November 1, 2017
Sarah Lunardo: On behalf of the Federal Highway Administration Center for Innovative Finance Support I would like to welcome everyone to today's webinar on managed lanes system studies best practices. My name is Sarah Lunardo. I'm with the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts and today I will be providing technical assistance and moderating the Q&A portion. Before we begin I would like to point out a key feature of the webinar room. On the top left side of your screen you will find the audio call in information. Below the audio information is the list of attendees. Below the list of attendees is a box titled file share where you may access a copy of today's presentation. Simply select the file, click, download files and follow the prompts on your screen. In the lower left corner is a chat box where you can submit questions to the presenters throughout the webinar. We will take questions from the chat pod and on the phone after each presentation. If you are experiencing any technical difficulties please use the chat box and send a private message chat to Jordan Wainer. Please note all lines are open so please use the physical mute button on your phone when you're not speaking. Our webinar is scheduled to run until 2:00 P.M. today eastern today. And we are recording today's webinar so that anyone unable to join us may review the material later at home. And with that, I would like to turn it over to Shaun Cutting of the FHWA Colorado division for opening remarks. Shaun.
Shaun Cutting: Thanks, Sarah. Yeah, I really appreciate, obviously, everybody coming together and helping us plan this and organize it. I just want to quickly turn it over to David Spector director of our HPTE here in Colorado so that he can provide some remarks before we get into the actual presentations.
David Spector: Thanks, Shaun. Thank you everybody for calling in and for the webinar. And thanks to our presenters today for education us. The High-Performance Transportation Enterprise is a division of CDOT and we are tasked with being the tolling enterprise for the state of Colorado. We have recently seen an exponential jump in growth in our managed lanes. We call them express lanes here. We went from about 7 totaling miles to about 70 in the course of 2 years. And as we continue to add segments on to the system we're very interested in thinking about this more as a system and less of a corridor by corridor arrangement. So we're really appreciative for everybody on the phone today so that we can gather some of our best practices before we go out with our RFP for an express lane's master plan study. So really appreciate it. I want to say thanks. And I don't want to take away the time from the presenters. That's really who we're here to listen to. So Shaun, anything else before we jump in?
Shaun Cutting: No, to that point, I guess when we get to the questions-and-answers this will play more to the federal highway folks. Just, again, with the Help CDOT Learn and here lessons learned and stuff. So let's give the opportunity to CDOT to ask those questions in the beginning. And then as it quiets down if we have time, then we can use this opportunity with all of these people here to get our own issues asked and stuff. So I just wanted to make that point. But with that, yeah, if we can get it going like you said, Brad, if you want to kick us off into our first presentation that would be great.
Brad Larson: Sure. Let's see if we can get the presentation open here. I don't know if we should-- perfect.
Brad Larson: So today-- from Minnesota's perspective we're going to go through a little background on our MnPASS planning process. And then we will dive into a little more detail on our most recent MnPASS system study that's nearing completion right now our third system study that we've conducted. And then we'll finish up with a little information, more information about public outreach and lessons learned. MnPASS is the name of Minnesota's system of price managed lanes or HOT lanes to be more specific. We've had MnPASS express lanes in operation on 394 since 2005 and on 35W since 2009. Both 394 and 35W were HOV to HOT conversions. They were our only two HOV lanes there in the region, in the Twin Cities region. Our most recent MnPASS lanes were open in 2015, on 35E north of St. Paul. And those were our first pure HOT lanes that weren't previously an HOV lane. So MnPASS is a strategy for managing and reducing congestion in the region, provides a congestion free opportunity for buses, carpools and then solo motorists willing to pay a fee. The typical MnPASS lane design that we have in Minnesota is a single lane with a two-foot stripe buffer double solid, double dash lines. It's mostly open access throughout the system so mostly double dash lines. Currently, it's a peak period operation system. So during the morning rush hour period and afternoon rush our period in the lanes. Otherwise, the lines are regular general purpose lanes open to all traffic at other times of the day. So during those peak periods as I mentioned, buses, carpoolers, so the HOV 2+ is what we have here, motorcycles and then solo motorists who pay a fee can use the lanes. Our rates range from 25 cents up to $8. It's all electronic dynamic pricing based on traffic volumes and speeds in the MnPASS lanes. Our pricing algorithm is designed to maximize use of the lanes and keep the lanes flowing at a congestion free speed 50 to 55 mile an hour speed. And then we have dedicated Minnesota state patrol enforcement on the lanes to handle enforcement. The core goals of the MnPASS lanes, as I mentioned, are to cost effectively reduce the managed congestion in a manner that's sustainable over the long term. These lanes are designed to increase person throughput through these congested corridors during peak periods. And to improve travel time reliability in these corridors. A couple of the other key goals of the system are to improve bus transit service, increase transit ridership and also increase carpooling in the region. For a little bit of background on where MnPASS fits in our overall regional strategy for improving mobility and reducing congestion this slide provides an overview of that mobility strategy framework we use here in the Twin Cities area. So if we have a congestion problem out there on the system somewhere, we first look to use active traffic management approaches to try to address the problem. We have a robust system of ramp meters and variable message signs, and a first response system, a 511 Internet traffic system that is very robust. And so we try to best use ITS and ATM solutions to best manage those problems. And, generally, the lowest cost highest benefit approach to addressing congestion and mobility issues on the system. If we've exhausted all of the active traffic management solutions, we next look to spot mobility improvements. These are smaller construction improvements, mobility improvements, lower cost, higher benefit type improvements such as auxiliary lane improvements, extending ramps, other interchange improvements, turn lane improvements, those types of things. If a congestion problem needs a bigger, broader type capacity fix out there, we next look to the feasibility of installing MnPASS lanes to address that problem in that problem area. So we generally go and do feasibility analysis which I'll get into here in a little more detail to determine whether or not there is a viable MnPASS type solution that can be implemented in that corridor to address that broader capacity issue that exists. And if MnPASS is determined not to be feasible then we'll go to a more traditional GP lane expansion or other type of traditional expansion type of improvement to address the problem. So when it comes to just focusing on that MnPASS strategy the overall MnPASS planning and project development process that we currently use starts with the MnPASS system planning studies which we'll talk more about the third planning studies, the system planning studies that we're nearing completion on right now. Those planning studies really help set the vision for the overall MnPASS system and the priority of corridors for implementing MnPASS in the Twin Cities region. From there, we will generally go to a more detailed corridor planning study that will include the development of often several different MnPASS concept improvement options. And then do that feasibility or viability analysis on those options to really determine whether or not MnPASS will work in that corridor. If it's determined that we do have a good viable MnPASS solution for a corridor and we can identify funding to actually move forward with that improvement than we will move into the environmental and preliminary design