Congestion Management

With rising demand for transportation infrastructure, but limited space to build more, cities face the need to find alternative solutions to manage congestion.

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What if we can ...

  • Improve human health, safety, the environment and the economy by reducing congestion?
  • Develop congestion management solutions in cities by employing best practices from around the globe?
  • Manage congestion through pricing without building new roadway infrastructure?
  • Use technology and data collection to track and understand congestion issues?
  • Reduce congestion by developing transit-orientated communities and improving transit services?

A Simple Law of Physics

A simple law of (traffic) physics is that when traffic demand approaches the roadway capacity, the quality of service rapidly diminishes, and then when demand exceeds capacity, traffic flow breaks down completely.

The array of processes, tools and practices used to mitigate the resulting congestion is often referred to as congestion management – namely managing the situation in a manner as to avoid or minimize the negative impacts of congestion.A number of commonly used measures are described below.

They fall into three categories:

  • optimizing roadway uses
  • spreading traffic in time and space
  • adapting road infrastructure.1

WSP’s expertise combines local experience and understanding of markets and stakeholders with the global experience of bringing a variety of concepts all the way through the congestion management process—from policy planning to design and implementation to technology and enforcement.

World Road Association


The Reality

We cannot build our way out. Cities, urban areas and inter-urban links around the world are challenged by growing traffic congestion and a limited supply of roadway space, leading to a need to understand how to better manage demand for transportation.

One size does not fit all. Having shared concerns, needs and constraints does not necessarily mean congestion management solutions will look the same from city to city. Each city and situation is unique.

Where do we start. Community, government and existing infrastructure are among the many key factors that determine which approach will best meet the needs of residents, businesses and other key stakeholders.

Our Approach

We know there is no single, one-size-fits-all solution. Each congestion management project requires a unique solution.

WSP’s approach leverages existing experience with global congestion management models, combined with a local understanding of regional operational and policy considerations.

The scope of our mandate can involve either direct or indirect consideration of equity;  technology, education and [x]; achieving multiple stakeholder objectives such as improved safety, congestion and emissions reduction; positive revenue generation; and acceptance by the public, private business interests and multiple government agencies.

The large-scale introduction of self-driving vehicles will have major impacts on our urban centres.

Leading Commitments

Emission Reductions

WSP is uniquely positioned to provide the required expertise and services to tackle areas across congestion management. We offer our clients strategic, technical and operational guidance, leveraging our diverse global experience to find solutions tailored to their local context. 


Integrated Transport Planning


  • Policy design and evaluation
  • Travel demand modelling and forecasting
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Economic impact assessment
  • Environmental review and permitting
  • Statistical analysis and reporting
  • Measurement and data collection design
  • Finance, revenue planning and forecasting
  • Enforcement of congestion pricing

Our team of experts were involved in developing charging schemes, pricing levels and demand modelling, applying their experience to projects done in Stockholm, London, Singapore and Beijing. We have experience in designing various congestion pricing and tolling configurations, including:

  • Variable lane pricing (express toll lanes, HOT lanes)
  • Variable tolls on entire roadways
  • Cordon charges (either variable or fixed charges to drive within or into a congested area)
  • Area-wide charges (per-mile fees that may vary by level of congestion)

Our international experience has proven a value-add in feasibility studies such as the Birmingham Mobility Action Plan (UK), Translink (CA), Maryland Traffic Relief Plan (US), and NSW Future Mobility Prospectus (AU).


  • Travel demand modelling
  • Traffic relief planning
  • Data analysis
  • Monitoring and measuring
  • Impact assessments
  • Quality of life analysis
  • New mobility strategies and scenario planning
  • Project piloting
  • Public interest and stakeholder facilitation
  • Public planning and policy initiatives


  • Ramp metering
  • Signal phase timing
  • All electronic tolling
  • Automatic/connected vehicles
  • Traveller information services
  • Roadway/traffic management
  • Coordinated system management
  • System-wide conversion

The Colorado SMART 25 Managed Motorways project builds/built upon the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications already present in the I-25 corridor, including ramp metering and traveler information systems, to improve the average speed and vehicular throughput.


  • Program/project delivery
  • Preliminary design
  • Capacity building, needs assessment, risk allocation
  • Multimodal roadway/lane use/intersection design (BRT, auxiliary lanes, arterial managed lanes)
  • Innovative lane use/intersection design
  • Automated/connected vehicles, and related infrastructure

WSP delivered increased railway and highway capacity to Gothenburg, Sweden residents, for better safety and mobility and greater economic activity.

In the US, the LBJ TEXpress Lanes project in Dallas, Texas involved fully managed lanes constructed sub-grade in a depressed corridor under general purpose lanes. Combining I-635 with I-35E enhanced mobility, provided safe connections and reduced revenue risk.

Future Ready

We know that our future world will be very different from today’s in many ways. Future Ready is our program to see the future more clearly, and to work with clients to design for this future as well as for today’s needs.

Through Future Ready, WSP brings clarity and vision to complex challenges. We see the future more clearly through key trends in climate change, society, technology and resources, and challenge staff to work with our clients to advise on solutions that are both ready for today and for this future. Future Ready delivers peace of mind, lower lifecycle costs and resilience.

We know from our research across the world that current design codes don’t necessarily account for the future we’re anticipating. With the Future Ready program, our experts are able to help our clients prepare for future realities of self-driving cars, ubiquitous renewables, ultra-flexible places, more severe weather events and increasing loneliness, amongst many factors.

We know there’s a huge job ahead of us to make existing infrastructure ready for the future. Including future trends in our advice to clients helps them plan for the long-term and makes good business sense. There are many ways we can make our projects Future Ready at no additional cost; in fact the whole idea is that it leads to lower overall costs because our thinking and designs have a future bias.

By designing for the long – as well as the short term – and by sharing our approach and insights, we progressively help cities, communities and clients get ready for the future. Ready for rapid urbanization, ready for heavier rainfall and hotter temperatures, and ready for a more connected world.