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Understanding Managed Lane Facility Attractiveness and Consumer Choice


Managed lanes are used by members of low, middle, and high-income groups. Stated preference surveys and observational studies have also indicated that although low income households do not use the lanes as frequently as high-income users, low income households highly value their ability to choose to access these lanes when they need to make a faster or more reliable trip (running late for work, running late for daycare pickup, going to a sporting event, etc.). Given the widespread use across income groups, it is a misnomer to call managed lanes ‘Lexus Lanes’. However, it is important to recognize that different kinds of trips (e.g. mandatory vs. discretionary trips) are being conducted in managed lanes. Managed lanes offer other benefits, in addition to travel time savings, such as travel time reliability, comfort, convenience, perceived safety, etc., and these benefits may be of varying degrees of importance by trip purpose and user group. To properly predict managed lane use, there is a need to quantify the value of time savings, reliability, comfort, convenience, safety, and other beneficial features of managed lanes across demographic groups. There is a need to understand some of the extreme responses noted for roadway users. For example, some users are paying very high amounts (e.g., more than $200/hour of time savings), some are using the managed lanes in an uncongested traffic (e.g. mid-night) , and others never use the lanes despite routinely facing severe congestion. It is unclear whether income affordability is the only factor that drives or deters managed lane use; there may be other inherent attitudinal aspects in play.


The goal of the research is to better understand the utility ascribed by different demographic groups to managed lane performance characteristics and the influence of this utility on consumer choices to use managed lanes. The researchers will propose the means for integrating utility and behavioral response into regional and mesoscopic planning tools (ABM+DTA, etc.) used to assess the demand responsive features of managed lanes, as well as tolling and revenue studies.


The proposed research will:

  • Perform a literature review and evaluate how different demographic groups (and other strata) may currently be employing the following elements in decision making.

  • Develop and conduct an expanded stated preference survey of users across multiple facilities that is designed to capture factors likely to influence managed lane-use decisions across demographic groups and other user profiles.

  • Analyze stated preference survey results, coupled with revealed preference data from the same facilities, and assess differences across facilities and demographic groups and other user profiles.
  • Develop guidance for integrating managed lanes features and the results from the research into regional travel demand models and simulation models used to assess the demand responsive features of managed lanes, as well as in tolling and revenue studies.
Sponsoring Committee:ACP35, Managed Lanes
RNS Developer:Nick Wood
Source Info:This research need was originally developed as part of a working group of members and friends of the TRB Managed Lanes Committee (AHB35). The working group consisted of these individuals: Randall Guensler, Robert Bain, Ross Chittenden, Elizach Dembinski, Casey Emoto, Chuck Fuhs, Darren Henderson, Md Sakoat Hossan, Thomas Jacobs, Dave Kristick, Jonathan Peters, Srikanth Panguluri, Myron Swisher, Patrick Vu, and Nick Wood.
Date Posted:09/20/2018
Date Modified:05/01/2019
Index Terms:Managed lanes, Drivers, Behavior, Travel costs, Consumer behavior,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Data and Information Technology
Operations and Traffic Management
Planning and Forecasting

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