Assessing the Health Impacts of Road Pricing Policy Proposals

Authors: San Francisco Department of Public Health

Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Completion Date:

HIA Report: Health Effects of Road Pricing In San Francisco, California

Summary of the HIA

Proposed Policy or Project

The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), in consultation with local & regional stakeholders, will develop the scope of health issues related to road pricing in San Francisco by conducting an HIA. This quantitative HIA will look at the potential (positive/negative) impacts of road pricing policies. Additionally, it will assess whether these policies can help make health benefits and costs more transparent to stakeholders and decision-makers, allowing them to be included in policy analysis and identify mitigation measures for any adverse impacts. 

Background and Policy Context

In 2005, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) began to study congestion pricing in San Francisco with funds from a grant awarded by the US Department of Transportation Value Pricing Program. The study was requested by the Authority's Board and was undertaken through this $1 million grant. The Mobility, Access and Pricing Study (MAPS) aims to assess the feasibility of implementing a congestion pricing program in San Francisco and explore if it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support sustainable growth and manange congestion through this pricing policy. Congestion pricing entails charging drivers a user fee in specific congested areas or corridors, and using the generated revenue to invest in transportation infrastructure to improve transit service, roads, and support bike/pedestrian projects. The study concludes that road pricing could be an effective way to manage San Francisco's transprotation system and support future growth. 

MAPS examined several scenarios and identified three high-performing ones. The HIA is conducting health impact analysis on the highest performer, the Northeast Cordon scenario, which would charge a $3 fee during AM & PM rush hours to travel in and out of the northeast quadrant. The charge will be accompanied by substantial up-front transit & multi-modal improvements. 

Scope and Methods

This HIA is currently underway, but based on the logic framework provided, the assessment will study impacts on future:

  • pedestrian and bicyclist conditions
  • active transportation
  • vehicle collisions
  • air pollutant exposures and premature mortality 
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • traffic-related noise, annoyance and hypertension

Some methods to be incorporated in this assessment include:

  • analysis of baseline community health conditions
  • forecast potential health impacts using ArcGIS mapping and other statistical amd mapping software
  • existing conditions data and forecasting model inputs will be obtained from SFCTA's activity-based travel deman model (SF-CHAMP), the US Census and other government agencies
  • pedestrian and bicyclist counts, classifying pedestrians and bicyclists by age (child, teen, adult, senior)
  • use of logic framework 

Summary of Findings

The HIA is currently underway so findings will be updated when report is available for public review in Spring 2011. 

Decisions/Actions following the release of the HIA


Products Produced


Background Reports


Megan Wier, MPH


City & County of San Francisco, Dept of Public Health
1390 Market Street, Suite 910
San Francisco