Skip navigation

USDOT Resources: Overcoming the Challenges of Congestion Pricing 2011-2015
FHWA Webinar Series

Patrick DeCorla-Souza, Tolling and Pricing Program Manager, FHWA
Lee Munnich, Humphrey Institute, University of Minnesota
Kenneth Buckeye, Minnesota Department of Transportation
John Doan, SRF Consulting

Center for Innovative Finance Support
Federal Highway Administration

Nineteenth Part of a Webinar Series on Overcoming the Challenges of Congestion Pricing.

Session 19: Evaluation Procedures for Converting from HOV Lanes to Priced Managed Lanes - Transcript

Audio:

Link to Recording: https://connectdot.connectsolutions.com/p4f73gixhfy/

Recordings and Materials from Previous Webinars:
https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ipd/tolling_and_pricing/resources/webinars/congestion_pricing_2011.aspx

 

Julie Lambert
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Overcoming the Challenges of Congestion Pricing Webinar. My name is Julie Lambert and I will moderate today's webinar. Today's topic is "Evaluation Procedures for Converting from HOV Lanes to Priced Managed Lanes".
Before I go any further, I do want to let those of you who are calling into the teleconference for the audio know that you need to mute your computer speakers or else you will be hearing your audio over the computer as well.

Today we'll have four presentations, given by:

  • Matthew Click
  • Tyler Patterson
  • David Schumacher
  • Debora Rivera

Matthew Click is HNTB's National Director of Priced Managed Lanes. Matt has worked on priced managed lane and tolling projects across the country on both the public- and private-sector side.

Tyler Patterson is the Roadside Toll Operations Manager for Washington State Department of Transportation. He is a member of the TRB Congestion Pricing Committee.

Dave Schumacher serves the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) as a Principal Regional Planner. He is a former Chair of the TRB HOV, HOT, and Managed Lanes Committee and has been involved with the region's managed lanes system since the early 1990s.

Debora Rivera is the Director of Transportation Operations for the Florida Department of Transportation's Miami Office. She is a member of TRB's Managed Lanes Committee and served as the Project Director for 95 Express.

Today's webinar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speakers, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the chat area. Please make sure you send your question to "Everyone" and indicate which presenter your question is for. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box.

The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar are available for download from the file download box in the lower right corner of your screen. The presentations will also be available online within the next few weeks, along with a recording and a transcript. I will notify all attendees once these materials are posted online.

I'm now going to turn it over to Matthew Click to get started.

Matthew Click
We have three great presentations this morning. My job as the warm-up act, is to give you Price Management Lanes 101. We want to ensure that everyone on the line is up to speed and have a good understanding when we are talking about priced managed lanes. I just want to give you a quick overview before I turn this over to Tyler and the others.

I am not sure if you can see my screen. Let me click to see if I can get my graphics. We are looking at the official metrics for managed lanes. This is using different operational strategies to effectively manage a lane. And you can see, they talk about access control, vehicle eligibility and pricing. And they have all of these different types of managed lanes. Here is a similar way to think about the matrix. Essentially there are three categories. You have access, which might be reversibility or limited access. Eligibility and is as where only certain vehicles can use the lane and then finally we have pricing. When we talk about pricing, we are talking about the managed Lane types that are using pricing for the complete operational. We are talking about toll lanes, bus lanes etc.

