Mitigating Tolling Impacts on Low Income Populations

Focus Area

Environmental Justice


Community & Cultural Concerns, Environmental Process




Under $99k



Research Idea Scope

Tolling has been identified as having a potentially disproportionate impact on low income populations.  This research would consist of a state of the issue literature search on how different NEPA, or other, transportation planning processes have described tolling impacts to low income populations.  In addition, and importantly, the literature search should identify, describe and summarize best practices with regard to mitigating tolling impacts to low income or minority populations.

Transportation agencies appear to be suggesting in NEPA documents that the regressive nature of a flat toll on drivers is not a disproportionate impact to low income populations because low income populations benefit substantially (enough to offset the disproportionate share of their income) from time-savings that the toll enables.  Is this an accurate characterization of a toll’s impact on EJ communities?

Proposed mitigation for tolls include, among other things, public information campaigns to explain the toll, broad availability of monthly passes, discounts for mult-trip passes, discounts for service providers, and, transit enhancements.  Are these mitigation proposals adequate and effective?  

Related Research (Added by TERI Administrator, March 2011)
The Impacts of Tolling on Low-income Persons in the Puget Sound Region; Washington State Transportation Center, 2009, 69p

Urgency and Payoff

The benefits of this research would be clearer understanding of the key tolling impact and mitigation for environmental justice populations.

Suggested By

Erik Peterson, Environmental Protection Agency

[email protected]