phase in that corridor and then on to construction and operation. So we will focus most on the current phase three MnPASS system study. But I wanted to first just provide a little background on the two previous MnPASS system studies. The first one was completed in 2005 in about the same time as we were opening the first MnPASS lanes on I-394 west of Minneapolis. This study looked at a MnPASS system throughout the region. Did find significant benefits from implementing a system of MnPASS lanes throughout the region. But also determined that it would be very costly to do so at least after the conversion of our only two HOV lanes to HOT lanes. It would be very costly using traditional construction approaches to implement. So in 2010 we completed our second MnPASS study. The second study really looked at a potential MnPASS system that could be built less expensively using existing right away out on corridors, using practical design and construction approaches. And it was also done in conjunction with a study by our region's MPO, the metropolitan council. They were conducting what was called the metropolitan highway system investment study. This is really a watershed study for the region that really did the analysis to demonstrate given the current and projected funding levels that there really wasn't going to be a way to build our way out of congestion in the region. And so that study really adopted that hierarchy of regional mobility strategies that I just mentioned as an approach to trying to get the most out of the limited dollars we'd have in terms of mobility improvements and impact on congestion in the region. And the results from both that metropolitan highway system investment study plus the MnPASS phase two system study were adopted into the MPOs and MnDOT's long range plans shortly after 2010. So I will just briefly cover the goals of this third MnPASS system study that's nearing completion. And then I'll turn it over to Todd to talk more about the details of the process and analysis and results from that analysis. So the key goals of this most recent MnPASS study were to update that MnPASS system vision and corridor prioritization for the update, this official update that's underway for the MPOs regional transportation policy plan that will be complete by summer of next year. A secondary goal of this phase three MnPASS system study was also to take a look at some key MnPASS issues, opportunities and risks from both the regional and kind of a national best practices perspective in areas such as operations evolving technologies, transit, equity, finance, freight, those types of areas. So with that I will turn it over to Todd and he can dive into the details of it.
Todd: So we got a little busy slide here but this really was our process to conduct the MnPASS system study phase three. Just to go through it in some level of detail first was to make sure we all had a firm understanding of what was done in the past, and not just the technical group but our stakeholders and to acknowledge those efforts and what results they produced. And it wasn't just the previous MnPASS system studies. Brad did mention MHSIF as well as our congestion management safety plan and how that fits in. So we can't just look at this in isolation. And, obviously, we don't want to just start over from scratch. I think there was a lot of good work done previously, corridors being recommended and moving forward at some level of funding. But then there were some that were still hanging out there, and which one should we require any sort of reevaluation if necessary. The next task was our traffic forecasting. We did use our regional travel demand model for the Twin Cities metro area. It's actually a newer model. It's an activity based model. But that was our main tool. And I want to talk a little bit more about the aspects of that tool just a little bit later. But we used that to go over model assumptions. And not just typical assumptions about program projects and things of that nature. But there are also policy decisions such as what the price-- are we going to keep the price as it is? Open access versus partially closed access? Time of operation. And those aren't decisions-- I think maybe assumptions might be a better word. It's not necessarily committing the department or anybody to those things. But we have to start somewhere and just to have those reasonable assumptions so we all understand what our outputs are and as they're coming out. So we had our no build scenario, what we compared, considered our base and then systems scenarios. And that I'll get into in task four. So task four was really in three main elements. One was to understand what our measures of effectiveness were going to be, how are we going to evaluate the system? We had an initial screening process. We had recommended corridors, what we referred to as a tier three from previous study. We had new corridors that wanted to be considered. And we wanted to take a high-level blush at that before we got into any detailed modeling. And so I believe I'll get into that just a little bit later to talk about how we screened at that level. But then once we went through that initial screening, then we had our remaining corridors and we started to come up with various system scenarios is what we called them. And what we looked at based-- how we developed those system scenarios was based on how well the corridors performed in the initially screening. But we also looked at parallel routes. And is there some redundancy? A lot of maybe different things about coverage throughout the metro versus concentration in certain areas. And so really it was to try to test what we thought were the better corridors. And so we developed the scenario one. We tested it using the model. We got our results back based on our criteria. And then we revised that scenario and developed a scenario two pulling out some of the lower performing corridors, adding some newer ones, maybe testing if they were two parallel corridors, testing one in one scenario, testing another in another scenario. And it was an iterative process until we finally got to system scenario three which was really our target, what we were hoping to say that was our final version. As you can imagine with unlimited resources and time you could keep coming up with other system scenarios and testing things. But that's not the reality that I don't believe any of us live in. And so you have to use your resources as best as you can. And then finally, it was just documentation. Again, one of our goals was to provide a transportation plan update recommendation and that's what we did and that is moving forward and being incorporated. So we feel really good about that. Through all of this Brad mentioned the system issues and opportunities. While I don't think we had anything that really rose that drove any decision making, per se I think it's always good to see what the current state of the practice is and what's going on in the industry as far as innovations and whether it's-- Brad listed a few of them off already, but enforcement, operations, what pricing structures are out there. Again, Brad mentioned that MnDOT manages the system to maximize traffic flow and person throughput. You know there's other thought processes out there to manage the system to maximize revenue. That's not something MnDOT chooses to do but there are some different philosophies out there. So it's always good to check in on those. And I think these system studies is always a great opportunity to do a little pulse on what's going on. Again, I mentioned that we use the activity based model, our regional travel demand model. A couple of the key elements that we looked at were vehicle miles traveled and vehicle hours traveled throughout the system, what the congestion lane miles were, any sort of mode shift. And I think this next bullet person throughput, I think this is a very important and big item. So many times we think VMT, VHT and maximizing those elements. But person throughput really gets at the HOV creation or existence of HOVs and any creation of HOVs. But even more to the point transit. One bus shows up a lot differently than 40 people on that bus. And capturing those benefits of those 40 people and the travel time savings that they encounter it is very critical for what's happened here in the Twin Cities, et cetera. And even to take that one step further, when we talk transit and buses, the synergy is really gained in express bus service. Those from large parking rides or other concentrated areas to another major employment center. That's where there aren't additional stops, the bus is traveling four or five, ten plus miles, whatever the case might be. But they can capture that benefit of