We are not talking about a traditional HOV Lane. A similar way to think about this, and the way I talk about it to the public across the country, is to think about a price manage Lane as a toll lane. Here is a famous picture in California. You can simply say we are talking about a toll facility operating into the existing road. And the manager that congestion inside that's road is management pricing. There are a lot of policy considerations when we talk about priced managed lanes. The big thing is who can use the lane, and what subsets of the users have to pay to use it. That is very important because how do you define these two policy questions? And who has to pay access to them? And visible determine the price Lane managed that will determine the price managed Lane type. You might recall that when you make a decision as an agency around who can use and who pays, you are defining what type. You will hear express Lane, hot lanes -- these are various priced managed lanes. This is just a graphical presentation on what we were talking about. And looking at this map, it is interesting. It is true and we have a history, but the vast majority of those [Indiscernible] are open, have been open for less than five years. This is a very new concept to most states across the country. And it is important to remember that when you start thinking about your geography. I will not get into this too deeply because you will hear more from the presenters. What are the benefits? And I will let you read the benefits on the slide. And another large benefit that is often overlooked is transit reliability because they do give you a virtual guideway. And some national lessons learned. And again I will not go into this too deeply. This is important to have a political champion. And it is important to have the media engaged. Because these types of projects are new because it is a new concept. And the public can be a little leery about what you want to do. And it is a new concept. And just wrapping up as far as future trends. This is where we see pricing going. We have seen a large pricing dynamic pricing. And this will vary every six or 10 minutes to hit the goal. There used to be a lot of free usage for HOV or highbred vehicles. Now we see the category increasing to three. As a generality we are seeing a lot of that. We are seeing more people who want to talk about beyond pricing schemes that you see in Europe. There are serious conversations around mileage-based pricing and value pricing or tolls. I would say that the time is right for priced managed lanes because they have proven performance and they do work. You are going to see more of them being implemented across the country.

Tyler Patterson
My name is Tyler Patterson. We are going to talk about, one of my favorite topics which is the hot lane. We are rebranding these into a express toll lanes. We are about to open the 405 express lanes. This is a lower hanging fruit option. And just to clarify, SR 167 hot lanes are located in Washington and not Washington DC.

This is a quick overview on what I am going to talk about. I am going to talk about the system, and why hot lanes, and how the conversion went, and I will talk about the adjustment that we made recently, also current operations and the most important - what we learned. Then I will talk about the future of express toll lanes.

This is Washington's HOV system. We have over 310 miles in the Seattle area. As you can see, there are a variety of reversible lanes, hours of operation, different requirements and someone.

We spent over $2 million and we want to maintain it. As you can see, during the peak periods you can see that it is impacting our performance. When you get down to 167 you can see it is great and I what about that in a little bit. We had green performance in the HOV lanes during peak periods.

Why express toll lanes? This is for reliability. We want to improve capacity in these lanes. Now we are allowing HOV drivers to buy yen and utilize our system more effectively. Here we have the dynamic pricing messages.

Why did we choose 167? We looked at many studies have we wanted to look at proof of concept. We had to prove that this worked. Yes we had others across the country that were doing this. But Washington state needed something that showed, that yes it does work. We have a concept that will really work. And one of the important pieces is that people become advocates and also ask for it and I will talk about that a little bit. Here we have identified four different projects.

And 167 was selected because we did have peak hours -- and we had available space in the HOV Lane. And this is one of the few locations in the region where this was really true. And the other big piece, we only had to do minor improvements. We needed to throw up signage and all of that kind of stuff. But this is a good exercise rather than widening bridges. It is a very lower cost alternative.

So what we did -- on the right-hand side this is a pre-conversion configuration. Here you have just a white line separating each Lane. We had to have limited access, and we had a double white line and we had an 8 inch buffer. Then we have to skip straight for the access points. And notice that this says it ended in August of, 2014. And I will talk about how we switch back. So hang in there for a moment. I have a few facts, just to make sure that we are all on the same page. Beginning in 2008 the toll rates changed every five minutes. You can pay a single toll to travel any distance. We have electronic signs to indicate the toll rate. And we have more of northbound and southbound locations. We have to evaluate how all of this worked. We have been able to accomplish this -- and we maintain speeds approximately 45 miles an hour during peak hour. And our travel time is more reliable. We could reduce congestion. We have improved safety. The average collision rate remains stable. We were able to add additional incident response truck and they were able to be paid by the tolls.

