Traffic congestion is a major challenge in metropolitan areas due to economic and negative health impacts. Several strategies have been tested all around the globe to relieve traffic congestion and minimize transportation externalities. Congestion pricing is among the most cited strategies with the potential to manage the travel demand. This study aims to investigate potential travel behavior changes in response to cordon pricing in Manhattan, New York. Several pricing schemes with variable cordon charging fees are designed and examined using an activity-based microsimulation travel demand model. The findings demonstrate a decreasing trend in the total number of trips interacting with the central business district (CBD) as the price goes up, except for intrazonal trips. We also analyze a set of other performance measures, such as Vehicle-Hours of Delay, Vehicle-Miles Traveled, and vehicle emissions. While the results show considerable growth in transit ridership (6%), single-occupant vehicles and taxis trips destined to the CBD reduced by 30% and 40%, respectively, under the $20 pricing scheme. The aggregated value of delay for all vehicles was also reduced by 32%. Our findings suggest that cordon pricing can positively ameliorate transportation network performance and consequently, improve air quality by reducing particular matter inventory by up to 17.5%. The results might facilitate public acceptance of cordon pricing strategies for the case study of NYC. More broadly, this study provides a robust framework for decision-makers across the US for further analysis on the subject.
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