Policy Documents

Congestion Pricing: A Primer

Federal Highway Administration –
December 2, 2006

Growing congestion in the U.S. transportation network poses a substantial threat to the U.S. economy and to the quality of life of millions of Americans. According to the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), in 2003, congestion in the top 85 U.S. urban areas caused 3.7 billion hours of travel delay and 2.3 billions gallons of wasted fuel, for a total cost of $63 billion.  This figure would be substantially higher (perhaps almost triple) if it accounted for the significant cost of growing system unreliability and unpredictability to drivers and businesses, the environmental impacts of idle-related auto emissions, or higher gasoline prices. In the 10 most congested areas, each rush hour traveler “pays” an annual “congestion tax” of between $850 and $1,600 in lost time and fuel and spends the equivalent of almost 8 workdays each year stuck in traffic.