Integrated Congestion Pricing Plan, Phase II Final Report

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Executive Summary
     
  1. Introduction
  2. Selection of Express Lane Projects
    2.1 Veterans Expressway/SR 589
  2.2 Turnpike/SR 821
  3. Pricing Policy for Express Lanes
  4. Conceptual Engineering
    4.1 Design Criteria and Cross Sections
    4.2 Express Lane Access and Egress
    4.3 Potential Projects Under Construction
  5. Evaluation of Alternative Transportation Modes
  6. Public Information, Outreach, and Education
    6.1 Focus Groups
  6.2 Stated-Preference Survey
    6.3 Project Brochure, Video, and Website
  7. Coordination Efforts with Stakeholders
  8. Traffic and Revenue Study
  8.1 Methodology
    8.2 Toll Plan and Access Points
    8.3 Traffic and Revenue Forecasts
  9. Summary and Phase III Preview

 

 

Executive Summary

Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE), of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), initiated the Integrated Congestion Pricing Plan (ICPP) Study in February 2011. The ICPP is a three-phase, comprehensive study to evaluate the potential for implementing congestion pricing strategies on the Turnpike System with an emphasis on the large, urban areas of the state.

 

Phase I of the ICPP was completed in December 2011. Activities in Phase I included the development of the study goal and objectives, identification of various policy questions, evaluation of future roadway widening needs, and assessment of tolling plans for potential projects. In addition, some preliminary engineering evaluation was completed to help make recommendations regarding preferred design criteria. Several operational issues were
also evaluated including tolling considerations and traffic management needs.


In September 2011, FTE/FDOT received a Value Pricing Pilot Program (VPPP) grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to help fund Phase II of this Study. Phase II is the Evaluation and Coordination portion of the overall study whereby customer input regarding pricing options was solicited through market research and focus groups. Also in this Phase, FTE/FDOT began a public outreach and education program to obtain feedback from stakeholders on the study. In addition, a traffic and revenue study was completed. This report summarizes the major activities completed in Phase II of the ICPP.


During the development of the ICPP Study Phase II, the Project Team had the opportunity to evaluate two major widening projects on Turnpike facilities for express lanes. The two projects are located on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 in Hillsborough County and on the Turnpike/SR 821 in Miami-Dade County. These facilities serve two of the major urban areas in the state (Tampa and Miami), and the results of the study evaluation identified them as strong candidate projects for the implementation of express lanes. Due to funding availability, these projects were selected for implementation and are moving forward. Construction is underway for both projects.

 

The toll pricing policy to be implemented on Turnpike express lanes projects was developed in coordination with FDOT’s Central Office, and addresses a variety of tolling parameters including toll collection, toll rate setting, truck traffic, and TOLL-BY-PLATE (TBP).


Tolls in the express lanes will be collected electronically, and are set to initially be $0.25 higher than the general toll lanes during the off-peak hours. During the peak hours, tolls are dynamically adjusted to reflect actual traffic conditions in the express lanes.


In general, truck traffic will not be permitted to use express lanes. There is one temporary exception to this policy on the I-595 Express Lanes in Broward County where trucks will be permitted to use the express lanes as part of a pilot project to evaluate truck usage in the lanes.


TOLL-BY-PLATE is a toll collection option that uses advanced cameras to capture license plate images of vehicles without transponders, and sends the vehicle owners an invoice for the tolls incurred. FDOT policy does not allow TBP customers to use the express lanes.


There are other toll pricing policies regarding vehicle eligibility on the Turnpike express lanes that are still being evaluated. These include transit buses, hybrid vehicles, and motorcycles. However, for traffic and revenue estimation purposes, it is assumed these types of vehicles will be allowed in the express lanes but have to pay a toll.


For the most part, the design criteria provided by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Plans Preparation Manual (PPM) and the Turnpike Plans Preparation and Practices Handbook (TPPPH) are the preferred criteria for all Turnpike express lanes projects.


For the ICPP Phase II Study, specific conceptual engineering recommendations were made for the following facilities: the Veterans Expressway/SR 589, the Turnpike in Miami-Dade County/SR 821, the Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869, and the Beachline West Expressway/SR 528.

 

One of the primary purposes of evaluating congestion management strategies on the Turnpike System is to identify options that will help preserve and prolong the ability of the system to serve growing travel demand even after the facilities become built out and can no longer be widened.


The results of a separate, system-wide park and ride lot analysis conducted by the Turnpike was included in the ICPP Study Phase II in order to document another transportation demand management option available to the Turnpike.


This analysis focused on the appropriateness and fit of select toll plaza locations being demolished to accommodate all-electronic tolling (AET) as future park and ride lots. The evaluation ultimately led to the identification of five sites recommended for consideration for implementation.


A key component of the ICPP Study Phase II was public outreach and education. The major activities within this effort consisted of focus group meetings, a stated-preference survey, and project reference materials consisting of an informational brochure, a video, and a project website. The project website can be accessed by visiting www.floridasturnpike.com.

 

A total of ten focus group sessions were conducted in Orlando, Tampa, and South Florida in order to obtain feedback from the public regarding the addition of express lanes to Turnpike facilities and general opinions about the Turnpike facilities.


Overall, the feedback received regarding the addition of express lanes on Turnpike facilities was very positive as participants liked the idea of having a choice to pay a higher toll in the express lanes for a more predictable travel time. In addition, Turnpike roadways were perceived by most of the participants to be safer and better maintained than other roadways they use.


A stated-preference survey of Turnpike automobile users was also conducted in Tampa, Orlando, and South Florida. The primary purpose of the survey was to gather details about travel characteristics on Florida’s Turnpike facilities, and measure the respondents’ valuation of express lanes along certain Turnpike facilities as an option for improving travel speeds, travel time reliability, and reducing traffic congestion. Estimates of Turnpike travelers’ time and cost sensitivities were also evaluated in order to gauge interest in express lanes, as well as traveler acceptance of various toll rate levels associated with this premium transportation option.


The effort to coordinate with project stakeholders focused on the Tampa and Miami-Dade areas where express lanes projects are moving forward. In these
areas, presentations were made to the MPOs and their committees regarding the express lanes projects planned for their areas. Feedback from both MPOs
was positive, with Miami-Dade MPO passing Resolution #38-12 supporting the express lanes on the Turnpike/SR 821 (also known as the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike – HEFT). In addition, meetings with the local legislative delegations were held.


As part of the ICPP Phase II Project, a traffic and revenue study was conducted to evaluate the potential revenue that could be earned from the express lanes on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821 in Miami-Dade County. The traffic and revenue estimates for this evaluation were
accomplished through a multi-step process established to provide forecasts by hour utilizing three modeling tools: a travel demand model, a time of day (TOD) model, and a revenue model.

 

The incremental increase in annual gross toll revenues and transactions by facility resulting from the new express lanes and new general toll lanes are
shown in Tables 1.1 and 1.2. This increase is attributed to existing traffic shifting over from the general toll lanes to the express lanes paying the premium toll as well as new traffic moving from the adjacent roadways to the new general toll lanes paying the base toll.

 

Table 1.1
Veterans Expressway/SR 589
Incremental Increase in Annual Gross Toll Revenue and Transactions
(x1000)

Summarizes the incremental increase in annual gross toll revenue generated in the express and general toll lanes and the related total transactions for every fifth year of the forecast period from the opening year to year thirty.

Table 1.2
Turnpike/SR 821
Incremental Increase in Annual Gross Toll Revenue and Transactions
(x1000)

Summarizes the incremental increase in annual gross toll revenue generated in the express and general toll lanes and the related total transactions for every fifth year of the forecast period from the opening year to year thirty.

 

In September 2012, FTE/FDOT received a VPPP grant to help fund Phase III of the overall study. During Phase III, FTE/FDOT will prepare a Master Plan to guide future project implementation efforts. Phase III is scheduled to begin in early 2014.

 

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1. Introduction

Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise initiated the Integrated Congestion Pricing Plan (ICPP) study in early 2011. The ICPP is a three-phase comprehensive study to evaluate the potential for implementing congestion pricing on the Turnpike system with an emphasis on the large, urban areas of the state. Figure 1.1 shows a map of the study area.


Phase I of the ICPP was completed in December 2011. Activities in Phase I included the development of the study goal and objectives, identification of
various policy questions, evaluation of future roadway widening needs, and assessment of tolling plans for potential projects. In addition, some preliminary engineering evaluation was completed to help make recommendations regarding preferred design criteria. Several operational issues were also evaluated including tolling considerations and traffic management needs.


Phase II of the ICPP started on February 1, 2012. This phase of the study was developed in coordination with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) who provided half of the funding through the Value Pricing Pilot Program (VPPP).


The primary focus of Phase II was evaluation of the concepts developed in Phase I, and coordination with the public and elected officials regarding
potential projects. Specific Phase II study activities included selection of two express lanes projects for implementation, development of a pricing policy for express lanes, and completion of conceptual engineering activities. Further tasks included evaluation of alternative modes of transportation, implementation of public information, outreach, and education activities, coordination with project stakeholders, and completion of a traffic and revenue study.


Each of these activities is discussed in the next few sections of the report. Section 2 describes the projects chosen by Turnpike Management for implementation of express lanes. Section 3 explains the statewide pricing policies established by FDOT. The conceptual engineering analysis including design criteria and cross sections are discussed in Section 4, while Section 5 provides an evaluation of alternative transportation modes. In Sections 6 and 7, the public outreach and coordination efforts are discussed in detail. The traffic and revenue study is presented in Section 8. Section 9 provides a summary of this report and a preview of Phase III.

 

Figure 1.1
Study Area Map

Shows the limits of the three study areas for these express lanes projects.

 

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2. Selection of Express Lane Projects

During the development of the ICPP Study Phase II, the Project Team had the opportunity to evaluate two major widening projects for express lanes as they were being added to the Turnpike’s Work Program for funding and implementation.  This was not part of the original project scope, but was added to the Turnpike-funded portion of this study due to the timing of new project funding available to move these major projects back into the Work Program, and the opportunity to include express lanes as part of these projects.


The two express lane projects selected for implementation are located on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 in Hillsborough County and on the Turnpike/SR 821 in Miami-Dade County.  These are two heavily-traveled facilities in their respective parts of the state, especially during peak hours.  Both facilities had major widening projects that were previously funded in the Turnpike’s Work Program, but had to be deferred due to the economic downturn in 2008.