We have demonstrated the ability to show financial improvements. And this is a real lesson learned. We open slowly but it took about three years for us to recover our operational cost. And that is something to keep in mind. And we could demonstrate that drivers are using the Lane. Last year we made one $.2 million in revenue and we were able to make some money. And we were able to put that money away for a rainy day. Notice our average transactions and it continues to increase. Notice that there is a small dip in November. This is the week before the holidays. Now we are about max and we may be plateauing a little bit. We say there is an average two dollar toll. And northbound is $2.75. And southbound is a $1.50.

Now we are looking at 4500 trips a day. And our travel time is pretty stable. Southbound has increased a little bit over the years. You can see it is about four minutes in each direction. We have seen a tremendous increase in the overall hot lane traffic. This will enable us to move more traffic. We are able to handle more vehicles.

I think this was interesting. This is our number one complaint. Too many drivers violating the double white line. And it did create a hazard. We have seen already dedicated access lanes to make it difficult to using it is not located properly. And we had Puget Sound regional Council, the number one complaint they received, is access control restriction. They were hearing this and we were hearing it and it was in our survey. People did not like the access. We remove the double white stripe, and converted it into a solid white strip.

And Speeds have maintained even in peak hours. And I will talk about this -- we have seen an increase in using HOV and hot lanes. We had an adjustment period when we had high toll revenue. It was about 50% more than the previous years. And we also adjusted the algorithm a little bit more. But drivers would see the price, and making different decisions based on the traffic around them and let time. They were able to make their decision whenever they wanted under this new configuration. This impacted their behavior. And what I want to show right here, you can see our toll trips were stable. You can see that 2013 is in blue, and 2014 in purple. Here we made our change and we can see a 13% growth.

We made more revenue, at least at first. And what was happening -- I am not sure if you can see this -- here we have two different months. And we have the precondition in 2013 and the postcondition in 2014. You can see, in September and October -- the light colored line hovers around 20,000. There has not been a big change. But the big change within the HOV . We saw a lot -- it jumped up from 60,000 to 80,000 in one month. And this is very interesting. All we know is the toll trip remains the same. But we are seeing more vehicles in the lane. And when we see more vehicles in the lane this will impact the price. The increase is smaller than when we thought previously. But I still think this is very interesting stuff. I talked about this stuff. We have to report on all of this stuff. Things like freeway efficiency and safety, and the impact on all highway users. And what did we learn?

We have proven the concept for drivers in Washington State. We have shown that we can point to a successful project in our region and we have proven that the technology works. We have proven there is a benefit for our drivers. Even though we earn public support for other projects, the people like this stuff and they supported. And this support has been a real benefit for us as we move forward. We are still in pilot status. And we are using that to our full advantage. We keep getting a two-year extension from the legislators. We are about to open another express toll Lane. We have funded the connection that connects the new 405 and the 167 Lane. But it has been a lead so nerve-racking. So we maintain this in a pilot status. But what is really fun is that we have taken advantage of this pilot program -- we say we are a pilot program and we are going to be mistakes but we are going to learn from them. We hired the University of Washington to come in and help us with a study. And we learned about our program. We are also listening to the complaints from our customers. And we are also looking at the study that we have done with the University of Washington. At one everything that we have learned, it is a program not just a project. We are not just going to build this and walk away. Every day that we are in operation -- I am not sure if you know we are shifting from builders to operators. These systems go down and they have problems and they need attention. And this shift really has had a dramatic impact on the way we are approaching problems at the DOT. And that shipped, version 2.0, we will need to take advantage of this. Let me see if I can highlight the section. This green section, is what we are going to open up in September. Here is the other part of 167. I think we will have more success -- but it is a complicated system. We have 1.1 version as a building block. Now we have public support, which is vital to moving this forward. Now we are able to capitalize on that. And I think that is about for me

David Schumacher
Welcome from San Diego. I am going to talk about the I-15 corridor. I will give you a little history on how this came about which is quite interesting. I will talk about program development and how we went about setting goals, where we are today and lessons learned.