having that reliable trip in a MnPASS lane. So that is something-- it's evolved how we do that but I think we've gotten to a good place of sophistication and realism in understanding those benefits. So person throughput, person hours saved is something that we focus a lot on. So really the activity based model is where we drove a lot of our benefits. The flip side of that is we want to understand what the costs are for these corridors and how they're built. While we did use CAD in drawing some things up we definitely did not want to get to a level-- we're not designing these corridors either. So we wanted to get a realistic cost and try to understand what the risks were to those costs, whether they would come out higher or lower and things of that nature. But at this high level, system planning level we wanted to keep the level of detail at a minimum. When I talked about that initial screening, these are things that we looked at. MnDOT has a pretty good way through their linked loop detector data of understanding where existing congestion is. Obviously, that is a good target to place our MnPASS lane. So that was part of the criteria. Proximity to employment centers. Again, this speaks to where people want to go to. So we wanted to make sure that we're not identifying corridors that aren't necessarily connecting directly to a major center. Connecting to existing or program MnPASS corridors we wanted to link and start to create this more system vision. I mentioned, again, that bullet about commuter bus demand. That's really about that express service. Where is the heaviest express service corridors? That was another criteria. Cost is always something to consider. So that was here as well, as well as overall travel time savings. One thing that I think has contributed greatly to the success of MnDOT and running these system studies is the collaboration with the other key stakeholders. Obviously, there's a project management team that gets together pretty often to discuss the study and how things are going. But this technical steering committing that is made up of not only MnDOT but Met Council transit providers, the metro counties and FHWA that was a great source of information, critical thinking, hard questioning. Some of the debates and discussions that happened at those meetings were invaluable. And I think it's very critical to have this when you do this level of study. You don't want to just turn around and just hand over a document and say here it is. I think one of the successes of the transportation policy update which was one of the key goals is that Met Council was on board all the way through. And so receiving that final documentation was just putting a bowl on what they already knew. So that was very critical to the success. So what happened? This is a map of the Twin Cities metro here and the purple lines represent either existing corridors or corridors that are programmed and planned as a result of previous study. And the green segments are corridors that came recommended out of our most recent MnPASS system study. So, again, this is kind of that system scenario three that we ultimately ended up with. Some of the corridors were part of system scenario one, two. But it was really a mix and match of where we ended up. This is just a version of the same thing, just tabular format listing all of the corridors and their termini. One point I do want to mention here is that, again, you don't want to go into full design. And we all know as you're doing managed lanes and how things transition you want to acknowledge that there's that flexibility out there. But this gives a pretty good idea of where that corridor wants to be. But as it moves further along in the process things could ebb and flow and shift and change. Lastly, I just wanted to show what this kind of means. Now, want to be careful. Again, we used the activity base model. And we-- it has great things but it also has its limitations. It's not going to pick up node congestion, congestion that appears on interchanges, et cetera. So we just all want to be on the same page and acknowledge that. But it does give a pretty good representation of benefits. And so right here is just the TAZ map that shows for people living in those TAZs what kind of delay that they experience throughout their normal travel in the Twin Cities area. When we put in our existing corridors that we have 394 out to the west, 345W south and 35E to the north you can see that there is less delay and it starts to influence what people experience. We take that to another level and say existing plus our tier one which are already programmed and we start to see even less delay in the Twin Cities area. We take it to another level and include the plan tier two and we still see more improvements. And then finally, the recommendations out of the most recent efforts, and we really start to have a major impact throughout the Twin Cities area. This was just a tool to help try to summarize some benefits and why MnPASS is good for the system. And, again, I want to remind everybody, this isn't vehicles. This is about people and whether they are in cars, carpools, or transit isn't accounted for under this analysis. I'm going to turn it to Brad to talk public outreach.
Brad Larson: Yeah, just to quickly finish up, we already talked a little bit about the public outreach aspect. At the system study level, it's really focused on a smaller group of key stakeholders, the MPO, MnDOT, metro counties. We did have a metropolitan city rep as well as the public transit providers and FHWA. Pretty technical professional type focus, public outreach at the system study level. When it comes to doing the corridor studies, we do then move from just-- we also include those key corridor stakeholders but then start to get into public outreach to those who use the corridor, live along the corridor. And so that includes outreach that's the public side of it. Pretty higher level the public outreach at the corridor planning study level. But you start to get into including elected officials in on that level as well. And then if you're moving a project into the environmental preliminary design phase, then you get into more detailed intensive public engagement efforts and as well as including the technical professional staff and elected officials. And then finally, just some of our lessons learned from more of a planning perspective. I think our current planning and project development approach is working pretty well. Most corridors that came out of that phase two MnPASS system study have undergone or at least are planned for some type of improvement. It wasn't always a MnPASS improvement that went in there, but some type of improvement has happened in most of those corridors that were identified as priorities out of that phase two study. And then the phase three study that is being completed right now is being used to update that MnPASS system vision and corridor prioritization in the update to the region's transportation policy plan. We've learned that collaboration is the key. It's not surprising it is generally a key engaging stakeholders throughout the planning and project development process is essential, particularly transit providers, the close collaboration with transit providers is critical since they are really the first and foremost customer that we're building these lanes for. And then in our region our MPO, our metropolitan council highway planners, transit planners along with MnDOT planning staff, we really work as a single team in many ways. And it's really helpful that the MnPASS toll agency administration is also housed within the DOT here too. So they're on board as part of that team. And that's been really an important piece of the success of the system. Supportive leadership is always essential. You know, having a goal driven approach is important. And then really understanding the evaluation tools you're using throughout these various levels of the planning process is important as well. So with that I will stop. I can't remember are we taking questions now? Or are we going to wait until we're all down?
Sarah Lunardo: Yeah. We'll take questions after each presentation. But I'm not seeing any in the chat pod. So we can take questions over the phone if anyone has any.
Shaun Cutting: Yeah, this is Shaun here in Colorado. We'll go around the table for people. I saw them furiously writing stuff down. So that was great. I appreciate that guys. I think there are several questions here. So I'll turn it over to you guys.
Kari Grant: This is Kari Grant with HPTE. I'm wondering if there was I'll call it a very informal assessment of community readiness along some of these corridors. Did you guys do that? Was any information like that gained?