With the implementation of toll rate indexing in June 2012, the funding needed to bring these two important widening projects back into the Work Program was made available.  Because these two facilities serve the major urban areas of the state that experience periods of prolonged congestion during the peak hours, it was appropriate to evaluate express lanes for them as part of the widening projects.  Below is a detailed description of the two projects.

 

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2.1 Veterans Expressway/SR 589

The Veterans Expressway/SR 589 is a four-lane, limited-access toll facility that extends 15 miles from near Courtney Campbell Causeway west of the Tampa International Airport to Dale Mabry Highway/SR 597 in northern Hillsborough County.  It is a major facility for serving commuter travel in the Tampa Bay Area.  According to INRIX, a traffic research group, the Tampa Bay Area had the largest increase in the nation in commuter hours spent in traffic in 2012. 


The Turnpike has been monitoring this facility’s traffic growth, and planning and designing a major improvement that would address its capacity needs.  The project widens the facility from four to eight lanes, which includes adding express lanes between Memorial Highway and Hutchison Road for a length of approximately 9 miles. The widening extends approximately two miles further to Van Dyke Road.  Figure 2.1 shows a map of this project.

 

Figure 2.1
Veterans Expressway/SR 589

Shows the limits of the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 express lanes project.

 

The project includes milling and resurfacing, the realignment of the Anderson Road ramps to alleviate congestion, and the construction of noise walls in identified, affected locations.  This project also includes the implementation of All-Electronic Tolling (AET) on the entire length of the Veterans Expressway/SR 589.

 

The eight laning of the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 through its tight urban area location expands this facility to a full build-out condition with no future capabilities to widen it further.  For this reason, it was essential to evaluate the inclusion of a congestion management strategy, in this case express lanes, as part of implementing the final widening of this road.

 

There will be one express lane in each direction of the Veterans Expressway/SR 589.  Traveling northbound, the entrance to the express lane is located just north of Hillsborough Avenue.  The northbound express lane terminates at Hutchison Road.  Traveling southbound, the entrance to the express lane is located at Hutchison Road.  The southbound express lane terminates at Memorial Highway.  Flexible delineators will be used to separate the express lane from the general toll lanes.  Table 2.1 summarizes the express lanes project limits for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589.

 

Table 2.1
Veterans Expressway/SR 589 Widening and Express Lane Project by Segment and by Direction

Summarizes the express lanes project limits for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589.

 

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2.2 Turnpike/SR 821

As shown in figure 2-2 the Turnpike/SR 821 in Miami-Dade County, is a 47-mile section of the Turnpike Mainline that begins at US 1 in Florida City and extends north to Broward County, and then to a junction with the Turnpike Mainline/SR 91.

 

Figure 2.2
Turnpike/SR 821

Shows the limits of the Turnpike/SR 821 (HEFT) express lanes project.

 

Since this facility spans the largest and the most heavily populated urban area in the State, it is subject to prolonged periods of severe traffic congestion particularly during the peak hours of travel.  According to the Texas Transportation Institute, in 2012, drivers in Miami-Dade County spent an average of 47 hours in traffic annually.

 

The Turnpike has been closely monitoring the performance of this facility and has several widening projects in various stages of implementation.  As with the Veterans Expressway/SR 589, major improvements to this facility were deferred during the economic downturn in 2008, and then funded in the Turnpike’s Work Program with new revenues generated by the toll rate index implemented in June 2012.


The Turnpike/SR 821 projects funded in the Work Program will also, in most cases, be widening the facility to a build-out condition with limited or no opportunities for future widening.  Therefore, express lanes are included with these projects for current and future congestion management.  The overall widening of the Turnpike/SR 821 can be divided into the southern and central sections for descriptive purposes.


The southern section adds one express lane in each direction from SW 288th Street to the Don Shula Expressway/SR 874.  In addition, the roadway section between US 1 and SR 874 will be widened by adding one to two general toll lanes per direction depending on the location.  The central section adds two general toll lanes in each direction from north of Killian Parkway to the Dolphin Expressway/SR 836.  Flexible delineators will be used to separate the express lane(s) from the general toll lanes.  Table 2.2 summarizes the express lanes project limits for the Turnpike/SR 821 in Miami-Dade County.

 

Table 2.2
Turnpike/SR 821 Widening and Express Lane Project by Segment and by Direction

Summarizes the express lanes project limits for the Turnpike/SR 821 in Miami-Dade County.

 

The selection of express lanes as the appropriate congestion management strategy for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821 in Miami-Dade County was straightforward, and based upon the timing of implementing the facilities’ ultimate improvements in consideration of current and future demand for these facilities.  Congestion management as a component of these projects provides a long term, sustainable solution to help ensure that they continue to serve growing travel demand well into the future.  The use of express lanes is a very viable congestion management strategy for these facilities particularly for addressing current congested conditions. Express Lanes provide travelers with a choice to pay a higher toll to bypass congestion instead of raising tolls in all lanes during peak periods of congestion.

 

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3. Pricing Policy for Express Lanes

The pricing policy for express lanes on the Turnpike was developed in coordination with the FDOT Central Office.  Any future updates or additions to this policy will continue to be coordinated in this manner.  The current policy on 95 Express in South Florida works well for an interstate system in which underutilized High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes are converted to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.  The policy needs to be examined for application on newly added interstate lanes, and on the Turnpike where drivers already pay a toll.  For the purpose of this report, the list of pricing policy decisions for both Turnpike projects is separated into the following two groups: established policies and outstanding policy issues.

 

a. Established Policies

These are pricing policies already established by FDOT and apply to express lanes on the Turnpike System.  These policies have been chosen after examining a broad range of parameters including safety, signage, traffic operations, back office requirements, revenues, and capital cost.


Toll Rates and Frequency of Updates:

Tolls in the express lanes will be collected electronically using mainline toll gantries.  These gantries will be strategically located to eliminate free travel in the express lanes.  In situations where toll gantries are already in place in the general toll lanes, extending these gantries into the express lanes should be considered first before an alternate toll collection location in the express lanes is evaluated.  This includes tolling locations on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 at Anderson and Sugarwood toll plazas, as well as the toll gantries at Homestead and Bird Road on the Turnpike/SR 821.  Toll rates in the express lanes are initially set at $0.25 more than the general toll lanes at each toll gantry.


In general, toll rates can either be updated dynamically or according to a fixed schedule.  Under dynamic pricing, toll rates are continuously adjusted throughout the day (e.g., every 15 minutes) to reflect actual traffic conditions and to maintain a targeted level of service (LOS).  Examples of dynamically priced express lanes include 95 Express in South Florida, I-394 in Minnesota, I-15 in San Diego, and I-85 in Atlanta.  In these cases, toll rates are updated and posted in real time on dynamic message signs conveniently located upstream of the entry ramps to the express lanes.  Benefits to the driver include a more reliable trip time based on up-to-date traffic information.  Dynamic toll rates on 95 Express are set to achieve LOS D or better in the express lanes during peak hours (i.e., vehicle speeds of 45 mph or greater for 95% of the time).


Dynamic pricing is more complex, but achievable, in projects that provide frequent access ramps to and from the express lanes, generating multiple trip variations.  In this case, various tolling equipment, back office processes, and dynamic message signs all have to be synchronized to properly convey the correct toll to customers without error.  It should be noted that future technology upgrades are expected to facilitate this process.  In addition, dynamic pricing adheres to the federal requirement under the Urban Partnership Agreement to use variable pricing on express lanes.  Results from 95 Express show that drivers consider the express lanes to be highly reliable, especially during peak periods.

 

Alternatively, fixed or predetermined pricing allows toll rates to change by time of day and location according to a fixed schedule, updated monthly, quarterly, or annually.  This schedule can be published online or using static roadway signs, thereby reducing equipment and infrastructure costs, as well as back office processing.  In this case, however, toll rates do not reflect the exact traffic conditions in real time.  This strategy offers drivers a predictable price point in advance of their trip, but fails to provide reliable travel times.  This reliability factor is important to many drivers especially during trips where these drivers need to arrive at their destinations on time.


Based on the above discussion, FDOT established a policy to implement dynamic pricing in express lanes on the Turnpike with targeted level of service to maintain free flow traffic conditions.


Trucks:
Typically, trucks compete with cars and other vehicles for space on the road.  Unlike most commuters, drivers of large trucks have the flexibility to travel during off peak hours to avoid periods of heavy congestion.  This includes driving during the evening and overnight hours, and on weekends.  Since the primary purpose of the express lanes is to improve mobility on the Turnpike system during peak hours, the demand for such lanes by heavy trucks is expected to be very small during these hours (approximately 2%).


Trucks on most urban interstates in Florida represent less than 5% of traffic on a daily basis.  On I-595, trucks represent 4% of total daily traffic west of I-95, and 10% east of I-95 due to the proximity of Port Everglades.  This daily percent on I-595 is much lower during peak hours.  Other roadways show similar results.  For example, trucks account for only 1.8% of peak hour traffic in the urban sections of I-4.


Using the rate established in the 2000 Highway Capacity Manual to determine the number of cars equivalent to one truck, and given the proportionately higher tolls paid by trucks, it is estimated that the additional revenue generated by allowing trucks to use the express lanes is approximately 2%.

 

Nationally, the I-10 express lanes in Houston, Texas allow heavy trucks (mandated by state policy). From an operational standpoint, allowing trucks in the express lanes can pose a safety problem for car drivers that place a higher value on these lanes when trucks are not present. Trucks using the express lanes (typically located on the left side of the road) have to cross over several lanes to reach the ramp exit located on the right side of the road, thereby creating a safety concern.

 

Furthermore, the useful life of asphalt pavement in the express lanes can be substantially extended when wear and tear damage caused by trucks is eliminated.


Early research indicates cars are using the express lanes not only because of value of time, but because of reliability and safety factors.  In fact, a recent survey on 95 Express suggests about 30% of drivers choose the express lanes because trucks are not allowed.  This is clearly revealed as car drivers are choosing the express lanes during off peak periods even though the general use lanes offer a similar level of service at no cost.  In addition, virtually every driver who participated in the focus groups held in February 2013 as part of this project wanted to keep trucks out of the express lanes.  Based on the above facts, FDOT will not permit trucks (3 or more axles) in the express lanes on the Turnpike System.