The original HOV on the I-15 corridor was a 8 mile, two lane reversible facility. There were no access points, except for at the beginning and at the end and we did not have any access points. This is HOV traffic only. The issues in the early 90s, but I will not get into all of the details. This was not the best in hindsight in encouraging carpal. But there was a pressure to open up to HOV. We had a suburban city mayor wanted to increase funding to increase transit service. And it was a good opportunity for pricing. He came up with the idea to use a pricing facility. At the beginning it really had its orientation in the transit world and not the highway world. Once we implemented this program -- we did get concerns about double taxation. And this was not unexpected. We already pay for the road so why do I have to pay to use it? It is all about being in the right place at the right time. Back in the 90s, there was a pricing pilot program. We were able to secure a $9 million grant. So there was a lot of incentive for us to move forward. The suburban mayor champion began focusing on transit. We had to secure state approval, and this may year became a state legislator and so he became a state champion. He was our local champion when we started to get going. Then he was part of the legislative body. And the goal of the program, and I will highlight a few. We wanted to increase operating efficiency of both express lanes and main lanes.

We wanted to gauge consumer acceptance so we did a lot of surveys throughout the program to test how people were reacting to it. Was it negatively or positively or if there were any concerns. We started out with a test pricing that this is what we thought people would pay for it. Then we went to dynamic pricing that is based on when you were actually using the lane. So we started out very basic and we learned about dynamic pricing. And the key was not to generate money to build more freeways. Most of the focus was to provide funding for transit after paying for the administration pricing program -- and the ongoing monitoring. And the remaining funds were available for transit.

We were the first agency to test pricing back in 1996. I end that will guide that remembers all of this stuff. And the focus was on a pilot project in the risk was very low. We wanted to give it a try and closely evaluated. There was never a threat to make something permanent. The focus was on the pilot and I think that was stated in Tyler's presentation.

As a result of having a political champion for this project -- pilot we were good to go. And the evaluation was kept simple. We did all of the analysis -- and if you do not have a political champion, it does not matter what your analysis is because oftentimes it is a political decision. And we had support early on which was helpful. We wanted to measure the impact on traffic, for express lanes and made -- main lanes. It was about providing travel choices and not just about revenue. We wanted to have a priority for transit and HOV. Sometimes we have so many transit and HOV lanes we have to close it.

We want to measure time-saving. What is the positive effect for carpooling and main lanes. Consumer acceptance we get a lot of market research. We did a lot of analysis based on once we got the program going. We were looking at how people were reacting to what. And the tall revenue potential -- toll revenue potential for transit and highways. Access enforcement methods -- there is still a visual enforcement as well. And we have to explore how to do that. No matter if we had to pay extra for highway enforcement. You have to get the best benefit for the dollar spent. In terms of the results we had a very strong community support. One of the big concerns that we had going in was from the Department of Justice. They did not want this to be a late protest the wealthy.

And the results again, we had community support. We wanted to raise revenue for transit. So it is really creating travel places. And it really is about increasing transit. Then we have the advertisement of the value of carpooling. I think a lot of people were under utilizing the lanes -- because they did not think about carpooling and believe that it is a hassle. One of the things that we were surprised but did not expect, pricing led to an increase, not decrease in carpooling. It actually went up quite a bit. I think it was the fact that people thought -- I can drive in this lane. And if I grab the guy down the street, we can drive in the lane for free.

