GEOG 855
Spatial Data Analytics for Transportation

8.2 Getting to Know a Transportation Organization


This week, you’ll take some time getting to know Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center. Volpe, which is part of the USDOT, is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was founded in 1970. It provides a variety of engineering and scientific services to the public and private clients it services and is fully funded by the project work it performs. Its mission is to promote innovative ideas in order to improve the US transportation system. An overview of Volpe’s activities is provided here.

Congestion Pricing

Congestion pricing represents a variety of approaches which are aimed at shifting traffic away from a congested section of roadway by implementing pricing surcharges during peak periods to shift some traffic to off times, alternate roadways or alternative modes. In 2007 – 2008, the USDOT invested over a billion dollars to implement congestion-reducing strategies in six US cities. For two of the cities, Volpe was asked to conduct surveys to better understand how congestion pricing affects travel choices. A summary of Volpe’s findings is here.

To promote the use of congestion pricing, the FHWA published a primer series on the topic, the first of which provided a high-level overview of the concept.