The only temporary exception to this policy will be on I-595 in South Florida.  Since this project has already been fully designed to allow trucks in the express lanes and is currently under construction, FDOT is planning to implement a pilot project in which trucks are allowed to use the newly constructed express lanes.  This allows FDOT to obtain feedback from the trucking companies regarding their preference for choosing the express lanes.  The pilot project begins when the express lanes open to traffic and continues for one year.  During the one-year period, traffic and revenue data will be accumulated and analyzed to enable FDOT to make a final decision on whether to allow trucks into the I-595 express lanes on a permanent basis.


TOLL-BY-PLATE:
There are several payment options currently available for customers to pay tolls around the state.  By far, the most popular method is through SunPass, the state’s pre-paid electronic toll collection method.  In fact, FDOT has already sold over eight million transponders and mini tags since the SunPass program started in 1999.  SunPass provides a low cost and highly efficient method for paying tolls that appeals to most drivers.  The SunPass technology has been tested repeatedly and proved to be low risk in terms of revenue collection.

 

TBP is another option that uses advanced cameras to capture license plate images of vehicles without transponders, and sends the owners an invoice for the tolls incurred.  This technology is currently used in Miami-Dade County on the Turnpike/SR 821, where cash is not accepted.  The risks associated with TBP, include failure to capture the license plate image, failure to retrieve the correct address information, and the failure of customers to pay their invoices resulting in revenue losses.

 

TBP is typically used by semi-frequent drivers who make a few toll road trips each month, or by out-of-state drivers who are making only a few toll road trips each year. In either case, these customers do not use the facilities enough to justify purchasing and replenishing a transponder, and often drive outside the peak hours when most general toll lanes on the Turnpike are operating with acceptable level of service and express lane demand is minimal.


Express lanes are usually built to provide a traffic solution to congestion during peak hours.  It is anticipated that commuters who already own a transponder will be most likely to use the express lanes during these hours.


Prices in the express lanes typically rise in response to the increase in traffic volume in these lanes.  If allowed to use the express lanes, TBP customers will prompt an overall increase in tolls thereby directly affecting the tolls of regular SunPass commuters.  It is important to note that express lanes provide an improvement to traffic conditions in the general travel lanes, as observed on 95 Express.  As such, the infrequent traveler will still benefit when using the general travel lanes.


Based on the above discussion and in order to minimize the revenue risk associated with TBP, FDOT will prohibit the use of TBP in express lanes on the Turnpike System.  Consequently, only vehicles with a valid transponder will be authorized to use these lanes.

 

High Occupancy Vehicles (HOVs)
High occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on the interstates are designed to increase freeway efficiency by moving more people in fewer vehicles than the adjacent lanes.  However, enforcement of these lanes is labor intensive and costly since there is not yet a reliable technology for counting passengers in moving vehicles.

 

While it is perceived as good customer service to allow drivers who are accustomed to using the HOV lanes for free to continue doing so on the converted HOT lanes along I-95, this privilege is not relevant to the Turnpike facilities since there are no HOV lanes.  By paying a toll on the Turnpike, high occupancy vehicles, carpools, and vanpools will share in the costs needed to build, operate, and maintain the express lanes.

 

b. Outstanding Pricing Policy Issues

The following pricing issues have been identified, but no policy has been established yet for any of them regarding express lanes on the Turnpike System.  Additional discussions are still needed along with data analysis to clearly identify the advantages and disadvantages of each issue before a final decision is reached.  It is anticipated that policies will eventually be established to address these issues before the express lane projects on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and Turnpike/SR 821 are implemented.

 

Hybrid Vehicles:

Hybrid vehicles, defined under Section 23 US Code Chapter 166 are characterized as Inherently Low Emission Vehicles (ILEV) and Hybrid-energy-efficient vehicles.  These vehicles have to meet strict criteria to qualify as ILEV under federal standards.  The Clean Air Act Amendments created the ILEV program and TEA-21 allowed states to authorize ILEVs to use HOV lanes without meeting the occupancy requirements.  The federal law allows state agencies to charge ILEVs a lower toll or even no toll on HOT facilities.

 

Under state law, ILEVs and hybrid vehicles that register will be provided a decal for exemption from payment of tolls for use on any converted HOT lanes.  Obviously, because of current Bond covenants requiring everyone to pay a toll on the Turnpike, this issue has to be carefully examined.

 

Today, more than 40% of all vehicles on 95 Express that register with South Florida Commuter Services are hybrids, but they only represent less than one percent of total traffic using the lanes.  According to J.D. Power and Associates, hybrid vehicles in 2016 will approach 10% of the vehicle market share, up from 3% in 2009 (Green Car Reports, April 2011).

 

At this rate, hybrid vehicles are expected to dominate the market over the next few decades as clean-air technology continues to sweep the automotive industry.  This expectation needs to be considered as the policy decision regarding hybrid vehicles on the Turnpike is being evaluated.

 

Transit Buses:
Transit plays a crucial role in supporting more sustainable transportation choices by offering the bus as an alternative to individual automobile travel.  The ability to provide transit routes with improved speeds and reliability increases the attractiveness of these routes to potential transit riders.  The result is a regional transportation system focused on premium service and increased mobility.

 

Transit buses are exempt from paying tolls on 95 Express, but are required to pre-register with the South Florida Commuter Services.  While this policy is acceptable on the interstate system, allowing buses to travel toll-free on the Turnpike System is a violation of bond covenants which require all facility users to pay a toll.

 

Therefore, fee structure options are currently being examined for buses, including one that allows registered transit buses unlimited use of the express lanes on the Turnpike for an annual fee.  This fee ensures that buses share in the costs required to operate and maintain the express lanes.  Pre-registration of buses would be necessary to streamline the process and minimize violations.

 

Motorcycles:

Concerning the payment of tolls by motorcycles on the Turnpike’s express lanes, it is important when making a policy decision to consider the language outlined in the bond covenants requiring every user of the roadway to pay a toll.

 

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4. Conceptual Engineering

4.1 Design Criteria and Cross Sections

In general, the design criteria provided in the Florida Department of Transportation Plans Preparation Manual (PPM) and the Turnpike Plans Preparation and Practices Handbook (TPPPH) are the preferred criteria for all express lane System projects being considered on the Turnpike.  However, due to the aggressive project schedules, committed project funding and advanced stages of the final design plans for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the southern Turnpike/SR 821 – Biscayne Drive to SR 874, variations to the preferred criteria were accepted.


The plans for these projects were modified to incorporate the express lanes in a manner that would not expand the overall footprint or cross section.  Maintaining the approved footprint (i.e., the total cross section width) was necessary to control project costs and prevent potential additional permitting requirements.  These modifications resulted in some roadway elements and lane widths being generally less than the preferred width.


Veterans Expressway/SR 589
The Veterans Expressway/SR 589 express lane system will consist of three general toll and one express lane in each direction, as reflected on the typical section shown in Figure 4.1.  All travel lanes will be 11.5 feet wide and a two-foot wide buffer with delineators will serve as the divider between the express lane and the general toll lanes.  Standard shoulder widths are maintained.  The overall criteria for the corridor coincide with a design speed of 60 miles per hour (mph).

 

Figure 4.1
Veterans Expressway/SR 589 – Typical Section

Shows the typical design section (Roadway and Bridge) for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 express lanes project.

 

Turnpike/SR 821
Multiple criteria and express lane arrangements will be applied to the various Turnpike/SR 821 segments, as described below.

  • Southern Turnpike/SR 821: Biscayne Drive to SR 874

One express lane and three to four general toll lanes will be provided for each direction of travel on this segment of the Turnpike/SR 821.  Additional auxiliary lanes may be provided along some segments within this 12 mile long express lane corridor.  Similar to the Veterans Expressway/SR 589, most travel lanes will be 11.5 feet wide; however, on sections that have more than four total lanes, the outer most lane will be 12 feet wide.  A two-foot wide buffer with delineators will serve as the divider between the express lane and the general toll lanes.  The overall criteria for the corridor coincide with a design speed of 65 mph.  A typical section that represents this corridor is provided in Figure 4.2.

 

Figure 4.2
Southern Turnpike/SR 821 – Biscayne Drive to SR 874

Shows the typical design section (Roadway and Bridge) for this segment of this express lanes project.

 

  • Central Turnpike/SR 821: Killian Parkway to SR 836

This 6-mile long corridor will have two express lanes and three to four general toll lanes in each direction.  Additional auxiliary lanes will be provided as needed on some segments.  All lanes will be 12 feet wide and a four-foot wide buffer with delineators will be provided to separate the express lanes from the general toll lanes.  A representative cross section is provided in Figure 4.3.  The posted speed for this Turnpike/SR 821 segment will coincide with the 70 mph criteria.


Figure 4.3
Central Turnpike/SR 821 – Killian Parkway to SR 836

Shows the typical design section (Roadway and Bridge) for this segment of this express lanes project.

 

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4.2 Express Lane Access and Egress

In addition to the beginning and ending points of the express lane segments there will be intermediate access to, and egress from the express lanes.  A number of acceptable means for accommodating these intermediate transition points within buffer separated express lane segments were considered for the various projects.  The three options considered are graphically reflected in Figure 4.4.

 

Figure 4.4
Express Lane Intermediate Access Options

Shows the three acceptable placements of intermediate access to and egress from express lanes on a Turnpike facility being considered in this study.

 

Option 1: Combined Ingress-Egress Weave Zone is the most economical and least invasive option of the three options.  It allows unrestricted movement between the lanes by simply eliminating or discontinuing the delineators from a section of the expressway (a minimum of 2,000 feet).  Vehicles are free to move between the lane types within the weave zone.  The disadvantage of this option is that weaving between the lane types will take place at highway speeds within the through travel lanes.


Option 2: Combined Ingress-Egress Weave Lane consists of the creation of a weave lane between the express and general toll lanes.  This weave lane provides a dedicated lane to accommodate unrestricted movement between the lane types.  Creation of the weave lane requires additional infrastructure (minimum of 4,000 feet) which in turn increases the project costs.  A variation of this option, which has recently been introduced, accommodates the creation of the weave lane by allowing encroachment of the express lane into the shoulder, thereby eliminating a usable shoulder within the limits of the weave lane.  While this option helps control the project costs by eliminating the need for additional infrastructure, the trade-off of losing a usable shoulder for an extended distance must be considered.


Option 3: Separated Ingress-Egress Merge Lane is considered the preferred operational application for accommodating movement between the lane types.  It provides directional slip ramps that allow only a single movement, access to or egress from the express lane, at each location.  It eliminates all potential weaving conflicts, only requiring merging maneuvers.  The main disadvantage of this option is that it requires a substantial amount of additional infrastructure (approximately 7,000 linear feet), which in turn expands the roadway’s cross section adding costs and possibly additional right of way.