I mentioned the Lexus Lane issue -- we were pleasantly surprised. We had fast tracked where they could have this in their car to use. Maybe they can use this if they are late for a meeting or for a soccer meeting. They can spend the extra dollars to get there on time. There is a business -- who will offer this. And the residents, it embraced pricing because it created new transit. This is something -- it is now our mantra here in San Diego. We hear this over and over in the corridor door, I really like to carpool but I am sitting in the same congestion as someone else. So why would I not just want to sit in my car? We want to create incentive and reliability. And this is the incentive to try this where are we right now? This is what it looks like. This is a computer rendering on the facility that we are going to plan to build this is basically a freeway within a freeway that it has a beer in your two separate -- barrier to separate it. We decided to build these direct access for transit. We did look at light rail. And it was so expensive. And it was a corridor that was not conducive for light rail. But we wanted to create a light rail experience. And we waited -- and we talked about putting stations on the freeway. So we created off-line stations for the buses and car pools can use it as well and they have their own dedicated ramps and also a lot. They also have access to the local street. And we have these every 4 miles. I will say that this is probably unique. We do not have the luxury of the bought away stations. Now we were able to widen the freeway. Here we have lanes and four in the middle.

There are still a lot of good lessons learned. We also have access ramps but they are expensive. But they do benefit, when they travel in the HOV Lane. They do not have to go through the regular interchanges. So it has a lot of benefit for all of our users.

Now we have regional network managed lanes. Transit and carpooling are treated equally. These are multi-vehicle facilities. We do have managed Lane projects under development. And soon to be under construction throughout this corridor door. In terms of lessons learned, we had an elected official as a project champion which was key. And he was very persuasive. He lived and wrote in the core door -- drove in the core door. We were at the rate place at the right time. And we had congestion pricing. And we reinvested the revenue it transit and that offset any criticism. And we started off slowly with the pilot program. And once we realize that it was catching on and successful, this is when we moved into a full stage program. I want to mention, about 80% of the autos in the managed lanes are carpools or vanpools and only 20% are SOV buy in. Sometimes we do have to close the managed lanes because they are full of carpools or vanpools. And with that I will conclude. Thank you.

Deborah Rivera
Good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us. I also want to thank you for giving us a chance to talk about our project. I'm going to talk about 95 express. And I will talk about the ongoing network in our state. I would like to give you a little bit of background to the agency just to provide a perspective. We are seven districts in a turnpike. We have a significant work program. We are highly privatized and we deliver most of our programs. We are a large state in terms of population, serving almost 20,000,000 residents and tourists every year. Congestion does cost us a lot of money in terms of wasted fuel or time. I want to go through the project. I want to talk about our problems and explain why we decided to go with priced managed lanes. I will start with the problem. This is the most heavily traveled facility in the state. We have more than 100,000 vehicles in one day. We had suffocating levels of congestion. And the projection was that these numbers were going to grow. One day your commute might take 25 minutes, and the next day it might take over an hour. We had one HOV Lane. The peak speed in the HOV Lane was not any more than the main lanes. I do not need you can appreciate, the development and how it shaped us.

And we have the north connected to Fort Lauderdale. And the demand for transit was high that it became an reliable. And we wanted to find a solution to relieve congestion. One of the other conditions, we had a well-established ridesharing program. Carpooling was prevalent but enforcement was difficult. Another thing that was important was the region's history on tolls.

