Stable dynamic pricing scheme independent of lane-choice models for high-occupancy-toll lanes

Wen Long Jin, Xuting Wang, Yingyan Lou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A stable dynamic pricing scheme is essential to guarantee the desired performance of high-occupancy-toll (HOT) lanes, where single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs) can pay a price to use the HOT lanes. But existing methods apply to either only one type of lane-choice models with unknown parameters or different types of lane-choice models but with known parameters. In this study we present a new dynamic pricing scheme that is stable and applies to different types of lane-choice models with unknown parameters. There are two operational objectives for operating HOT lanes: (i) to maintain the free-flow condition to guarantee the travel time reliability; and (ii) to maximize the HOT lanes’ throughput to minimize the system's total delay. The traffic dynamics on both HOT and general purpose (GP) lanes are described by point queue models, where the queueing times are determined by the demands and capacities. We consider three types of lane-choice models: the multinomial logit model when SOVs share the same value of time, the vehicle-based user equilibrium model when SOVs’ values of time are heterogeneous and follow a distribution, and a general lane-choice model. We demonstrate that the second objective is approximately equivalent to the social welfare optimization principle for the logit model. Observing that the dynamic price and the excess queueing time on the GP lanes are linearly correlated in all the lane-choice models, we propose a feedback control method to determine the dynamic prices based on two integral controllers. We further present a method to estimate the parameters of a lane-choice model once its type is known. Analytically we prove that the equilibrium state of the closed-loop system with constant demand patterns is ideal, since the two objectives are achieved in it, and that it is asymptotically stable. With numerical examples we verify the effectiveness of the solution method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-78
Number of pages15
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Dynamic pricing scheme
  • Equilibrium state
  • Estimation problem
  • High-occupancy-toll (HOT) lanes
  • Lane-choice models
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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