In general, variations of Option 1 are planned to be utilized on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and Turnpike/SR 821 projects, as well as most of the other Turnpike express lane systems in the current work program.  Controlling project costs and maintaining the current delivery schedules for these projects were the primary reasons for using this intermediate access application on these systems.  While Option 1 will also be used within the other Turnpike express lane systems, Option 3 is also being considered at locations on the Turnpike/SR 821 project.

 

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4.3 Potential Projects Under Consideration

In addition to the express lanes projects on Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and Turnpike/SR 821, there are two other potential projects that were initially examined in this phase of ICPP. These projects include the Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869 and the Beachline West Expressway/SR 528. Both projects will be evaluated in more detail in Phase III of ICPP.

 

Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869:
The Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869 is currently six lanes, three general toll lanes in each direction. When the Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869 is expanded to eight lanes, the two new lanes will be express lanes, one in each direction.  All lanes will be 12 feet wide and a four-foot wide buffer with delineators will be provided to separate the express lane from the general toll lanes.  The proposed typical section for the Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869 is provided in Figure 4.5.  The Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869 will be designed to meet the criteria associated with a 70 mph design speed.


Beachline West Expressway/SR 528:
The Beachline West Expressway/SR 528, between Interstate 4 and Florida’s Turnpike is currently four lanes, two in each direction.  When the facility is expanded to six lanes, the two new lanes will be express lanes, one in each direction.  All lanes will be 12 feet wide and a four-foot wide buffer with delineators will be used to separate the express lanes from the general toll lanes.  The proposed typical section for the Beachline West Expressway/SR 528 is provided in Figure 4.6.  The Beachline West Expressway/SR 528 widening plans will be developed using criteria for a 60 mph expressway facility.

 

Figure 4.5

Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869 - Typical Section

Shows the typical design section (Roadway and Bridge) for the Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869 express lanes project.

 

Figure 4.6

Beachline West Expressway/SR 528 - Typical Section

Shows the typical design section (Roadway and Bridge) for the Beachline West Expressway/SR 528 express lanes project.

 

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5. Evaluation of Alternative Transportation Modes

One of the primary purposes of evaluating congestion management strategies on the Turnpike System is to identify options that will help preserve and prolong the ability of the system to serve growing travel demand even after the facilities become built out and can no longer be widened.  Sustainability of the system can be achieved with the use of pricing strategies on the facilities.  These strategies can then be further supported by incorporating additional transportation demand management options.


As part of Phase I of the ICPP, a preliminary evaluation of transit service in the major urban areas was conducted.  This included compiling current and planned transit service and other relevant data, and reviewing this information for opportunities to potentially develop express bus service that could utilize congestion-priced lanes on Turnpike facilities at some point in the future.  As part of this conceptual evaluation, existing park and ride lots were identified and evaluated with the transit data.


For Phase II of the ICPP, a separate park and ride lot analysis was completed to document another potential future transportation demand management option available to the Turnpike.


With the system-wide conversion to All-Electronic Tolling (AET), certain locations along the Turnpike System present unique opportunities for further study and evaluation of alternative transportation solutions for the local area.  Specifically, toll plaza locations that will no longer be needed for their original purpose due to the implementation of AET were studied to determine their appropriateness and fit as future park-and-ride lot locations.


The analysis focused on AET project locations currently under development on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589, the Suncoast Parkway/SR 589, the Southern Coin System/SR 91, the Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869, and the Mainline Ticket System/SR 91.


In addition, at the start of the evaluation, all existing park and ride lot locations that serve the Turnpike were compiled and documented.  Table 5.1 summarizes the existing park and ride lots on the Turnpike.

 

Table 5.1
Summary of Existing Park and Ride Lots

Summarizes the number of parking spaces in existing park and ride lots on the Turnpike by county.

 

A tiered evaluation process was developed and utilized to select the best locations for further analysis among the toll plaza sites to be demolished or abandoned as part of AET.  Each “tier” involved examining sites for attributes required for successful park and ride lot implementation.  The following summarizes each tier of analysis:

  • Tier 1 was the initial identification of potential sites based on projected available land as the result of the AET conversion.  This review resulted in the identification of 64 potential sites for further study.
  • Tier 2 involved additional examination of each of the 64 sites with regard to suitable lot size, location and ease of access (to and from the site).  This review reduced the 64 sites to 13 sites for further study.
  • Tier 3 analyzed the 13 sites according to six measures:  population density of the surrounding area; site proximity to residential areas; proximity to major arterials; surrounding land uses; safety; and traffic operations.  This review reduced the 13 sites to eight sites for further study.
  • Tier 4 evaluated the eight sites by coordinating with traffic operations, engineering, design, and concepts staff to review projected parking demand, cost of needed upgrades, and the potential for integrating implementation with an existing AET project implementation.  These reviews ultimately lead to the identification of five sites recommended for consideration for implementation.

Table 5.2 identifies and summarizes the final five locations recommended for consideration for future development as a park and ride lot facility from Tier 4.

 

Table 5.2
Summary of Tier 4 Potential Park and Ride Lot Facilities

Summarizes the five future park and ride lot facilities from Tier 4 on the Turnpike.

 

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6. Public Information, Outreach, and Education

Dynamically-priced express lanes are in use today along I-95 in Miami between the SR 112 Interchange and the Golden Glades Interchange. The analysis of the planned express lanes presented here are similar to those currently in use on I-95. This analysis builds upon the collection of observed data from I-95.


A key component of Phase II of the ICPP project was public outreach and education.  The major activities within this effort consisted of conducting ten focus groups and, completing a stated-preference survey. Project reference materials consisting of an informational brochure, a video, and a website were prepared as part of this educational outreach process. The three regional study areas are depicted in Figure 6.1.  Results from this effort are summarized and discussed in this section.


Figure 6.1
Study Area Map

Shows the limits of the public outreach areas for these express lanes projects.

 

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6.1 Focus Groups

In early February 2013, over the course of one week, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE)/URS and Resource Systems Group, Inc. (RSG) arranged a series of ten focus groups to obtain qualitative feedback regarding the potential addition of express lanes to Turnpike facilities in South Florida, Tampa, and Orlando.  Each focus group session consisted of approximately ten participants.  They included SunPass, TOLL-BY-PLATE, and cash customers who were recruited from each of the three regions.  For a complete review of the focus group sessions conducted for this study, please see Appendix A.  Below is a summary of important issues discussed during the meetings:


Express Lanes Comments
Almost all of the focus group participants were very receptive to the idea of express lanes.  Few participants expressed opposition to the new lanes. The vast majority of the participants favor having a choice between using the express lanes or staying in the general toll lanes, over having the tolls increase in all the lanes during peak hours.  Most participants stated they would use the express lanes when in a hurry.  The majority of the focus group participants expressed a desire to have two express lanes in each direction rather than one. Drivers feared potentially being stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle while traveling on a facility with a single express lane.  Participants like the concept of free flow travel, but were skeptical that it could be achieved regularly with only one express lane in each direction. There was also an overwhelming support for prohibiting trucks from using the express lanes.  Several participants suggested using separate truck-only lanes.


Participants generally felt that information about the express lanes should be provided well in advance of the entry point giving drivers ample time to consider their travel options and make decisions based on that information.  The majority of participants want several ingress/egress points along the express lane corridor. Some participants who used 95 Express in the past were unaware they had no option to exit these lanes at interim locations.  As such, focus group participants wanted roadway signs well in advance of getting into the lanes showing where they can exit. This lack of information about exits was a concern. Others who used 95 Express found the lanes highly beneficial for their travel.

 

Overall, participants prefer to show toll amounts for express lanes and general toll lanes on the roadway signs ahead of the ramp entrance.  However, some favor showing the incremental toll in effect on the express lanes at the time.  Many felt posting tolls online would be less beneficial, cause distraction, and would be unsafe especially when retrieving information from a smart phone while driving.  It was also stated that posting travel time information on the sign would also be useful.

 

Some participants questioned the use of delineators for lane separation, concerned that drivers may run through the delineators creating potential safety hazards.  Other participants who prefer concrete barriers acknowledge they may cause some drivers to feel claustrophobic, suggesting the use of shorter delineators, especially when using a single express lane.

 

Most of the focus group participants do not use transit and do not see the value of allowing buses to use the express lanes (the median household income for all participants fell in the $50,000 to $74,999 range).


General Observations
Turnpike roadways were perceived by most of the participants to be safer and better maintained than other roads they use.  In addition, almost all the participants provided very positive comments about the Road Rangers Program.  However, most participants did not know which agencies or authorities operate the toll roads in their area.  In fact, about half of the participants did not realize they pay lower tolls when using SunPass rather than cash.  Also, about half of the focus group participants did not know how much they pay in tolls. Some participants expressed interest in the capability to use SunPass outside Florida in the future.


Participants had mixed feelings about TOLL-BY-PLATE.  Most cash customers stated they will purchase a SunPass after All-Electronic Tolling (AET) is implemented in their area.  Some also expressed concerns over the potential elimination of toll collector jobs after AET implementation.


Region-Specific Remarks

a. Tampa:

A few participants indicated experience with the reversible lanes on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and suggested the use of reversible express lanes on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589.  Most believe tolls on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 are lower than on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, but believe tolls are too high at the Sugarwood Toll Plaza for those driving the two miles between Ehrlich Road and Hutchison Road.


Cash users attending the focus groups, who use the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 outside the peak hours did not perceive the roadway to be congested.  However, many SunPass customers stated they actually avoid the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 during peak hours due to extreme congestion. Some participants stated their desire for having dedicated SunPass lanes at the Anderson Road Toll Plaza.

 

b. Orlando:

Some of the focus group participants questioned the need for express lanes on the Beachline West Expressway/SR 528 and also stated tourists who use the facility could potentially be confused by the new lanes.  A few participants want truck-only lanes on I-4.  Most participants are not aware that SunPass toll rates are lower than cash toll rates.  The participants stated that allowing trucks in express lanes will discourage the elderly drivers from using the express lanes.  The drivers felt safer in a lane without trucks.

