Toll roads in Texas : traffic and welfare impacts




Kalmanje, Sukumar Upadhyaya

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Facing funding shortfalls for infrastructure construction and maintenance, many urban regions in Texas are setting up Regional Mobility Authorities (RMAs) to build, manage and own new toll roads. Toll roads can have diverse impacts on a region’s traffic, land use, and economy and its citizens’ welfare. Regions have distinct network configurations, spatial and temporal variation in demand patterns, and road user characteristics which govern their response to such roads. This thesis seeks to quantify many of these impacts in Texas by consistently modeling and comparing the impacts of adding toll roads to Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and El Paso metropolitan planning areas. Initial models were calibrated for Austin region, and these were appropriately adapted to the Dallas and El Paso regions for the 1999 and 2015 modeling years. A study of network response to new toll roads was showed variations in impacts across each region with distance from the tolled roads, with closer neighborhoods gaining more in terms of congestion relief. Welfare benefits diminished with distance from toll road for Dallas and El Paso, and neighborhoods near toll road termini gained the most in Austin