A survey of travelers indicated that 20 percent of motorists traveling on two bridges in Lee County, Florida adjusted their departure times in response to an electronic payment value pricing program that gave motorists a 50 percent discount on bridge tolls during off peak periods.

1-4 May 2000
Lee County,Florida,United States

Summary Information

This paper summarizes an assessment of the impact of a value pricing program implemented on two toll bridges in Lee County, Florida. The program allows motorists to pay a 50 percent discounted bridge toll during designated hours just outside the typical AM and PM peak periods. Only those drivers participating in the electronic prepayment program were eligible for the reduced tolls, as they were collected automatically via the transponders mounted on the vehicle’s windshields.

A traveler survey of Lee County residents and collection of vehicle volume data at the toll plazas are the basis for the results presented in the study. Vehicle counts were collected for two 6-month periods, January through June 1998 and the same period in 1999. The variable pricing program began in August 1998. After normalizing the 1998 data to account for the significant increase in overall traffic volumes between 1998 and 1999, the count data allowed a comparison of vehicle volumes before and after the implementation during 1/2-hour time periods throughout the day. This analysis indicated that there was a significant shift in travelers away from the peak (full toll) periods to the non-peak (discounted toll) periods by those drivers that possessed the necessary in-vehicle transponders. Statistical analysis at a 95 percent confidence level found that nearly all 1/2-hour intervals within the peak hours exhibited statistically significant decreases in the volumes of those vehicles eligible for the pricing program, while many of the off-peak time periods exhibited significant increases in the number of eligible travelers. There were very few statistically significant changes in the volumes of travelers who did not have transponders during the time periods surveyed.

A telephone survey of randomly dialed motorists in the county took place several months after the program began operation, between November 30 and December 5, 1998. 193 of the 400 travelers surveyed responded that they had transponders in their vehicles, 38 of these travelers indicated they had made changes in their travel due to the new program. Analysis indicated that the travelers who modified their travel plans were more likely to be retired or working part time. Some drivers were unaware of the program’s existence. Those who stated, after an explanation of the program, that they were likely to change their patterns as a result of the program were more likely to be living in households as unrelated adults or single parent families. The survey results indicated that commuters were less likely to modify their schedules as a result of variable pricing, and that the program appears to have a greater impact on shopping trips.


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Using ETC to Provide Variable Tolling: Some Real-World Results

Author: Burris, Mark and Yelds, Ashley

Published By: Paper presented at the 10th Annual ITS America Meeting. Boston, Massachusetts

Source Date: 1-4 May 2000


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Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


electronic toll collection, ETC, smart tags, EZ Pass, E-Z Pass, EZPass

Benefit ID: 2000-00168