 

c. South Florida:

Some Miami participants questioned why the speed limit on the Turnpike/SR 821 changes between 55 mph in some areas and 70 mph in other areas.  A few participants were unclear with regard to the difference between tolls versus gas tax revenues, and whether the tolls they pay are used for Turnpike projects elsewhere in the state.  Miami participants requested improved lighting on exit signs.  All of the SunPass participants in Miami knew they are paying a lower toll than the TOLL-BY-PLATE drivers.  Almost all of the participants in Miami focus groups did not like the use of flexible delineators on the I-95 Express Lanes.  The Miami participants were the largest number of transit users of any of the focus groups (Metro Rail and bus).


Many participants in Broward County did not realize that three express lanes are being added to I-595.  The Broward County participants enjoyed traveling on the Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869.  Some participants questioned why the Sawgrass Expressway/SR 869 has not been extended to I-95.

 

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6.2 Stated-Preference Survey

FTE/URS and RSG continued the public input effort by conducting a stated preference (SP) survey of Turnpike automobile drivers in the same three Florida regions previously described for the focus groups.  Respondents were recruited for the stated-preference survey either by e-mail invitations sent to current SunPass customers or by postcard invitations distributed in the manual lanes to cash customers at several toll plazas within each region. 


The study team worked closely with SunPass personnel to send the e-mail invitations to current SunPass account holders residing within the three study regions.  The e-mail invitation contained a brief introduction to the survey and a direct link to the survey website.  A total of 220,000 e-mail invitations were proportionally distributed across 210 zip codes within the three regions.  Table 6.1 presents the top twelve zip codes and the approximate number of e-mails sent to SunPass customers within each zip code.  The top two zip codes in the Tampa Bay Region are in the counties of Hillsborough and Hernando respectively; reflecting the “bedroom community” nature of Brooksville.  For reference, a detailed display of the zip code locations are shown in Appendix B.  This e-mail invitation approach yielded 2,781 completed questionnaires from SunPass account holders residing within the three study regions.


Table 6.1
E-mail Invitation Distribution – Top 12 Zip codes

Summarizes the top twelve zip codes and the approximate number of e-mails sent to SunPass customers within each zip code.

 

The second approach used to recruit potential respondents to the web-based questionnaire included distributing postcard invitations to 28,500 cash customers driving through the manual lanes at 14 different toll plazas within the three study regions.  Toll booth operators distributed the postcards to the cash customers as they stopped to pay the toll.


The postcard contained a brief description of the project and instructions for completing the online questionnaire, and also a link to the survey website.  Table 6.2 presents the toll plaza location and approximate number of invitations distributed to the cash customers.


Table 6.2
Post Card Distribution by Toll Plaza Location

Summarizes the toll plaza location and approximate number of invitations distributed to the cash customers.

 

This two-prong invitation approach was used to capture a sufficient range of travelers and trip types within the two payment types to support modeling route choice behavior.  As shown in Table 6.3, a total of 2,977 respondents completed the web-based questionnaire between February 6 and March 6, 2013.  The number of “useable” responses became 2,854 after completing outlier analysis and data checks.  These inconsistent responses amounted to less than five percent of the questionnaires completed.


Table 6.3
Web-Based Questionnaire Results

Summarizes the 2,854 “useable” responses out of a total of 2,977 completed, web-based questionnaires submitted between February 6 and March 6, 2013.

 

Table 6.4 presents the demographics of the survey respondents within the three geographic regions. Not all respondents provided an answer to the Annual Household Income question, thus the totals for this demographic does not match the totals of gender and age. It should also be noted that the sum of the three individual regions is greater than the total shown in the summary. Respondents were classified into a region based on their trip origin and destination. For example, a respondent taking the Turnpike mainline from Orlando to Miami would be counted in both the Central Florida and South Florida region. The total column only includes this individual once.


This set of demographic questions was asked to confirm that the sample contained a diverse cross section of the traveling population in the three regions, and to identify differences in responses by travel characteristics.  All respondents were asked to provide their gender, age, employment status, household size, vehicle ownership, and annual household income.


Table 6.4
Stated Preference Survey Demographics by Region

Summarizes the demographics of the stated-preference survey respondents within the three geographic regions.

 

The primary purpose of the stated preference survey was to gather details about travel characteristics on Florida’s Turnpike facilities, and the respondents’ valuation of express lanes along certain Turnpike facilities as an option for improving travel speeds, travel time reliability, and reducing traffic congestion.  Estimates of Turnpike travelers’ time and cost sensitivities were also evaluated in order to measure interest in express lanes, as well as traveler acceptance of various toll rate levels associated with this premium transportation option.  In addition, respondents were asked what toll information was important to them when deciding their travel route and making a selection between express lanes or the general toll lanes, and how should this toll information be communicated during their travel.


The survey approach used a computer-based survey technique.  The stated preference survey instrument was customized for each respondent by presenting questions and modifying wording based on respondents’ previous answers.  These dynamic questionnaire features provide an accurate and efficient means of data collection, and allow for the presentation of realistic future conditions that correspond with respondents’ reported experiences. The questionnaire was placed on the internet and remained available to Turnpike customers, from February through March, 2013.


The following section summarizes the development and administration of the survey questionnaire, and presents some key survey results.  The full text of the survey questionnaire, survey screen captures, response tabulations, and respondents’ comments about the project appear in the RSG report as Appendices B through F.


Stated-Preference Survey Web-based Questionnaire and Administration
After being presented with basic instructions regarding navigation of the computer-based questionnaire and a brief introduction to the purpose of the express lane project, the invited cash and SunPass account respondents then answered a set of screening questions.  To qualify for the survey, respondents must have made a recent automobile trip that met the following conditions:

  • Florida full-time or seasonal resident or visitor;
  • Was made in a personal vehicle;
  • Was made within the past month on a weekday;
  • Was at least 20 minutes in door-to-door travel time; and
  • Used at least one of Florida’s Turnpike tolled facilities within the study region for a portion of the trip.

Respondents who had not made a trip that met all of the criteria identified above were thanked for their time and terminated from the survey.

 

Qualifying respondents were asked to focus on their most recent trip that met all of the screening criteria as they continued through the survey.  This most recent trip, referred to as the respondents’ reference trip, formed the basis for the rest of the survey.  Respondents were asked to think of the one-way portion of their week day trip, rather than their entire round trip, and were asked a series of questions regarding the specific details of their reference trip.


Respondents began the survey by reporting the day of the week of their most recent trip in the region and the primary purpose of that trip.  Focusing on the trip in one direction only, respondents were asked to report whether the trip began or ended at home.  Next, respondents identified the origin and destinations using a Google Maps™ based geocoder developed by RSG.  Respondents were provided with three options for identifying the origin and destination locations.  They could enter a street address or intersection, enter a business name, or select the location using the interactive map.  The reported locations were used to verify that the trip origin/destination formed a logical travel pattern within the Region or between the two Regions.

 
After completing the origin and destination questions, respondents were asked to select the major toll roads that they had used during their trip.  Next, respondents provided information about trip start time, travel time, and overall delay.  The final questions in this section of the survey asked respondents about the number of passengers traveling with them, trip frequency, and ETC transponder ownership such as E-Pass or SunPass.


Approximately 97% of the respondents were full-time Florida residents and about 34% said their purpose for making the trip was to or from work with another 16% indicating their trip was business related travel.  Nearly 34% indicated that their trip purpose was social, recreational, or other personal business.  About 82% of the trips began at their home location.  About ten percent of the respondents indicated that their trip began at their regular workplace.  Approximately 44% of the overall responses indicated their trip departure time occurred during the AM peak (6:00AM to 9:59AM) period.  Another 27% began their trip during the mid-day (10:00AM to 2:59PM) and about 20% indicating a departure time during the PM peak (3:00 to 6:59) period.  Table 6.5 shows the percentages of respondents indicating they would likely shift their travel before or after the peak period.

 

Table 6.5
Respondents Likely to Shift Travel Before or After Peak

Summarizes the percentages of respondents indicating they would likely shift their travel before or after the peak period.

 

Approximately 61% of the reported trips had a travel time between 20 and 59 minutes.  Another 22% indicated a travel time between 60 and 99 minutes.  About 25% of the respondents indicated some level of travel delay during their trip.

 

About 54% of the total respondents knew exactly or approximately how much they paid in tolls for their trip with roughly 89% paying via their SunPass account and about three percent paid using a compatible transponder issued from an agency other than the Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise.  The remaining eight percent paid cash or used TOLL-BY-PLATE.

 

Table 6.6 summarizes the respondents’ opinions of express lanes as a travel option.  Tables 6.7 and 6.8 show the many reasons given for favoring or opposing the use of express lanes.  Each respondent provided multiple reasons for favoring or opposing express lanes, thus Tables 6.7 and 6.8 do not add to 100%.  Faster travel times in the express lanes was the number one reason given for favoring the express lanes (78.4%).  The next reason is a combination of responses which include easier driving in the express lanes, the perception of being safer, and the prohibition on large trucks.


Table 6.6
Opinion of Proposed Express Lanes

Summarizes the respondents’ opinions of express lanes as a travel option.

 

Table 6.7
Reasons for Favoring Express Lanes

Summarizes the respondents’ many reasons for favoring the use of express lanes.

 

Table 6.8
Reasons for Opposing Express Lanes

Summarizes the respondents’ many reasons for opposing the use of express lanes.

 

When asked if they would be willing to pay an additional toll if it assures them that their travel would not be slowed by traffic conditions, about 50% of the respondents said “Yes”, as shown in Table 6.9.


Table 6.9
Would You be Willing to Pay an Additional Toll

About 50 percent of the respondents said “Yes”, if it assures them that their travel would not be slowed by traffic conditions.

A follow-up question, asked if they would be willing to pay an extra toll if it guarantees a travel time for their trip that is reliable.  Again, approximately 48% of the respondents stated a willingness to pay extra for this guaranteed service as shown in Table 6.10.


Table 6.10
Willingness to Pay Extra for Guaranteed Reliability

Approximately 48 percent of the respondents stated a willingness to pay extra for this guaranteed service.

 

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6.3 Project Brochure, Video, and Website

A brochure was prepared to summarize the ICPP Study and to explain the express lanes projects selected for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821 in Miami-Dade County.  The brochures were distributed to the Focus Group participants in Tampa, Orlando and South Florida.  Contact information was listed in the event participants had further questions or comments. A copy of this brochure is presented in Appendix G.


In addition, a project video was created as an educational and promotional tool to help explain to the public the concept of express lanes on tolled facilities as a congestion management strategy.  This video was shown to the participants of the ten focus group sessions and is also available on the project website.