Brad Larson: That's an interesting question. No, we didn't really do that type of assessment. I think since we've had MnPASS operating in this region at least through one set of communities or two set of communities now for several years, we didn't really ever do an assessment on how ready communities were along some of these future corridors which we learned can be challenging. From the MnPASS lanes that we just recently opened on the 35E corridor over on the east side of the metro area. We did find that a lot of the people that live along that corridor, use that corridor we're pretty unfamiliar with MnPASS. They rarely, had ever experienced the MnPASS on the west side of the region, the south side of the region. And so that did create a lot of public acceptance challenges when we implemented those lanes on 35E. But we were able to meet those challenges, deal with them. And I think now that the lanes are open and operating in that region of the Twin Cities people are really starting to better understand the benefits of those lanes, how they work. And we're not having as many of those public acceptance challenges.
Todd: Yeah, this is Todd. I just want to add I think one of the things that we've also found is that when you have communities that utilize high transit service, while maybe not directly as the question was stated, I think there's an indirect assessing the communities. Those that utilize high transit are better targets for a managed lane in close proximity. And it does seem that acceptance is, dare I say, easier than those that don't have that presence. Yeah, I wanted to say that carefully.
David Spector: This is David Spector, just a follow up on that real quick. I noticed that in your presentation you talked about when you did the system level studies, the key stakeholders you engaged were sort of higher level. It would be MPOs. The transit agencies. Given the lesson learned on that sort of corridor specific acceptance or readiness would you, if you had it to do over again, or for us as we're going through this, would you recommend doing that corridor specific outreach in terms of readiness or acceptability up front as part of the system level study in order to start having those conversations with the community? Or do you still think having gone through this that engaging those corridors specifically with that public outreach and stakeholder engagement is best done at those subsequent steps?
Brad Larson: You know, I'll say here that we might have considered trying to do that even though it would have posed a lot of challenges to do that type of engagement at the system study level. We would have probably considered doing that if the study results weren't being used in this MPO transportation policy plan update. Because the results are essentially going to be adopted into that plan update. And that plan goes through a fairly robust public outreach process. And so we're kind of using the public outreach engagement process that goes along with that regional transportation planning update process as kind of our outreach for the MnPASS system.
Jim: Yeah, Brad, could I add something to that. This is Jim?
Brad Larson: Sure.
Jim: Yeah, if you jump back one slide I think it would help with this discussion. Yeah, and what I wanted to say is the system study is like Brad said, a long-range plan, determination need in funding. The public outreach really happens in the corridor study which is a feasibility like Todd said which gets into the local elected officials. And then in the NEPA process the bottom one, that's when the more engagement is done. So all of the alternative analysis happens in those two second ones. So we'll look at out lane, versus bus lane, versus general purpose versus other improvements at that stage. So that seems like the best place for the public outreach once you are within five or ten years of a project.
Deb Perkins Smith: So this is Deb Perkins Smith with the division of transportation development. So I want to dig down a little bit in terms of your process for those just to understand how it works with your transportation planning process. So it sounds to me like the system level is kind of a feasibility study. So if you did not identify a corridor that made sense to do an express lane in you did not need to look at that in more detail when you got down to other corridors for other improvements. And so then once you got to that corridor level and into the NEPA you had to look at other alternatives under NEPA. And so you may need up with not having an express lane or an MnPASS lane based on that NEPA study. Correct? And then my other question is, are you a nonattainment area. Do you have to do transportation conformity?
Todd: So I can take the first question. You're absolutely right. From a system level to a corridor study to the actual NEPA process there is an evaluation. We don't want to predetermine anything. But it is a little bit of a vicious circle with you don't move into the NEPA process unless there's some sort of funding that's tied to it. And you can't have any funding tied to it unless you know exactly somewhat what you're planning on. So obviously there's an idea. But the NEPA process does go through and reevaluate and say, yeah, should it be general purpose? Should it be HOV or a managed or a HOT lane? Again, I think, there's a critical analysis that has been adopted here in the Twin Cities metro looking at how that impacts person throughput and person delay for the cost of those alternatives. So we have not come across any corridors during the NEPA process where the idea was that it was going to be a managed lane out of the system study and it ended up being something else. We have not-- that has not happened. But it is a possibility. You're absolutely right.
Deb Perkins Smith: And then remind me, are you in air quality nonattainment area? Do you have good transportation?
Brad Larson: No, we're not.
Deb Perkins Smith: So you don't have those additional-- so those are additional things that we have to deal with as we go through the study process and would require us to do it in a certain way here. Okay. Thank you.
Kari Grant: And the reason I ask, this is Kari again and Nick and David set me right if I'm not correct here, but our enabling statute has a provision whereby the affected communities which are not necessarily well defined must give some level of consent. I'm not saying approval. I'm saying consent.
M1: It's to convert general purpose lane to an express lane if we had a lane.
Kari Grant: Then we don't do that. Okay. It's just right up front in our law.
Brad Larson: In Minnesota too we have a municipal consent statutory requirement that happens during the environmental predesign stage where we have to go get municipal consent.
M1: Any project.
Brad Larson: Any project. Yeah.
Kari Grant: All right. Thank you.
Sarah Lunardo: Hi, everyone. This is Sarah again. So for time sake we do need to move on to the next presentation because we have a couple more that we need to fit in before it's two o'clock. But we can always if we have extra time in the end go back to all of the questions.
Brad Larson: Thank you.
Sarah Lunardo: Okay. Thank you so much. Kathleen.
Kathleen McCune: Okay. The phone was on mute. Okay. I'm here.
Sarah Lunardo: Hi, Kathleen. Okay. You can go whenever you are ready.
Kathleen McCune: All right. So Philbert and I are going to tag team on this. So I'm going to talk a little bit about the existing express lanes as they are right now. And then he's going to go into more of the actual system wide study that we did to identify potential future express lanes. So just to give you some background in terms of where we're at with our existing express lanes. We converted 66 lane miles of HOV lanes to HOT lanes or we call them express lanes. These were the first HOT lanes in LA County. And they were a one-year demo courtesy of FHWA. Thank you Angela and company. So after the demo-- well, let's just go through the demo, we got $290 million in our budget, 210 of that was through the grant. So we spent about half of the grant funds on-- half of the budget, sorry, on transit improvements in both of those corridors. And then we spent 125 million on our transit and toll facilities, and then 15 million went to congestion pricing parking pilot in downtown Los Angeles. And that was operated by our Los Angeles department of transportation. So we gave them 15 million to do some parking studies and some parking improvements in downtown L.A. So the 110 express lanes opened in November of 2012. So we are actually coming up on our fifth year anniversary here next week. And then the 10 express lane is open in February of 2013 and they'll be five years early next year. So we've had sort of five years to kind of figure out whether or not these facilities were worth expanding throughout the county. And we had very broad support from our board which is a combination of the city of L.A. council members, mayor, L.A. County supervisors. And then we have some other representatives from throughout the county that represent the other, how many jurisdictions, Philbert, 69?
