California nonprofit TransForm and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently released a new report and toolkit with guidance for bringing equity into the implementation of congestion pricing. While conversations about congestion pricing and equity often focus on minimizing the negative—reducing disproportionate impacts to low-income residents—the report authors argue a different paradigm: that pricing strategies can be used to improve the equity of transportation systems overall by harnessing the potential efficiencies to address systemic inequities.
The report is timely for the LA region. In late January, the Board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) opted to delay a proposal to explore congestion pricing options for the region, citing a need to weigh and address equity implications before moving forward. The Board approved a motion tasking Metro with developing an “equity strategy” for congestion pricing through consultation with experts and stakeholders before advancing further. TransForm’s and NRDC’s new report, Pricing Roads, Advancing Equity, could help provide some of the answers needed to move forward.