 

The website was created to house and share project information. It is located on the homepage of the Florida’s Turnpike website at www.floridasturnpike.com.  It is also located as a link on the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Central Office Florida Managed Lanes website (www.floridaexpresslanes.com).  It currently includes information about Phases I and II of the ICPP Study, and will be updated to include information for Phase III as this information becomes available.  The information on the website includes a description of the ICPP Study, descriptions for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821 express lanes projects, frequently asked questions, and project contact information.

 

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7. Coordination Efforts with Stakeholders

Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) focused communication and outreach efforts to project stakeholders on details regarding the addition of express lanes on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821 as a means to help manage future congestion.


Project Outreach for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 Express Lanes
FTE began communicating the benefits of express lanes in the Fall of 2012 to project stakeholders for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 project.  The express lanes presentation that was presented to the stakeholder groups is shown in Appendix H.  The Veterans Expressway/SR 589 project stakeholder meetings are listed below.

 

Stakeholder Group

The Veterans Expressway/SR 589 is currently designed for a single express lane in each direction.  Safety and mobility concerns were raised by stakeholders regarding this design.  However, a wide shoulder will be available to help facilitate travel in the event of disabled vehicles.  In addition to the single-lane express lane the project’s design provides customers with an additional general toll lane, while also gaining the express lane option.

 

The regional entities, as well as respondents from the focus groups, raised the issue of reversible lanes.  The Tampa Area has a separate toll road which uses reversible lanes, and the customers have enjoyed this experience.  The reversible express lane concept serves highly directional traffic during the peak hours.  Historical traffic data on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 shows that the directional split of traffic is in a declining trend, indicating traffic in the off-peak direction is expected to increase at a higher rate than the peak direction.  If the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 were operating as a reversible express lane facility, there will be no ability to provide the off-peak direction travelers with any congestion relief in the future.  Therefore, reversible lanes were not considered for further study on this facility.


FTE experienced a great deal of positive feedback and support from project stakeholders for the use of express lanes on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589.  The Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) supported the express lanes concept.


Project Outreach for the Turnpike/SR 821 Express Lanes
FTE began communicating the benefits of express lanes in the Fall of 2012 to project stakeholders for the Turnpike/SR 821 project.  The presentation that was presented to the stakeholder groups is shown in Appendix I.  The Turnpike/SR 821 project stakeholder meetings are listed below.

 

Stakeholder Group

Unlike the Tampa Bay Region, Miami-Dade stakeholders were familiar with the concept of express lanes from their use of the 95 Express Lanes, which continues to experience great success in the region both in functionality and popularity.


Portions of the Turnpike/SR 821 will include single-lane express lanes, while other sections will include double-lane express lanes.  Safety and mobility concerns were raised by stakeholders regarding this design.  However, a wide shoulder will be available to help facilitate travel in the event of disabled vehicles.  


FTE experienced a great deal of positive feedback and support from project stakeholders for the use of express lanes as a tool to manage congestion on the Turnpike/SR 821.  On October 25, 2012 the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization passed Resolution #38-12 in support of the express lanes concept.


While the various stakeholder groups in both regions agreed with express lanes in concept, there were several questions raised regarding bus transit and the separation between express lanes and the general toll lanes.


Bus Transit concerns were a high frequency topic with project stakeholders.  While FTE bondholder agreements require that all Turnpike customers pay a toll to use FTE facilities, the pricing policy could establish a bus transit toll rate to allow buses to use the express lanes. 


Various forms of lane separation were discussed by project stakeholders including, but not limited to, concrete barriers and no barrier at all.  Flexible delineators were found to be the safest and most cost-effective way to maintain separation.  Concrete barriers were found to make the lanes seem narrow, although safer since semi trucks are not allowed in the express lanes.  No barrier at all, while giving users additional space, is an enforcement issue leading to potentially high violation rates.


These issues were sufficiently addressed at all stakeholder meetings.  Project stakeholder outreach meetings for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821 express lane projects resulted in additional understanding and support for the projects and the concept of express lanes on the Turnpike system.

 

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8. Traffic and Revenue Study

8.1 Methodology

The traffic and revenue estimates for this study were accomplished through a multi-step process.  With the need to provide traffic and revenue forecasts by hour and by direction, the forecasting process utilized three modeling tools; a Travel Demand Model (TDM), a Time of Day Modal (TOD) and a Revenue Model as shown in Figure 8.1.  Two Travel Demand Models were used to forecast travel demand; the Turnpike State Model (TSM) and the Southeast Regional Planning Model (SERPM).  These two Models are described in detail below.

 

Figure 8.1

Express Lane Modeling Process

Shows the two step modeling process for travel demand and toll revenue forecasting on express lanes projects.

 

 

Travel Demand Model – Turnpike State Model (TSM)
The Turnpike State Model (TSM) used here to forecast travel demand on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 was originally developed in 2005-2006 and updated over the past year. A number of updates were made to the model and its process for various projects in order to improve reliability of the forecasts.


The original TSM (validation year of 2004) was developed in 2005 and 2006 using a database derived from readily available statewide data on households, employment, land use, surveys of highway travel, traffic counts, and highway system attributes. The TSM was structured in a way that could be easily kept current through periodic updates as future versions of the database elements became available. The TSM’s coverage area provides a means to address the need for planning-level traffic and revenue forecasts anywhere in the state. The TSM provides the opportunity to evaluate the feasibility of inter-regional projects as well as smaller intra-regional projects.


The TSM was developed to contain several other features that were innovative departures from traditional modeling practice established under the auspices of the Florida Standard Urban Transportation Model Structure (FSUTMS) and regularly employed by Florida’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and district offices of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The innovative features include the expanded statewide perspective for travel simulation modeling, integration of a land use model component, a database structure for managing and integrating the various datasets, and the use of Matrix Estimation to simplify the model structure while vastly improving model accuracy.


During this most recent update of the TSM, the two fundamental areas requiring modifications were the socioeconomic data and the network database. In 2012, the most recent socioeconomic and network data available was 2010, which became the validation year for this model update.


Travel Demand Model – Southeast Regional Planning Model (SERPM)
The initial tasks in the development of traffic and revenue forecasts for the Turnpike/SR 821 were to enhance and validate the Southeast Regional Planning Model (SERPM) to match the observed traffic conditions in the study corridors so it could provide additional confidence for developing future year estimates for the corridors. Within the model, geographic coverage is represented by traffic analysis zones containing socioeconomic data that are the basis for model trip generation.  The SERPM which includes Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties uses a lifestyle data format to divide demographic variables such as households, vehicle ownership, workers and population into two segments: without children and with children (i.e., total households are divided into households with no children and households with one or more children).  Employment is divided into three types: industrial, commercial, and service.  These variables are used to develop trip productions and attractions.


The SERPM was validated to 2010 traffic conditions in an iterative fashion. It was designed to produce travel demand forecasts at a daily level, with traffic defined in terms of annual average daily traffic (AADT), as well as by three time periods: AM Peak (6:30 – 9:30 AM), PM Peak (3:30 – 6:30 PM) and Off-peak (remainder of the day).

 

Express Lane Time-of-Day (TOD) Model
An important aspect of the revenue-earning potential of the express lanes is the toll rates charged to users over the course of the day.  The traffic level of service in the express lanes would be maintained through variable pricing, with the express lanes tolls rising with increased congestion in the corridor.  The development of the TOD model provides the means to forecast traffic by hour and direction in the express lanes via supply and demand equilibrium processes, as depicted in Figure 8.2.

 

Figure 8.2

TOD Flowchart

Shows the modeling process for the Express Lanes Time of Day TOD model used in this study.

 

In the overall modeling process to develop hourly traffic and revenue forecasts for express lanes on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821, the first step is the feeding of the results from the Travel Demand Model (TDM) into the TOD model.  Since the TDM produces a traffic forecast by multi-hour time periods, the TOD subarea model is needed in order to produce hourly traffic forecasts for the general toll lanes and express lanes.  The TOD model works in conjunction with the demand model and is designed to take a subarea trip table by TOD and a subarea network extraction from the TDM.  This process produces traffic and revenue estimates by hour, by direction, for both the general toll lanes and express lanes.  In addition to the subarea trip table, the TOD used hourly traffic distributions on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and Turnpike/SR 821, by direction, from the loop count data, the geometric configuration of the proposed express lanes, and a toll policy pricing curve.


The TOD model was developed for 2020 and 2040 on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and for 2018 and 2040 on the Turnpike/SR 821.  A 2011 TOD model was developed to compare the hourly volumes generated by the model with existing counts.  No express lanes are coded in the 2011 TOD model.


The TOD model holds the daily traffic and hourly distribution constant (i.e., TOD does not simulate peak spreading) and estimates the split that will occur between the general toll lanes and express lanes given those distributions. It does this by solving for the supply/demand equilibrium for each hour. The supply side is represented by Akcelik volume-delay curves that estimate the segment travel times separately for the general toll lanes and express lanes in each direction. These curves are based on queuing theory to more accurately represent congestion levels in overcapacity conditions. Hourly toll rates are computed by direction based on the volume-to-capacity ratio in the express lanes in relation to a specified toll policy and are maintained within the specified maximum and minimum toll limits.  It should be noted that for the ICPP corridors, a traffic optimization policy was chosen.


The TOD model determines the hourly express lanes share of traffic based on the toll amount and the differences in travel times between the general toll lanes and express lanes.  The share calculations are done by applying the discrete toll choice model equation and the calibrated coefficients.


Discrete Choice Model Development

In November 2011, FTE, URS and RSG conducted a joint revealed/stated preference survey in support of an investment grade effort for the future I-75/SR 826 express lanes in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.  The revealed preference component of the effort was performed for existing 95 Express customers to better understand traveler behavior and develop a basis for incorporating reliability into a discrete toll choice modeling equation.  The intent was that the newly formulated choice model equation could serve as the basis for estimating traffic and revenue on other express lane projects around the state.


As part of the effort, statistical analysis and discrete choice model estimation were carried out using the stated and revealed preference survey data of over 2,000 respondents.  The toll choice model used the travel time and cost coefficients to determine the value that travelers would be willing to pay for a given travel time savings. The marginal rate of substitution between the travel time and toll cost coefficients provides the implied toll value that travelers would be willing to pay for a given amount of travel time savings on the proposed express lanes. This Value of Travel Time Savings (VTTS) can be calculated by simply dividing the travel time coefficient by the toll cost coefficient. The resulting VTTS is in units of dollars per minute, multiplying by 60 converts this into the more commonly cited units of dollars per hour. In the following equation, βTime is the value of the travel time coefficient (with units of 1/min) and βCost is the value of the toll cost coefficient (with units of 1/$).