Philbert Wong: Eighty-eight.
Kathleen McCune: Eighty-eight jurisdictions in L.A. County. So those other folks on our board represent all of the other jurisdictions that are in Los Angeles County. So we had very broad representation from the county itself on our board in terms of this program. In terms of how we're doing so far, we have just about three-quarters of a million transponders issued and just over 600,000 accounts that have been opened. We don't have a one to one relationship between transponder and account that's why you see the differential in the numbers. We have to date or at least through June 30 seen almost 155 million trips on these 2 facilities. So they are heavily utilized especially in the morning and evening commutes, but also on the weekends as well. And our gross revenue is approaching 250 million as of the end of the fiscal year '17. So they're performing well from a financial standpoint, I guess, from a community acceptance standpoint in terms of people opening accounts, and getting transponders. And then, of course, just because we are in a heavily congested region you see the number of trips that have been taken just in the last four plus years. In terms of our volumes in our peak directions in the morning, so it would be the 110 northbound. Both of these directions are into the downtown L.A. core. So during the morning we're looking at close to 30,000 vehicles during the AM peak on the 110. And then on the ten we're looking between we see an increase from about 25,000 to over 26,000 during the AM peak on the 10 westbound. So we're seeing I think it was like a five percent increase in overall volumes and in each of these facilities over the last year. And then in terms of our speeds, though, we're seeing the speeds maintain relatively similar speeds even though we've seen an increase in our express lane volume. So we're managing the express lanes fairly well. And our board for the most part is happy with what we're doing. We are, however, running into some issues. And I noticed there's some questions about enforcement and maybe we can get into that later. But we are running into some issues where folks see the express lanes as a better alternative than what's happening in the general purpose lanes. And they will deliberately set their transponder to-- because we call it a fast track flex. It's a switchable tag so people can self-declare the occupancy. We have seen people deliberately set the occupancy to the HOV mode to get a free trip in order to utilize the express lane for free. So we're running into some enforcement issues which is causing us to think about the technologies that are available to us to allow us to do the enforcement. But at any rate, even though we are seeing some of that kind of behavior that we're not-- we don't really like we still are the best value for folks that are traveling on these corridors. So what we were thinking about in terms of this slide is if you have already successful express lanes that you're operating and you have the political support it's probably a good time to sort of sit down and think about what are you going to do for the future in terms of these facilities? So our board actually directed us to prepare a strategic plan to identify corridors that could benefit from express lanes conversion. So what we did is we took a look at the existing HOV lanes that are in the county, those that are planned for the future. And then those kind of went into our strategic plan in terms of how we would look at them in terms of their performance. And then how we would kind of put them together in some sort of priority order in terms of building them out for the future. So we presented the strategic plan to our board in January of this year. And they approved moving forward with the tier one list of projects. And you'll be able to see what those are when Philbert gives his presentation. And then in March so just basically two months later the board requested an acceleration strategy for constructing both tier one and tier two projects. We're not sure what the rationale for that was but it may have been that at the time the mayor was trying to get the mayor was trying to get the Olympics into Los Angeles. And they were successful. I'm not sure what year it is, do you know, Philbert?
Philbert Wong: Twenty twenty-eight.
Kathleen McCune: Twenty twenty-eight. So see Philbert he's more in tune with all of these things than I am. But 2028 so now there's a push for us to get all of these facilities built as well as a number of other transit facilities. So they've asked us to accelerate both our tier one and tier two level projects. So I guess, really what I'm trying to say is if I know in Colorado you have existing express lanes. I'm presuming they're doing fairly well. I know you have the E470 which is doing well. It seems like there already is an environment at least in the Denver region for tolling and different types of tolling scenarios. So it seems like a great opportunity for you to move forward with more of a system wide approach at this point. So with that I'm going to turn it over to Philbert to just talk about the strategic plan, our methodology results, et cetera.