We had expressed many toll roads in the community. A couple of folks have already mentioned this before having strong political support. In our case, the support was for transit and the community was looking for meaningful and improved transit. We had a debilitating level of congestion that affected quality-of-life. And we knew that a lot more needed to be done. When we announce this we were very aggressive. We wanted to support transit, technology and tolling and innovation was encouraged. We were committed to rapid delivery. And we thought this was important. Optimizing the use of infrastructure and controlling costs by streamlining the cost were all important concepts. We wanted to build a VW Beetle instead of a Cadillac Deville. I ensure everyone is familiar with this project. But I will give you a quick overview that might be helpful. And the purpose was to improve, manage capacity and relieve congestion. And tolling offered us a best option. Optimizing the infrastructure and influencing that demand over time. It is important to note that making money was not a primary purpose. And the early revenue studies indicated that this was a possibility. And a quick timeline, the grant was awarded late in 2007. And once we got federal authorization and funding, we had to do the design and the build effort. And we began early in 2008 with bidirectional traffic. There was new capacity added primarily with lane and shoulder reduction. Here we have existing noise walls. And the jobs were a giant restriping job. There was of course a lot of enhancement to the existing technological infrastructure such as cameras. We looked at a job in both directions but we looked at northbound express lanes first. We have a one lane versus Tulane operation -- two lane operation. We went to two lanes because there was not enough and -- capacity. And the -- this offered a big advantage. Our corridor experience was a high level lane and shoulder blocking events. Which was important to us. But you do not want your lanes empty. The only thing I would say, do not forget about the need for your emergency responders. Transit improvement was obviously critical to the success. But it was expensive. We wanted to eliminate County line transfers. We added new single routes. We did a priority project around the corridor. We added a number -- I think it was 19 -- high-end, high bread buses. And toll collection was electronic. The technology component made this possible. We were looking at ways to try improve the operation of the HOV laying for the benefit of transit. We can buy the increase occupancy through the registration process. Remember I talked about how we had a good commuter assistance program in place. But we also implemented complementary strategies. This was treated by the public that benefited the public. At the very beginning, we had a very broad view of success. It was not just about meeting our performance goals but we wanted to make sure that this project facilitated in helping other projects throughout the state. We would generate another good wheel to replicate this project in other areas. The project actually exceeded expectations. The general purpose lanes were operating between 15 miles an hour to 20 hours per mile before we implemented the project. Now you can see the speed and the general purpose for the local lanes. And the express lane speed is shown in orange. In the first years, the speed was between 55 miles per hour.

Speeds in the local lanes did decline a little bit. But we are well above the pre-implementation numbers. In addition to the dramatic improvement, how heavy the HOV lane is used. Many do believe that it is safer. And this is because you see a lot less lane changing and the speed within the lane is lower. Then the question is -- are we making money? You can see we have one way $1.7 million each month.

We are also funding a reconstruction fund for they express lane. And we also have a lot of IT infrastructure that has to be maintained -- this includes the meter devices. And we also are paying for the transaction cost. And all of that said there is excess revenue. Which has been used to expand express lanes in each region. Money is a nice plus for the project. But it was very successful and we are ready double the number of passengers. On average weekday we has 6000. But let's be honest. It was not always this rosy. The point I want to make is, there is going to be a setback. So you need to plan for these setbacks ahead of time. Prepared your partners, prepared your secretary and prepared your elected official. We resisted the temptation of pointing fingers. There is plenty of time afterwards to figure out what could have worked better. Part of our success was the amount of effort we put into thinking about what could go wrong and plan for it. We looked at access location, and lanes and signage.

We have to provide proof of concept. And we had to explain this is a good strategy to use against congestion. By the middle of 2010 we had a priced managed lanes program. We wanted to look at a network of express lanes in the southern area. And once this first stage was completed -- phase 2 was extended north. And the turnpike was also -- they were talking about adding an express lane. All of this was happening at the same time so obviously we needed to come up with a plan. This involves the three counties, Expressway authorities, regional planning Council and obviously all of the federal agency and -- federal agencies plus law enforcement. I think one of the important outcomes, is to establish framework for future decisions.

We have so many projects underway, I think this is a testament to the proof of concept. Creating choices and tolling were very prominently featured. So we made the case, for expanding the concept. And we are actively pursuing these projects around the state. What we learned. Understanding the community, project history and context is very important. Just because this will work in Miami does not mean it will work elsewhere. I did not cover outreach a lot but it is important. You have to have this before and during construction. And the level of outreach was unprecedented -- you need to plan for, and you need to fund it and do what. Best and do it.

