Social Equity Impacts of Congestion Management Strategies

February 12, 2020

social_equity_impacts_of_congestion_management_strategiesSocial Equity Impacts of Congestion Management Strategies

Author(s): Susan Shaheen, PhD, Adam Stocker, Ruth Meza

This white paper examines the social equity impacts of various congestion management strategies. The paper includes a comprehensive list of 30 congestion management strategies and a discussion of equity implications related to each strategy.

The authors analyze existing literature and incorporate findings from 12 expert interviews from academic, non-governmental organization (NGO), public, and private sector respondents to strengthen results and fill gaps in understanding.

The literature review applies the Spatial – Temporal – Economic – Physiological – Social (STEPS) Equity Framework (Shaheen et al., 2017) to identify impacts and classify whether social equity barriers are reduced, exacerbated, or both by a particular congestion mitigation measure.

The congestion management strategies discussed are grouped into six main categories, including: 1) pricing, 2) parking and curb policies, 3) operational strategies, 4) infrastructure changes, 5) transportation services and strategies, and 6) conventional taxation.

The findings show that the social equity impacts of certain congestion management strategies are not well understood, at present, and further empirical research is needed. Congestion mitigation measures have the potential to affect travel costs, commute times, housing, and accessibility in ways that are distinctly positive or negative for different populations. For these reasons, social equity implications of congestion management strategies should be understood and mitigated for in planning and implementation of these strategies.