Philbert Wong: Okay. Thanks, Kathy. So we looked at three different area. We look at mobility benefits. We looked at financial feasibility. And we looked at four qualitative factors. The first of those is connectivity with other existing and potential express lane corridors. And that's twofold. That's both within L.A. County and connectivity with express lanes in adjacent counties. The counties to the east and south of L.A. are also planning or have existing express lanes. And so we coordinated with those counties to see what gaps there might be and what connectivity might need to occur in the future. We also looked at transit benefits. In this case, the transit benefits were really limited to what is existing, what existing routes there are in facilities and what the existing ridership is. And we really didn't go into potential ridership of new lines or a mini mode shift. So it's kept at kind of a high level. Funding availability and I'll get into this a little bit more. We had a local sales tax measure that passed in 2016 that provides some funding for express lanes. And so those projects that received funding through our local sales tax measure were elevated and those are all on our tier one. And finally, we believe that in certain cases we can add to express two lanes in each direction. In some cases, we can do it through restriping. And so our preference is to have two express lanes wherever we can. And in some cases we can do it and in some cases we know we can't. So for those facilities that we can that was also taken into consideration. So we took a look at all of our existing in construction and planned HOV lanes in the county. And we limited our strategic plan to those facilities and we did not look at adding any new express lanes if there were no HOV lanes planned in construction or existing. And so-- and for our future forecast we look at comparing a single express lane versus an HOV lane assuming a three plus occupancy requirement. And so to do that we used this SCAG, the Southern California Association of Governments, our regional travel demand model and forecast that out to 2040. And then the output of the travel demand model was fed into a tolling model. In our case, we used Rapid Tom which is a proprietary model so we contracted out for that. And then the three mobility metrics that we used are value of travel time savings, HOT lane person throughput and the average peak period vehicle speeds in the general purpose lanes. I think similar to the other metrics that you used in Minnesota. We also had a financial feasibility analysis and there was two steps to that. The first was to estimate gross revenue for each corridor. And it's roughly equivalent to a level on TNR. And then from that we calculated net revenue based on existing O&M costs that we incur on the 10 and 110 express lanes. And so we looked at financial analysis to see how we could pay for these facilities. And so we used a combination of different packages of projects, funding or no funding from the existing express lanes. And we also looked at different occupancy requirements since those could generate different levels of revenue. And so we were trying to identify what the funding gap is and what our needs would be. So we have eight scenarios listed here. All of these scenarios include our tier one, two and three projects. And then we had a couple of other packages of projects. Some of the scenarios included and some of those didn't. The second line is the 110 extension and the 110/405 direct connector that would all be new construction. And the cost of the project could be as high as 500 million. So in some cases we included that, in some cases we didn't in our modeling. The third line has a few express lane corridors. We think those may not be revenue positive. And we would only do those for connectivity reasons. And so because of that we did not-- some scenarios include those and some didn't. I might also mention that we had a local sales tax measure that passed in 2016 and that process was occurring simultaneously to the development of our strategic plan. And so in earlier scenarios we didn't know how much money we could potentially get from that local sales tax. An so we had earlier scenarios where we assumed 50 million annually from that local sales tax measure. And then we realized that was probably too optimistic. So we removed those scenarios. But we also did other scenarios where we assumed 20 million per year in toll revenue from the 10 and 110. And then we realized that was probably optimistic as well. And so all of those alternatives were eliminated. And the only options that you see here are we assume 10 million a year from 10 and 110 or nothing. And so you can see what our total construction costs would be for these scenarios and what the funding gap would be. And so in all cases, we would have a funding gap ranging from 90 million to over a billion dollars. Okay. So we took the three mobility criteria and the one financial screening and we ranked the corridors into quintiles so top twenty percent, second twenty percent, et cetera. So each corridor received a score from one through five. And then those scores are averaged to get a composite score. So if you got ones across the board, then you would score in the top twenty percent, and you would wind up in tier one. And so as we mentioned earlier the projects were divided into three tiers, tier one which is our near term within five to ten years, tier two within fifteen years, and tier three within twenty-five years. So here's our list of tier one projects. As you can see some of them have Measure M funding. The 405 and the 105 have funding availability in 2024 and 2027. So those are the nearest term projects. Some of the other projects are more long term in the 2040s and then the three at the bottom have no identified funding. So here's a map of our tier one projects. I don't know how familiar you are with L.A. County. On the western end we have the 405. The 10 and 110 are highlighted in red kind of towards the middle. And then 105 is the east/west corridor that intersects with the 110. We also have a 605, the eastern part of the county and also an extension of the current 110-- 10 express lanes. Also, I wanted to point out I know there's some discussion on public acceptance. And so in this slide we identify locations of existing express lane account holders in different shades of brown. And so the darker shades of brown represent higher concentrations of express lane account holders. You can see that the highest concentration is in the southwestern part of the county. And so a lot of those users would probably be using the 110. And so but not only that there are express lane account holders in many parts of the county. In the eastern part of the county there's a good number of express lane account holders. So there is broad familiarity with express lanes. And the tier one projects that we've identified generally coincide with areas where there are higher concentrations of express lane account holders. I think in the interest of time I won't get into much detail in the tier two and the tier three projects. I think you have this presentation so you can go through it. I think it's just important to note that none of the tier two and tier three projects have any identified funding. Getting into outreach, our outreach mainly was to Caltrans, California Department of Transportation, our state DOT as well as SCAG. We also did presentations to our metro committees. We have a technical advisor committee, and a streets and freeways committee. We did do some presentations to sub regional councils of governments. Those are basically associations of cities. And so there are city elected officials and city staff on those committees. And so we did present the strategic plan to them. But mainly it was to Caltrans and to SCAG and to our metro board. And our strategic plan is consistent with the SCAG regional express lane, strategic plan and also the 2016 regional transportation plan. All of the tier one projects are in the constrained portion of the RTT. And in terms of our current status on the 105, we just started our environmental document. We'll also be doing a con ops and an investment grade TNR. The 605 is also underway, environmental document; that's the one in EIR/IS and we're doing a level two TNR for the 605. On the 105, we hope to start a project study report next year. And we're also doing a level two TNR that's almost completed on the 405. Another thing we have to do is to request tolling authority from the California Transportation Commission. And we hope to do that for the 105, hopefully by spring of next year for the 105 and for the remainder of the tier one projects in 2019. So really our focus right now is on the tier ones. The tier twos we're doing what we can but really our focus right now is on the tier ones. And finally, lessons learned, one thing that we really emphasized when we were presenting our strategic plan are the mobility benefits and connectivity of a network approach. In the tier one network, all of the projects connect with each other. And so there's definitely synergies that we believe we could achieve by implementing the tier one projects. And as I think it was mentioned by others, we didn't focus on revenue generation. We focused on connectivity, mobility benefits, person throughput. We also tried to leverage project tiers to obtain tolling authority for each tier rather than project by project authority to the extent that we can. As I noted earlier, we did a funding analysis to identify what that would be. But ultimately, we didn't present the financing plan to the board. We felt that ultimately as we got into each project, the project itself would need to have a financing plan. And so we didn't want to over complicate things at this point and perhaps risk the board not approving the strategic plan. So all of the strategic plan includes our potential auctions and potential funding sources. And it didn't propose a specific funding plan. But in retrospect maybe we should have. And as I mentioned earlier, the timing of our strategic plan was such that it happened right in the midst of our local sales tax measure initiative. And so that complicated things. We didn't want to-- we held off holding, presenting our strategic plan until after this measure passed. And so things changed after that local sales tax measure passed. And so that added another level of complexity to our financial plan. And we did run a number of financial scenarios. We showed eight in the presentation. I think there are an additional five that we did but we didn't include in our plan.
