Observed Traffic Pattern Changes Due to Variable Tolls Academic Article uri icon


  • In August 1998 the Midpoint and Cape Coral Bridges in Lee County, Florida, began charging variable tolls based on the time of day. Traffic data collected at these two bridges are examined, including the number of vehicles, by transaction payment type and by time of day. These data were analyzed to determine if variable pricing toll discounts have changed traffic patterns at the toll bridges. Data collected from January through July 1998 (before the implementation of variable pricing) were compared to data collected from August through December 1998 (during variable pricing). The data were examined in both aggregate and half-hour time increments throughout the day. This allowed for initial analysis of ways that traffic volumes have shifted by time of day due to discounted tolls. Data were also collected on the payment methods of all bridge users. This information is critical, since only those users paying their toll electronically (approximately 23 percent of transactions) are eligible for the variable pricing toll discounts. Therefore, two groups were examined separatelyeligible users (the test group) and ineligible users (the control group). Variable pricing was found to have caused significant changes in the travel behavior of eligible users. On the Cape Coral and Midpoint Bridges, the number of eligible users increased significantly during the discount periods and decreased significantly during the peak periods. In contrast, changes in the traffic patterns of ineligible users were found to be statistically insignificant.

published proceedings

  • Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

author list (cited authors)

  • Burris, M., Pietrzyk, M. C., & Swenson, C. R.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Burris, Mark||Pietrzyk, Michael C||Swenson, Chris R

publication date

  • January 2000