 

Formula

As evidenced in the I-95 revealed preference survey responses and observed traffic data, users chose the express lanes for reasons other than time savings (e.g., less congestion, better reliability, no trucks, and perceived safety).  The research team determined that the best way to represent express lane reliability in choice model terms was to capture the disutility associated with travel time variability of the general toll lanes. As such, the term entropy is used to represent the unreliability of the general toll lanes compared to the express lanes.


To capture unreliability, respondents who reported a trip on I-95 were asked to indicate the travel time variability by providing the minimum, maximum, and average time they spent on I-95 for their trips within the past month. Only respondents who made at least three trips on I-95 within the past month were asked to provide this information, which represented 48% (510 respondents) of the total I-95 sample. This information was used to estimate a perceived travel time distribution for each respondent. The distribution was assumed to be lognormal and the parameters of the distribution (mean and standard deviation) were estimated using the reported travel time information. Entropy is the measure of the uncertainty in a distribution and was determined to be a function of the mean and standard deviation of the travel time distribution reported by the respondents.


The resulting aggregated choice model developed for this project reflects associated travel time savings and entropy for the separate utilities. The following two equations define how the calibrated coefficient values were applied to the relevant travel alternatives.


Utility for Express Lanes Alternative

Formula

 

Utility for General Toll Lanes Alternative

Formula

 

The equation definitions are as follows:

  • UEL = Utility for the express lanes alternative
  • UGT = Utility for the general toll lanes alternative
  • βtime = Travel time coefficient
  • TravelTimeEL = Express lanes travel time
  • TravelTimeGP = General toll lanes travel time
  • βcost = Toll cost coefficient
  • TollCostEL = Express lanes toll cost
  • Βentropy = Calibrated entropy coefficient
  • EntropyGP = General toll lanes entropy per mile
  • D = Distance of adjacent general toll link in miles
  • ΒTollConstant = Calibrated toll constant

To aid in the application of entropy in the travel demand model, an equation was derived to relate entropy to the ratio of volume-to-capacity (V/C) in the adjacent general toll lanes and distance traveled in miles of the parallel link. This was achieved by estimating a logistic regression model between observed measures of V/C ratio and entropy as calculated from I-95 travel time and traffic volume information. The result of the logistic regression is the equation relating entropy to V/C ratio presented below, where the variable VC is the volume-to-capacity ratio for the general toll lanes.

 

Formula

 

Figure 8.3 presents the relationship between entropy and V/C as defined by the previous equation.

 

Figure 8.3

Entropy and Volume/Capacity (V/C) Ratio

Shows the relationship between entropy and volume to capacity as defined in this study.

 

Discrete Choice Model Calibration and Application
The aggregate choice model was then calibrated using travel data for the I-95 corridor. The following data were collected and aggregated into three separate time periods of AM peak, PM peak, and off-peak:

  • Traffic volumes on the I-95 express lanes and general toll lanes
  • Percentage of total vehicles eligible to use the express lanes estimated from the Bluetooth origin-destination data
  • Average express lanes toll cost
  • Average express lanes time savings (compared to the general toll lanes)
  • Average observed entropy (reliability) of the general toll lanes
  • Average daily collected revenue
  •  

A TOD model calibration was conducted to develop a time-of-day model that utilized the entropy coefficient and toll constants and replicated actual 95 Express conditions. Table 8.1 presents the calibrated choice model coefficient values for 95 Express and the adjusted values used for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and Turnpike/SR 821 express lanes projects.

 

Table 8.1

Choice Model Parameter Comparison

Summarizes the calibrated choice model coefficient values for 95 Express and the adjusted values used for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and Turnpike/SR 821 express lanes projects.

 

As part of the ICPP study, models were developed to produce estimates of VTTS of travelers for each project using the stated preference survey data collected in February/March 2013.   The mean VTTS for the Tampa region was $7.80/hr. and the mean VTTS for South Florida was $9.62/hr.


An interesting observation is that the VTTS for the ICPP corridors are much lower than the surveys conducted for 95 Express.  For ICPP, respondents were presented with a choice between using the existing general toll lanes on Turnpike facilities and using proposed express lanes along the same facilities – a “toll within a toll” or “premium toll” facility.  Previous studies have focused on choices between toll routes and toll-free routes. However, it appears that the incremental willingness to pay for a premium toll facility versus a standard toll facility is lower than the willingness to pay for a toll facility versus a toll free facility.  This finding in Florida is consistent with another research effort that RSG conducted in 2012 for express lanes on an existing toll road in suburban Chicago.  The values of time for the Chicago project were also lower than other values estimated for toll roads versus toll-free facilities elsewhere in that region.


For the application choice model parameters on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821, the time coefficient remains unchanged from the 95 Express calibration.  The cost coefficient was adjusted to reflect the mean VTTS.  Entropy remains the same; however, the constants were lowered for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821 corridors based on an estimation of the attractiveness of the single express lane compared to that of 95 Express in Miami.  Although some of the project is not a single express lane, the same constant was applied to the entire Turnpike/SR 821 for consistency purposes.  This estimate of lowering the constants was derived by using the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) to estimate likely delays due to car-following on a one-lane highway. This delay results in two effects – it reduces travel speeds and it introduces an undesirability associated with the express lane relative to a scenario where express lane users can pass each other when there are two express lanes.

 
Revenue Model
The traffic and toll revenue estimates for the general toll lanes and the express lanes were developed using input from the multi-step modeling process described earlier.  The toll revenue model was developed to calculate the annual toll revenue earnings that can be expected from the project for the 30-year period from 2018 through 2047.  The directional, hour-by-hour traffic volumes and toll rates from the TOD model were used in the revenue model.  Several adjustment factors were established outside the TOD model to account for a number of traffic and revenue variables.  Additional variables, such as the toll index or inflation rate, are also part of this forecasting process and are discussed individually below.

 

Contemporary developments in electronic toll collection (ETC), such as SunPass, have facilitated the opportunity for variable pricing.  Entry into the express lanes would be available only for vehicles equipped with SunPass or other compatible transponders.  SunPass equipment would be mounted on gantry structures above the express lanes.  Traffic would pass under the tolling points at regular speeds.  Some trips on the express lanes may include travel through only one toll gantry, while other trips may include multiple gantries, and therefore, record multiple transactions per trip.


A weekend toll rate equivalency factor was developed to annualize toll revenues.  This factor is developed to recognize that on weekends and holidays there would be a substantially reduced toll rate and revenue accompanying those days of the year.  Using recently collected toll revenue data on Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and Turnpike/SR 821, an equivalency factor of 0.76 was applied to the 2018 toll revenue estimates from the model.  Over time, it was assumed that a higher proportion of revenue will occur on the weekends as congestion continues to grow during those periods and more traffic uses the express lanes.


Another factor affecting gross toll revenues is toll evasion.  Inevitably, every toll road experiences some trips made for which no toll is collected.  In the case of the proposed express lanes, this would include drivers who use the lanes, but do not have a prepaid toll account and transponder.  As a result, it was assumed that toll evasion would have the effect of reducing gross toll revenues by seven percent; similar to what is currently observed on 95 Express.  In addition, no impact from ramp-up was assumed since travelers are very familiar with the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821; and therefore, it is anticipated that there would be latent demand for the express lanes once they were opened to traffic.


Current FDOT policy for express lanes on both the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821 precludes truck use.  As such, the toll revenue forecasts presented in this report do not assume any toll revenue from multi-axle trucks in the express lanes.  On the other hand, buses and high occupancy vehicles, as well as hybrid vehicles and motorcycles are all assumed to pay a toll in the express lanes of the Turnpike, as required by the bond covenants.

 

It should also be noted that the revenues provided herein are based on tolls indexed for inflation. The assumed toll rate will increase annually to comply with the adopted Florida law that requires indexing of tolls using the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  To index the revenues for inflation, it is assumed for forecasting purposes that the toll rate adjustment used over the entire 30-year forecast period be two percent per year.  This is the same indexing rate agreed upon by FDOT and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise for use in forecasting future toll revenues on Florida’s Turnpike facilities.

 

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8.2 Toll Plan and Access Points

The toll plan developed for both projects attempts to maximize the use of existing toll gantries already in place in the general toll lanes.  The toll plan for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 is shown in Figure 8.4.  The plan shows that toll collection in the express lanes will take place at the existing Anderson and Sugarwood toll plazas. In addition, there would be only one intermediate ingress/egress point to the express lanes south of Gunn Highway.

 

The toll plan developed for the Turnpike/SR 821 is shown in Figure 8.5.  For the South section, a new toll gantry would be added to collect tolls on the express lanes north of Biscayne Drive and another gantry north of Quail Roost Drive.  The Homestead toll gantry would be extended to collect tolls from customers using the express lanes at this location.  The Central Turnpike/SR 821 section adds one new gantry south of Kendall Drive.

 

Figure 8.4

Veterans Expressway/SR 589 Express Lanes Toll and Access Plan

Shows the location of express and general toll lanes, as well as access points along the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 as defined in this study.

 

Figure 8.5

Turnpike/SR 821 Express Lanes Toll and Access Plan

Shows the location of express and general toll lanes, as well as access points along the Central and South segments of the Turnpike/SR 821 as defined in this study.

 

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8.3 Traffic and Revenue Forecasts

Corridor Traffic
The project team developed future year traffic forecasts for various scenarios that became inputs to the TOD model.  Tables 8.2 and 8.3 show the base condition corridor traffic volumes for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821 corridors, respectively.


The average annual growth rates for individual segments of the corridors were calculated using the traffic volumes for the specific years.  The forecasts show 2011 to 2020 annual growth rate of 1.5 percent on Veterans Expressway/SR 589 (2.4 percent between 2020 and 2040).  Similarly, 2011 to 2018 annual traffic growth rate was 1.7 percent on the Turnpike/SR 821, with 2.2 percent estimated between 2018 and 2040.  Note that these growth rates are not based on weighted averages.

 

Table 8.2

Veterans Expressway/SR 589 Corridor Traffic Forecast

Show the base condition corridor traffic volumes for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 corridor.

Note:     2011 model was calibrated using socioeconomic and other input variables obtained during
the Great Recession. This resulted in lower traffic growth between 2011 and 2020 (1.5%)
compared to the long-term future growth which assumes a full economic rebound.