Kathleen McClure: So if I can just jump in for a second too, in terms of the financing plan. Philbert's right, for political reasons it was pulled out of the plan that we presented to the board, although it was available online for people who wanted to take a look at it. It's just it seems that the board, though, in a couple of months later allowed us to then authorize a process to borrow against the revenues that would be generated from each of the corridors, which was what our financing plan was basically sort of a waterfall affect. You know, open a facility, take the net revenues and put that into the new facility, build that, let that operate, take those revenues and kind of have that waterfall effect of all of the revenues sort of flowing to the next project as it comes online and the other one gets built. And sort of ironically, that's what the board approved for us to do anyway. So it turned out it worked out okay in our favor. But I think in hindsight it would have been better to present the whole plan together with the financing ideas so that the board would have a fuller understanding of the whole process and the whole program. But, you know, as it turned out they sort of-- I don't know if it was instinctively or-- we have a process here at metro called the non-solicited proposal process. And one of the unsolicited proposals that came in was actually a financing plan for the express lanes network. So as it turned out all of these things are sort of happening in concert with one another. And the board got wind of this unsolicited proposal and that's sort of where the authorization to utilize revenues from other corridors came from, even though we had originally put it in our financing plan. So it turned out we made them look good. And we kind of had to eat a little bit of crow but that's okay. At the end of the day, we ended up getting to the same place. And then as far as the financing scenarios, I think it's important if you're looking at it from a perspective of yes we all say mobility is important and connectivity and all of those other things. But if it can't pay for itself, it's not going to be very successful. So I think it really is incumbent upon an agency to take a look at and run as many scenarios as possible to get to a place where you feel comfortable that the system approach can work. And that every corridor can be successful, whether that means potentially utilizing revenues from another corridor to sort of keep it afloat or how it's going to work. But eventually at the end of the day, it's a system, it's a package and it all works together as one. So the financing scenarios are probably very important. And to include a budget that allows you to run as many as possible. We were sort of constrained by our budget. Otherwise, we probably would have run a few more scenarios just to make sure we had considered every possible permutation and combination that was out there. And with that, I will close.
Shaun Cutting: Hey, this is Shaun in Colorado. I'll go around the table and grab some questions for us.
David Spector: This is David Spector at HPTE, again. This question is for you guys, as well as the MnDOT folks if you want to weigh in. One thing I think we were trying to be conscious of up front is making sure that we're not going through a process today where we're going to be just duplicating efforts years from now in another stage of the process. And so you all identified sort of the levels of TNR equivalence that you evaluated these corridors at. For your tier one projects, for example, do you think there might have been a benefit to do a more robust analysis, maybe a sort of quasi level two TNR? Or something of that nature? So that for those corridors that are tier one that maybe can pay for themselves and that check all of those boxes in terms of meeting the criteria that you can then go straight to investment grade following this? Or are there reasons to sort of start out at that level one area and then build on that later on? I think we're conscious of wanting to make sure we're using our dollars most efficiently and not having to spend additional dollars later on to do something just to upgrade the TNR study from one level to the next.
Philbert Wong: Yeah, I think it depends on how many corridors you're looking at. In our case, we had many corridors. And I think to do a level two might have been-- I don't think we would have had the resources to do that. And it may have taken a lot of time. And so in our case it was more efficient, I think, to start with the level one and then identify those high potential corridors. And then do more detailed analysis at that point.
Kathleen McClure: Yeah, I understand what you're saying. But for us the detailed analysis comes on the actual corridor study once we get it underway. We were constrained by time and by budget. So if you don't have those constraints I would recommend that you do as much analysis as you can in the strategic plan. Unfortunately, we didn't have that luxury.
Nick Farber: This is Nick Farber. Yeah, we're just rolling in money here.
Nick Farber: My question is in the draft RFP that I'm putting together right now I'm asking for low level design on the corridors. I noticed MnDOT didn't do that. MnPASS didn't do that. I want to get a better idea if a corridor could benefit from like a reversible lane or a barrier separated lane, or that would be reversible, or a zipper lane, two lanes in either direction or one lane in either direction. I get the sense from like listening to these presentations that might be taking it a step too far. I was wondering your thought-- L.A. Metro thoughts on that and the MnPASS thoughts on that.
Kathleen McClure: I think for our study we weren't looking at-- we were looking at it from a 50,000 or 40,000-foot level. We weren't getting down into the details of each individual corridor because we thought that would come when we actually do the environmental document for each one of those facilities, or do the-- what we call the project study report for those individual facilities, where you actually get into more specific detail about each one of those corridors. So ours was really more of a system wide approach in terms of taking a look at the system as an entity, as opposed to getting down into the individual corridor level.
Todd: This is Todd from Minnesota. I apologize. I hope I didn't convey the wrong message. But we did get into a level of design detail to understand what sort of typical section we're talking about here. Are there major right of way impacts? Are there not? And even some modifications to that typical section if, you know, like a price dynamic shoulder. Reversible lanes have been considered in the past. So I apologize if I conveyed the wrong message there. But yeah, we definitely got into a certain level of design. But I was just cautioning that you can only take that so far at the system level that you don't want to get into too many details.
Nick Farber: That makes sense. Thank you, Todd. Anybody else?
Shaun Cutting: All right. Sarah, I think we're good for Tyler to start off their presentation.
Sarah Lunardo: Okay. Perfect. Tyler, whenever you are ready.
Angela Jacobs: Could I deal back for one second? I wanted to understand a little bit more and maybe I'm confusing it. But when you talked about the feasibility analysis that was conducted, when I was looking at the slides, it seemed like that was a feasibility analysis that was only for what the funding level for construction would be, not necessarily for O&M cost. But then the financial plan covers the O&M cost. For the feasibility analysis what is the intent? Is it to look at the financial plan? Or just for funding of the construction?
Philbert Wong: Yeah, so we did two types of financial analysis. The first was to identify the revenue potential of a corridor to see what the-- if it would be revenue positive basically and to what extent. And in addition to that we also looked at how we could pay for such a system. So the financial feasibility that we used in the scoring criteria is the potential revenues that could be generated from that corridor. Does that make sense?
Angela Jacobs: Yeah, that clears it up for me. Thank you.
Philbert Wong: Sure.
Sarah Lunardo: Great. So Tyler, whenever you're ready.