And apply throughout this presentation, is the strong operational orientation of the job. We definitely need good people to design this concept. But it needs to be driven by operational consideration. Add to your operational analysis early. And because of our aggressive schedule, in securing [Indiscernible] we were actually doing our design. We were surprised by the willingness to pay so this might sound like a good thing if you are interested in making money. But this can make it much harder to maintain, especially if there is a cap on the toll. This project was not a job but part of the program. And so we defined success broadly. Our focus was intense. And the question about HOV -- was a tough one and we thought it was going to be scary. But it did need to be on the table. And for us it had to be on the table because we needed to be able to carve out additional capacity. And if you want to increase occupancy rate it makes sense. I think for me, there was less pushback. In terms about being ready -- remember that stuff is going to happen. And the worst thing is not that something goes wrong but rather handling it poorly. We did have a problem on opening day. It was mostly related to our inexperience with the installation. This affected our ability to send a message. So people might need more information on how to behave and what to expect. And do not be tempted to under or overestimate the funding for a project. Be realistic. I think we have to deal with these regularly. One myth is that express lanes make money. But for me the objective is to improve mobility and choice. And any money that you get will just help offset what you need. Express lanes will work everywhere. But they will not work everywhere. And the other misconception, you need to spend a lot of time focusing on this -- there is the misconception that express lanes benefit only those who can afford to pay the tolls and that is not true.

And finally, know your community, be clear on your purpose. You cannot over communicate. You cannot do too much outreach. I think another thing, focus on operations. These jobs are operational. And so make you do your system engineering work in advance. And finally the ready for the unexpected and have a plan. If you have any questions or you want to learn more about our job, please visit us on our website. We also have a lot of information on what we do month to month I am happy to answer any questions.

Julie Lambert
I'd now like to start off the Q&A session with the questions posted online. I see there are quite a few, If we're unable to get through all of the questions, we will get written responses from the presenters and they will be included in the finished transcript.

Julie Lambert
My first Question is for Matt - "On one of your slides, it said that one benefit of priced managed lanes was "lower capital costs." How is this so?"
Matthew Click
Priced managed lanes allow a corridor to operate more efficiently after implementation and improve overall person throughput. These associated operational improvements have the potential to delay or completely remove the need for capacity improvements associated with traditional roadway widening, thereby having the benefit of "lower capital costs".

David Schumacher
In San Diego are cost is relatively high because we wrapped in transit with it. But I would say it is cheaper versus if we created a separate HOV or have a light rail -- we saved money.

Julie Lambert
Thank you. My next question is for Tyler "has the conversion to continuous access been successful so far? Is there any preliminary data that is available to share?"
Tyler Patterson
The conversation about continuous access has been successful. The HOT lane is carrying more vehicles than ever, and we continue to achieve our performance targets. Preliminary results show a minor increase in travel times, an increase in prices and total revenue, no significant safety impacts, and that a large faction of travelers are in favor of the access changes - this includes transit. The study will be completed shortly and posted online.

Julie Lambert
Question for Debora: Why does I-95 use car pool preregistration when other priced lanes projects don't appear to do this?
Debora Rivera
We went to a registration system because we went to three 3+. We wanted to make sure we were preserving goodwill. The other thing that registration did, it eliminated vanpools. You were no longer eligible to ride free if you were a driver taking your children to daycare. The idea was that the children could not drive themselves of that really was not a carpool and reducing vehicles off the system. We used our commuter system and there were folks that were driving to and from work, and to and from school. And to us it made sense for a lot of different reasons.

Julie Lambert
This is a question for all presenters: Does the characteristic of occasional use make it difficult to model the facility (either pre or post implementation) given that often people use it only when their value of time is abnormally high?
Matthew Click
Yes and no. Modeling the operational impacts of the facility can be done fairly well. Modeling the gross toll revenue potential of a facility is made difficult because of the occasional use characteristic of the facility, wide variability in values of time and value proposition of the priced managed lane facility at any given time based on the condition of the adjacent general purpose lanes.