 

Table 8.3

Turnpike/SR 821 Corridor Traffic Forecast

Show the base condition corridor traffic volumes for the Turnpike/SR 821 corridor.

Note:     2011 model was calibrated using socioeconomic and other input variables obtained during
the Great Recession. This resulted in lower traffic growth between 2011 and 2018 (1.7%)
compared to the long-term future growth which assumes a full economic rebound.

 

Express Lanes Traffic Volumes
A benefit of the TOD model is to have both disaggregated and aggregated traffic and revenue information available in a consistent, cohesive form.  The hourly traffic forecasts are easily summarized into daily traffic volumes, by direction, and by express-lane segment, with the corresponding toll amount.

 

The sum of the period forecasts results in the total AADT for the corridor. The daily traffic summary for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 is summarized in Table 8.4.  The split between express lanes and general toll lanes from a daily traffic perspective shows that the express lanes carry five percent of the total AADT in 2020.  The express lanes shares grow over time, and by 2040, they account for eight percent of the total AADT.  The general toll lanes have an annual compounded growth rate of 2.7 to 3.0 percent over the 20-year period, while the express lanes growth rate ranges from 6.1 to 6.7 percent, depending on the location.

 

Table 8.4

Veterans Expressway/SR 589 Annual Average Daily Traffic

Summarizes the express lanes and general toll lanes daily traffic estimates for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2040.

 

Figures 8.6 and 8.7 show the opening and horizon year hourly express lanes traffic profiles for the Sugarwood and Anderson toll plazas, respectively. The peak direction in the morning is southbound, and conversely, it is northbound in the afternoon. The opening year peak hour northbound volume is the greatest, at 570 vehicles. By 2040, the northbound peak hour volumes are the highest, at 1,450.

 

Figure 8.6

Sugarwood Mainline Hourly Volumes

Shows the Year 2020 and 2040 forecast volumes per hour for the Sugarwood Mainline plaza.

 

Figure 8.7

Anderson Mainline Hourly Volumes

Shows the Year 2020 and 2040 forecast volume per hour for the Anderson Mainline plaza.

 

The daily traffic summary for the Turnpike/SR 821 is summarized in Table 8.5.  The split between express lanes and general toll lanes from a daily traffic perspective shows that the express lanes carry between four and 11 percent of the total AADT in 2020, depending on the location.  The express lanes shares grow over time, and by 2040, they represent between six and 16 percent of the total AADT, depending on the location.  The general toll lanes have an annual compounded growth rate of 1.2 to 1.7 percent over the 20-year period, while the express lanes growth rate ranges from 1.0 to 3.7 percent, depending on the location.

 

Table 8.5

Turnpike/SR 821 Annual Average Daily Traffic

Summarizes the express lanes and general toll lanes daily traffic estimates for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2040.

 

Figures 8.8 through 8.11 show the opening and horizon year hourly express lanes traffic profiles at four mainline toll gantries along the Turnpike/SR 821 project. The peak direction in the morning is southbound, and conversely, it is northbound in the afternoon. The opening year peak hour northbound volume is the greatest, at 2016 vehicles. By 2040, the northbound peak hour volumes are the highest, at 3,330.

 

Figure 8.8

Bird Road Mainline Express Lane Hourly Volumes

Shows the Year 2020 and 2040 forecast volumes per hour for the Bird Road Mainline plaza.

 

Figure 8.9

Mainline N. of Killian Parkway Express Lane Hourly Volumes

Shows the Year 2020 and 2040 forecast volume per hour for the mainline plaza north of Killian Parkway.

 

Figure 8.10

N. of Caribbean Boulevard/U.S. 1 Express Lane Hourly Volumes

Shows the Year 2020 and 2040 forecast volume per hour for the plaza north of Caribbean Boulevard/US 1.

 

Figure 8.11

Homestead Mainline Express Lane Hourly Volumes

Shows the Year 2020 and 2040 forecast volume per hour for the Homestead mainline plaza.

 

Toll Amounts

Additional detail from the TOD model regarding tolls is provided for an understanding of the future performance of the express lanes.  Tables 8.6 and 8.7 present a summary of the forecasted toll amounts for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821, respectively.  By policy, the minimum toll amount to travel the express lanes will be $0.25 greater than the adjacent general toll lane at every tolling location.  If the tolling location has no adjacent general toll, then the minimum express lane toll is simply $0.25.

 

On the Veterans Expressway/SR 589, the peak period express lane toll amount in 2020 is not expected to be higher than the minimum toll.  By 2040, the average peak period toll amount will be up to $0.25 greater than the minimum toll.  A review of potential work commute trips in terms of total peak hour costs show reasonable results.  For the morning commuter traveling from the Suncoast Parkway/SR 589 to I-275, the peak period cost to use the express lanes ranges from approximately $0.50 in 2020 to $0.75 in 2040.  Conversely, a return trip in the evening from I-275 to the Suncoast Parkway/SR 589 has additional toll that ranges from $0.50 in 2020 to $0.85 in 2040.

 

Table 8.6

Veterans Expressway/SR 589 Average Toll Amounts (FY 2012 Dollars)

Summarizes the forecasted premium toll amounts for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589.

 

On the Turnpike/SR 821, the maximum express lane toll amount in 2018 is not expected to be higher than the minimum toll.  By 2040, the peak period toll amount will be up to $0.70 greater than the minimum toll for any one tolling point.  A review of potential work commute trips in terms of total peak hour costs show reasonable results.  For the morning commuter traveling from the Homestead to SR 836, the peak period cost ranges to use the express lanes will be $1.00 in 2020 to $1.80 in 2040 under the most congested conditions.  Conversely, a return trip in the evening from SR 836 to the Homestead has additional toll that ranges from $1.00 in 2020 to $2.25 in 2040.

 

Table 8.7

Turnpike/SR 821 Average Toll Amounts (FY 2012 Dollars)

Summarizes the forecasted premium toll amounts for the Turnpike/SR 821.

 

Annual Transactions and Toll Revenue
The output of the revenue forecasting model is annual gross toll revenue estimates for each year of a 30-year forecast beginning with the assumed opening year of the express lanes projects. For this study, the same opening year of FY 2018 was assumed for both express lane projects. Tables 8.8 and 8.9 show the incremental increase in annual gross toll revenue and transactions between FY 2018 and FY 2047 for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821, respectively.  This increase is attributed to existing traffic shifting over from the general toll lanes to the express lanes paying the premium toll, as well as new traffic moving from the adjacent roadways to the general toll lanes paying the base toll.


As shown in Table 8.8, the incremental annual revenues resulting from adding express lanes and new general toll lanes on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 range from over $3.3 million in FY 2018 to over $14.9 million in 2047.  The corresponding transactions increase from about 5.1 million in the opening year to over 15.2 million after 30 years.  Similarly, as shown in Table 8.9, the incremental annual revenues resulting from adding express lanes and new general toll lanes on the Turnpike/SR 821 range from $6.7 million in FY 2018 to $48.4 million in 2047.  The corresponding transactions increase from 16.7 million in the opening year to 63.6 million after 30 years.


Table 8.8
Veterans Expressway/SR 589
Incremental Increase in Annual Gross Toll Revenue and Transactions
(x 1,000)

Summarizes the incremental increase in annual gross toll revenue and transactions between FY 2018 and FY 2047 for the Veterans Expressway/SR 589.

 

Table 8.9
Turnpike/SR 821
Incremental Increase in Annual Gross Toll Revenue and Transactions
(x 1,000)

Summarizes the incremental increase in annual gross toll revenue and transactions between FY 2018 and FY 2047 for the Turnpike/SR 821.

 

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9. Summary and Phase III Preview

In September 2011, FTE/FDOT received a Value Pricing Pilot Program (VPPP) grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to help fund Phase II of this study.  Phase II is the Evaluation and Coordination portion of the overall study whereby customer input regarding pricing options was solicited through market research and focus groups.  Also in this Phase, FTE/FDOT began a public outreach and education program to obtain feedback from stakeholders on the study and specific express lane projects funded for implementation.  In addition, a traffic and revenue study was completed.  This report summarizes the major activities completed in Phase II of the ICPP. 


During the development of the ICPP Study Phase II, the Project Team had the opportunity to evaluate two major widening projects on Turnpike facilities for express lanes.  The two projects are located on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 in Hillsborough County and on the Turnpike/SR 821 in Miami-Dade County.  These facilities serve two of the major urban areas in the state (Tampa and Miami), and the results of the study evaluation identified them as strong candidate projects for the implementation of express lanes.  Due to funding availability, these projects were selected for implementation and are moving forward. Construction is underway for both projects.


Tolls in the express lanes will be collected electronically, and are set to initially be $0.25 higher than the general toll lanes during the off-peak hours.  During the peak hours, tolls are dynamically adjusted to reflect actual traffic conditions in the express lanes.


A key component of the ICPP Study Phase II was public outreach and education.  The major activities within this effort consisted of focus group meetings, a stated-preference survey, and project reference materials consisting of an informational brochure, a video, and a project website.  The project website can accessed by visiting www.floridasturnpike.com.


A total of ten focus group sessions were conducted in Orlando, Tampa, and South Florida in order to obtain feedback from the public regarding the addition of express lanes to Turnpike facilities and general opinions about the Turnpike facilities.


A stated-preference survey of Turnpike automobile users was also conducted in Tampa, Orlando, and South Florida.  The primary purpose of the  survey was to gather details about travel characteristics on Florida’s Turnpike facilities, and measure the respondents’ valuation of express lanes along certain Turnpike facilities as an option for improving travel speeds, travel time reliability, and reducing traffic congestion.


The effort to coordinate with project stakeholders focused on the Tampa and Miami-Dade areas where express lanes projects are moving forward.  In these areas, presentations were made to the MPOs and their committees regarding the express lanes projects planned for their areas.  Feedback from both MPOs was positive, with the Miami-Dade MPO passing Resolution #38-12 supporting the express lanes on the Turnpike/SR 821.  In addition, meetings with the local legislative delegations were held.


As part of the ICPP Phase II Project, a traffic and revenue study was conducted to evaluate the potential revenue that could be earned from the express lanes on the Veterans Expressway/SR 589 and the Turnpike/SR 821 in Miami-Dade County.


In September 2012, FTE/FDOT received a VPPP grant to help fund Phase III of the overall study.  During Phase III, FTE/FDOT will prepare a Master Plan to guide future project implementation efforts.  Phase III is scheduled to begin in early 2014.

 

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