Private sector tollroads data - private or public
Most public toll road operators are pretty open with their traffic and revenue data, more so than some private operators. This has been frustrating Robert Bain, RBconsult and University of Leeds researcher specializing in analysis of traffic and revenue forecasting.
Bain in his work needs to compare outcome data with forecast data. He mentions EastLink in Melbourne, the Cross City Tunnel in Sydney and the Gateway Motorway in Brisbane as concessionaires refusing to provide any traffic or revenue data in Australia. The concessions run by companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
In a letter to the Australian Financial Review he writes:
"(C)oncessionaires are very different from most private companies. They sign up to act as agents of the state, delivering for a temporary period state-specified public services. Under licenses with the state they exercise (toll collection) rights, yet the state retains ownership of the infrastructure itself.
"Their very proximity to government suggests that the same principles of openness and accountability should extend to them. The public should rightly be concerned if initiatives designed to harness private sector efficiency come at the expense of transparency and good governance.
"…over-optimistic traffic forecasts (are said to be) damaging investor confidence and, ultimately, productivity.
"Improving forecasting accuracy (of toll forecasts) is difficult, that’s certain. But one way to ensure that it doesn’t improve is for companies to hide the (outcome) numbers."
What's the situation in the US? Fred Kessler who specializes in toll concessions (P3s) at the LA law firm Nossaman tells us every concession he knows of in America the concession requires regular reporting of traffic and revenue data to the public agency that granted the concession.
None require direct reporting to the general public.
So the public availability of concessionaire data depends on state "public records law." A state like Texas with strict open records laws makes traffic and revenue reports quickly available to the public.
A model of reporting traffic numbers is the Public Border Operators Association, eleven US-Canada border toll facilities reporting monthly and breaking down their numbers in trucks and cars. The Ambassador Bridge though under no legal obligation to report - being a privately held company and owning the bridge outright - reports its numbers monthly there.