Julie Lambert
Question for Tyler: Has the change to continuous access on 167 affected crashes?
Tyler Patterson
We have not seen any noteworthy changes in crashes
Julie Lambert
Another for you Tyler, how would they stop lane jumpers who go in and out of the HOT lane to avoid the toll zone?
Tyler Patterson
We do not have this problem. During the peak-hours, the adjacent GP lane acts like a virtual wall, preventing vehicles from jumping in and out of the lanes.

Julie Lambert
Question for All : To convert the HOV to HOT lanes, is ripping up the road to put in cabling necessary or is it not?
Tyler Patterson
If "ripping up the road" is the same thing as cutting-in loops, then yes. There are other solutions, but I have not seen them be successful in a long-term tolling solution.

Julie Lambert
Another for you Tyler: in regards to the change from limited access to continuous access, how did it affect PERSON throughput?
Tyler Patterson
This is very difficult to measure, but we do know that volumes in the HOT lane have increased. In general, the decrease in the number of paying customers after the access change means that either more carpoolers are using the lanes or that there are more violators.

Julie Lambert
Another for you Tyler: Do HOVs need to preregister, as in Miami?
Tyler Patterson
No. There is no carpool registration in Washington State.

Julie Lambert
Question for Tyler: How do you track HOVs vs. SOVs?
Tyler Patterson
We use the transponders to track the HOVs and SOVs, recognizing that some of the HOVs are really violators. WSP estimates the compliance rate to be greater than 95%.

Julie Lambert
Question for All presenters: For those facilities that use revenues to support transit service, what does the fare structure look like (e.g. premium over local service)? What is the farebox recovery ratio on these routes? Dave, could you start, please?
Debra Rivera
In Miami Dade County - the recovery ratio is approximately 15%. The fare for the express service is $2.65 vs. the regular service of $2.25
In Broward County - the recovery ratio is 21.7% for the express service while the recovery for the breeze service (routes added to support express) is 34.6%. The fair for express service is $2.65 vs. $1.75 for local (increasing to $2.00 on 10/1/2015).

Julie Lambert
Question for Tyler: How do you price the traffic for continuous access?
Tyler Patterson
We use the same algorithm that we used before. The algorithm is based off of changes in the volumes and speeds in the HOT lanes.

Julie Lambert
Question for Matt - How do you address reliability for paying customers when managed lanes congestion increases, and lanes revert to "HOV Only?" This keeps paying customers out.

Matthew Click
Priced managed lanes could revert to HOV only when they are the HOT lanes variety of PMLs and become degraded in peak hours. Realistically, few PML projects nationally do this. In those instances where this does occur you cannot provide guaranteed reliability to toll paying SOVs. This is an example of how allowing for "free vehicle" eligibility to access PMLs has the potential to degrade PML operations in peak hours and an example of why most entities are restricting "free" access to PMLs as much as possible.

Deborah Rivera
We do not revert to HOV only. Even without that, that is a good question. Obviously you need to look at reducing your free trips. But I really do think looking at increasing your occupancy requirements is something you need to look at. We are phasing out the hybrid exception. We will see you were free rides and that is a good thing.

Julie Lambert
This is a question for Tyler: What was the key to getting public support for the pilot project? Before you answer Tyler, I did want to point out that Angela Jacobs noted "What it takes to obtain public support varies from project to project. Making it clear to the public what's in it for them is often a key method for garnering support."
Tyler Patterson
This is a challenging question, but there are a few key factors that spring to mind. (1) Select the right corridor. Do your homework and select one with the lowest hanging fruit. (2) Leverage the pilot status. We used the pilot status as political cover. "We are trying something innovative; if it doesn't work we will remove back to the old way." (3) Keep communication lines open. The concept is confusing, but the idea is to keep reaching out to drivers even after the system goes live.

Julie Lambert
I see that we've run out of time. As previously noted we will get answers to all the unaddressed questions from the presenters and post them with the final transcript. Thank you all for attending today's seminar. The recorded version of this event will be available within the next few weeks on the provided website.

back to top
back to top