate to the usage of public infrastructure by different people (Raicu et al. 4). The idea helps public administrators to identify risks that affect the effectiveness of public infrastructure while estimating the damage rates that are likely to occur within a particular period. Therefore, it is useful in ensuring those who benefit the most from roads, rail, and other transport systems pay different types of fees for their usage.
Also, the concept of externalities allows agencies that control public transport systems to estimate the monetary costs they are likely to incur while maintaining them at different periods. Primarily, such factors make it easier for public administrators to estimate a fair price for different parties that utilize a road or a transport system. Thus, a fair tradeoff between costs and benefits allows public agencies to estimate specific market rates that will promote the collective wellbeing of residents living in an area (Raicu et al. 8). Since most social costs are not easy to quantify, public administrators have to formulate policies governing the usage of transport systems at a given period to achieve better outcomes in the long-term. Such approaches allow state, local, and federal authorities to define transport systems to determine if they are open or closed and the way they contribute to the socio-economic agenda of an area.
- b. Structures that address the costs and benefits of negative externalities can be effective in limiting congestion and air pollution in transport systems. During initial investments in transport systems, such projects need to address social costs that affect the usage of such systems within specific periods. Such considerations require parties involved to analyze different criteria that affect the overall sustainability of a project and its usage in a particular timeframe. Thus, they enable all interested parties to perform a cost-benefit analysis of different decisions they make to assess the implications of such projects in the long-term. For such projects to accomplish their objectives, decision-makers must consider time savings and the way they are likely to affect their usage by various parties at different periods. Therefore, they have to establish structures that assess the effects of high volume transport channels on the wellbeing of people living in a specific location at a specific period.
Notably, improvements in monitoring and tracking data on usage patterns make it easier for nations to balance costs and benefits relating to the usage of transportation systems in an area. Such approaches allow all parties to assess savings and investments that determine the overall value of transport infrastructure built in a particular location. Primarily, using geo-spatial data allows administrators to establish specific transport patterns and the way they define movements between different locations in a geographic zone (Tomasiello et al. 5). Crucially, all policies should define links between consumers of transport services and the providers of fuel and other services that affect transportation patterns. Such models ensure the spatial connections between different transportation systems conform to the needs of a population at a specific period. Therefore, the model must assess specific indicators that show correlations between various systems and the way they affect the usability of an existing transport system at a specific period.
An effective model should create a street grid database by mapping all routes and their peculiar characteristics. Such designs will make it easier for authorities to formulate effective ways of balancing costs and benefits to users of various transport systems in an area to ensure they serve the desired purpose. Alternatively, improving connectivity between areas where people live and where they work should influence the overall design of the transport system to enhance its overall benefits to users. Such approaches will make it easier for all users to get the desired value from the developed system at a particular period (Tomasiello et al. 8). Thus, the proposed solution requires encouraging more people to utilize mass public transit systems whenever they move to different areas during peak periods. Therefore, high levels of sensitization will make it easier for more people to utilize trains and trams while moving to different directions to address the negative effects of congestion and air pollution.
Adopting high-quality public transport will open up different transit networks while increasing mobility between different zones. Crucially, the commute time for different people at peak hours in the morning and evening will reduce drastically, allowing more people that depend on the system to enjoy a high quality of life. Moreover, connectivity with other systems from neighboring states and cities will lead to the formation of a public transport cluster that will make it easier for people to move from one area to the next (Annema et al. 117). Primarily, such approaches will limit the number of people using cars for transportation while enabling more people to focus on social and economic activities that are beneficial to their progress. Therefore, local governments and other state agencies will be able to gather more data revealing vital details on the usage of such systems and the overall value they bring to the state.
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CMAP. Transportation System Funding Concepts. Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, 2016.
Tomasiello, Diego B., et al. “The Negative Externalities of the Transportation System in Megacities Influenced by the Industrial and Commercial Establishments and the Urban Freights Flows.” CUPUM 173 Paper, 2015, pp. 1-19, http://web.mit.edu/cron/project/CUPUM2015/proceedings/Content/pss/173_tomasiello_h.pdf. Accessed 29 Apr. 2020.
Raicu, Serban, et al. “Including Negative Externalities during Transport Infrastructure Construction in Assessment of Investment Projects.” European Transport Research Review, vol. 11, no.1, 2019, pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12544-019-0361-9.
Yaghoubi, Hamid. Urban Transport Systems. InTech, 2017.