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Developing Regional Managed Lane Networks


Over the last decade a number of state departments of transportation and regional transportation agencies have developed managed lanes projects to combat highway congestion, improve mobility and generate revenue to fund additional projects. Many of these projects were developed in segments as part of a highway corridor. These facilities typically involved conversions of existing HOV lanes or new express lanes. The success of these stand-alone projects has encouraged several transportation agencies to plan for or implement expansions of the “legacy” project either by extending the original facility along the same corridor or integrating with other corridors resulting in a network of regional managed lanes projects.

The continued development of new managed lanes to operate in seamless integration with existing managed lanes facilities requires a careful analysis of the operation policies as it will directly impact the funding opportunities available to accomplish the objectives of implementing the regional managed lane expansions. Several agencies are in the process of conducting or have conducted regional and statewide managed lanes studies. These studies often assess the financial viability of building out the network as well as the optimal scope and phasing of the projects.

This proposed research effort would focus on the funding and operational policies that state departments of transportation and regional agencies should consider when deciding to implement the build out of an existing managed lanes project into a regional or even statewide managed lanes network. A key focus will be to bring together research and lessons learned from previous studies, especially considering managed lane implementation progress (or lack thereof) in different metropolitan areas or states. Topics to be considered include: How should the scope and location of the network be defined? What are the expectations for project financing and revenue generation? To what extent and why should a managed lanes facility that generates excess revenue “subsidize” the development of another managed lanes facility? To what extent should the use of transit service be a consideration? If debt was used to finance the existing facility, how will the “build out” of the network affect the creditworthiness of the outstanding debt? What are the considerations when networks cross different jurisdictional boundaries? What are the considerations and unique challenges for system development through public-private-partnerships?


The objective of this research is to provide guidance regarding the funding and operational policies that should go into the decision to expand an existing managed lanes project into a regional or statewide managed lanes network that might be operated by single or multiple operators who are governed separately.


The decision to proceed with the expansion of an existing managed lanes project can have significant impacts on the financing and operational policies of the existing project as well as the regional or statewide transportation system. This research will provide guidance to agencies considering expansions to an existing managed lanes project or modifications to existing regional managed lane plans.

Related Research:

Several agencies have produced regional or statewide managed lane studies or guidance policies. These will be key sources for this study. An important element of this research will be to bring together the lessons learned considering implementation progress after past studies or policies were completed. Some representative studies and policies are listed below:

· Meyer, Saben, Shepard, and Drake. Feasibility Assessment of Metropolitan High-Occupancy Toll Lane Network in Atlanta, Georgia. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 1959, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2006, pp. 159–167.

· Bay Area High-Occupancy/Toll (HOT) Network Study. Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Caltrans, September 2007.

· Evaluating a Network of Variably Priced Lanes for the Washington Metropolitan Region. National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, December 5, 2007.

· Atlanta Regional Managed Lanes System Plan, Georgia Department of Transportation, January 2010.

· Atlanta Regional Managed Lanes Implementation Plan, Georgia Department of Transportation, December 2015.

· MnPASS Study II. Minnesota Department of Transportation, September 2010.

· Chicago Regional Congestion Pricing Study. Illinois Tollway and Metropolitan Planning Council, November 2010.

· Express Lanes Handbook. Florida Department of Transportation, August 2015.

· Orange County Managed Lanes Network Study. Caltrans, September 2016.

· System Plan for Managed Lanes on California State Highways. Caltrans, October 2016.

· Countywide Express Lanes Strategic Plan. Metro, Los Angeles, California, January 6, 2017.

· MnPASS System Study III. Minnesota Department of Transportation, 2018.

An additional key source of related research information is the NCHRP Research Report 835, Guidelines for Implementing Managed Lanes, 2016. This report provides detailed guidance for general implementation of managed lanes, with several references to managed lane networks. The research proposed in this needs statement will expand on topics included in NCHRP 835, with more focus specifically on managed lane networks. Another source of research may be recent studies that have produced recommendations related to various managed lane operating characteristics, for example “Technological and Human Factor Considerations for Priced Managed Lane Travel Information Systems” by Wood et al., to be published in the 2018 Transportation Research Record.


Key tasks are as follows:

  1. Analysis of case studies of existing regional and statewide managed lane network plans and policies.

  2. Interview agencies and other stakeholders involved in implementing a managed lanes program consisting of several managed lane projects that have formed a network.

  3. Compile a list of common decision-making points involving the funding and operational policies of such projects.

  4. Develop guideline for those involved in the decision to expand an existing managed lanes project on a regional or statewide basis that can supplement existing information in NCHRP Research Report 835.


State DOTs and MPOs looking to develop or update plans for regional managed lane networks.

Sponsoring Committee:ABE10, Revenue and Finance
Research Period:12 - 24 months
Research Priority:High
RNS Developer:Barney Allison
Date Posted:05/31/2018
Date Modified:07/31/2018
Index Terms:Managed lanes, Financing, Regional transportation, Networks, Public private partnerships,
Cosponsoring Committees:ABE25, Congestion Pricing; AHB35, Managed Lanes
Operations and Traffic Management
Planning and Forecasting

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