As toll roads and other forms of road pricing become of more interest to road controlling authorities in New Zealand, the importance of providing robust forecasts of motorists’ responses to tolls increases. While procedures for forecasting patronage on toll roads are in common use internationally, the applicability of international practice to the New Zealand context is uncertain.
The Tauranga Harbour Bridge, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, was opened in 1988 and included a $1 toll for its use. Over the next thirteen years, the daily traffic flow on the bridge increased from 10,000 vehicles per day (vpd) to 27,500 vpd because of the continued strong residential development across the harbour from the city centre.
The removal of the toll in 2001 created an opportunity to investigate the effect of tolls on traffic behaviour in New Zealand. This study, carried out in 2004, provides information which could improve or benchmark the forecasting of flows on proposed new facilities. The parameters and elasticities obtained could assist in the development and validation of models developed to forecast the effect of new toll projects.