The nation's transportation systems have become increasingly congested, and pressure on them is expected to grow substantially in the future. Most transportation experts think a multifaceted approach is needed to address congestion and improve mobility. One potential tool is congestion pricing, that is, charging users a toll, fee, or surcharge for using transportation infrastructure during certain peak periods of travel. Pilot projects to test this approach are currently under way in the United States and the technique has been used more extensively abroad. Interest in the usefulness of congestion pricing has been growing, as evidenced by several recent proposals. However, there have also been concerns raised about the fairness of such practices to some users of transportation systems. GAO was asked to identify (1) the potential benefits that can be expected from pricing congested transportation systems, approaches to using congestion pricing in transportation systems, and the implementation challenges that such pricing policies pose, and (2) examples of projects in which pricing of congested transportation systems has been applied to date, and what these examples reveal about potential benefits or challenges to implementation. This statement is based on prior GAO reports and other publicly available reports.
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