points to it as a market program, while the award of start-up costs indicates that WSDOT funds projects as well as buys trips. A study was conducted to determine the feasibility
of a trip reduction market. identified:
Among the findings, two possible markets were
A single-buyer market, where the buyer decides the number or trips to be purchased and the price with the presence of multiple sellers; and,
A private trading market, with multiple buyers and sellers where the market prices are determined by the law of supply and demand.
The study reported the single-buyer market as the optimal structure, given WSDOT objectives and its public entity status. In this context WSDOT values reduced trips as a good that provides additional roadway capacity and where sellers are entities providing SOV trip reduction strategies measurable in terms of reduced SOV trips. WSDOT would act as a single-buyer on the market. On the other hand, a private trading market is deemed unfeasible due to political and legal hurdles in setting a cap on commute trips, the uncertainty in determining whether the private trading would provide the desired congestion relief, and the ambiguity whether the emission trading markets are a positive strategy in managing air pollution.
In this framework, the value of an avoided trip is related to many factors like available funding and underlying price caps. Some of the trip pricing models suggested were:
Setting a trip value based on the toll amount drivers would pay to drive under reduced congestion, where price would be influenced by factors such as time of day, commute distance, and geographic location;
Setting a trip value based on the additional infrastructure investment required to add network capacity, which depends on the number of peak users in the corridor; and,
Establishing a trip value according to available funding and minimum required number of avoided trips.
Ultimately, WSDOT settled for a single-buyer market structure characterized by price caps, with a single statewide cap set at a maximum of $460 per avoided trip. The cap is based on the optimal tolling for the new highway system in the Puget Sound region.
In this single-buyer market private employers, public agencies, nonprofit organizations and other entities are invited to compete in selling reduced SOV trips by proposing trip reduction strategies or programs. Each strategy must provide an accurate assessment of its trip reduction efficacy by measuring projected SOV trip reduction against a baseline. This baseline must be measured by means of surveys that report vehicle trips and VMT made by program or project participants. In addition, project performance surveys must be conducted to measure projected vs. actual trip reduction.
The requirement of accuracy is defined as “reasonable estimate of employee participation, trip reduction, and VMT reduction,” with no specific guidelines or