Tyler Patterson: All right. All right. Cool. So I'm going to focus mostly on the I-405 express toll lanes today. But we can talk about 167 if you'd like or any of the 2 bridge facilities we also operate. Let's see here. Let's get right into it. I'll give you a quick overview of the 405 express toll lanes. And then we'll jump into some of the lessons learned and the other questions you had asked about. So we opened a little over two years ago. We just hit our two-year anniversary. It's fifteen miles of express toll lanes. And about half of those are double express toll lanes or dual express toll lanes and half of them are single. You can see on the map there the northern portion denoted with the single green stripe in each direction is the single lane section, obviously. And the double lane is the double stripe. We originally opened with 24/7 operation. This proved to be not very popular. And it didn't really provide a lot of benefit with people complaining, what I'm not going to take $2 to drive to Home Depot on Saturday and things like that. So we made an adjustment on St. Patrick's Day of 2016 and went to 5:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. at the urging of some of our legislators Monday through Friday. We also don't toll on holidays. Our dynamic toll rates from 75 cents to $10. And that is our base rate. And we also add $2 for a pay by mail where we send the bill to someone. So someone without an account, a post pay customer. Our carpool policy is a little confusing. But basically during the peak periods it's three plus, and during the off peak period in the middle of the day it's two plus. And then from 7:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M. it's open to all. All right. So a couple of new policies we implemented. One was we converted from a two plus all of the time to this three plus during the peak periods. That was definitely met with some resistance from some folks. But we really couldn't make the project viable because of the congestion already ending with at two plus. So we had to switch to three plus. Instead of switching to three plus all of the time, it was sort of this compromise of saying, okay, during the midday it will be two plus. So we traded some of that. We added complexity so we could keep some people in the lanes because they're virtually be empty in the middle of the day because we don't have that many three plus drivers. And the way that you declare yourself as an HOV, I have picture on this slide of the transponder that we use. And you can see-- I don't know if you can really tell but there's a little tab right in the middle and you pull that back and forth. I think most of you have seen our tags. And I think you guys have the same ones in Colorado. But Kathy was mentioning people violating this or cheating with their tags. This one the idea to step up and have a new color basically-- so on the other side of this transponder is also a window. So as the officer is driving along the idea is that they can see the red mark in people's windshields and recognizing that they're declaring themselves to be an HOV. This is a pretty good benefit for enforcement. We've been really happy with how that's worked. But it isn't completely effective. And people still find ways to cheat. And one of our top sort of violation locations is right next to a hospital. And I was just talking to one of the officers the other day and he was telling me that he's found a couple of nurses now that have taken some medical tape, the white medical tape and put it over their HOV slide. And so it looks like they're in toll mode when in actuality they're in HOV mode. And so the only way we know is when they drive under the gantry and the beacon flashes or it doesn't. So I thought that was an innovative way of cheating. But anyway, this is something new that was introduced. And it was different in that people had to actually make a conscious effort to declare themselves an HOV. Rather than on 167 previously it was just continue driving in the HOV lane and you're totally unimpacted by tolls if you're an HOV. Now, you have to get an HOV enabled transponder, a Flex Pass and actually move into the HOV mode. Another thing that was challenging that people had to deal with or one of our changes was the trip based or destination based tolling system. So you can see there's one of our mockup signs on the lower right hand corner of this slide. You've got three different destinations. And so there's a lot of confusion about, do they add up? I know we dealt with this on 394 in Minnesota. But do they add up? Or is this a cumulative thing? So we did have a lot of focus groups for these. And we offered people, well, we can show you every single destination. We can show you different zones of pricing. And eventually we decided on this pricing scenario. But still it's a lot of information for someone to absorb on a sign. And so right away it's something new and something that they're unfamiliar with. And then you can see the HOV 3+ free with a Flex Pass. That was also a confusing message to communicate to people, not necessarily confusing, just one more thing to communicate to people that you're not HOV 3+ free unless you have your Flex Pass in HOV mode. And then we also changed our access points, previously, on 405 it was all open access. And on 167 a year before we went live on 405 we opened up all of our access there. And we had designated or limited access on 405. And so that was a change. And we actually-- we had a couple of different enforcement or not enforcement-- sorry I'm reading the questions. We had a couple of different axis points using a-- we called it a jellybean or like a weave or acceleration lane in between the TLs and the GP lanes. So those are a couple of things that we changed that people had to deal with. This slide is all about signs. And one of my engineers made this and he was very passionate that I include this in here. So I included this in here because this was-- it seems like not really that big of a deal like get your signs to work. But if your signs aren't working properly it is a humongous problem. This is one of our highest risk items. We spent months and months and months every single morning on the phone dealing with our sign providers. And, basically, the long and the short of it is our design builder supplied the DMS signs or dynamic signs and their inserts. And subcontracted out the electrical work to somebody who subcontracted out the actual equipment purchase to another vendor. So we're a few subcontractors deep dealing with a toll vendor who has no contractual relationship with the sign provider, nor the electrical sub, nor the DB. And then we have the-- our traffic management center operating the fiber that all of this information is flowing from. So suffice it to say there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen. And we're trying to figure out how we do this differently next time. But there are a few things making sure you have a clean demarcation point of who's stuff is what. NTC/IP which is the language that these signs communicate with there are a lot of different ways you can interpret it. And so make sure that you kind of get everyone on the same page there. And one thing we learned is to test every single rate combination. This is maybe in the weeds a little bit. But when we hit $6, for instance, our signs went all to stars. That was a little bit disconcerting and frustrating and like why isn't this working. So we spent a lot of time doing testing for this. And this is one of our biggest risk items. So I'd just say this can be a source of a lot of stress if it doesn't work smoothly. So just play attention as you're working on these issues. So our traffic management center, we fund a toll liaison position now which was a huge benefit. Previously we had just funded positions there, and engineer one positions and now we have an engineer three there who then can report back to me what's going on. And then work with my engineers to make sure that the lanes are operating properly. We're doing our algorithm analysis the way we should be. We can hold them responsible for making sure that we're always responding the same way to incidences. So we're balancing the needs with the traffic and the toll engineers. And, basically, it just clarified responsibility, delegated our authority property, and really determined escalation and communication procedures that made sense and weren't-- we had some inconsistencies there. And so I feel like by changing and getting someone in charge of that toll liaison really has enabled our traffic management center and our operations team here in Seattle to work a little bit more smoothly together. So public outreach. You asked a little bit about public outreach. We did a ton before 405 opened. We probably could have even done more. But we showed up at Starbucks, at biker club meetings, bookstores, all sorts of places, 135 presentations and events. Anytime that there was a festival or whatever, we'd be there with a tent handing out information. We really got the word out on this. We had almost 100 earned media stories. We paid for media ads. We spent a lot of time and effort really making sure that people knew what was coming and the change that was on its way. The social media was a huge step for us. You can see the numbers there. One thing that I really want to point out though is our incentive program. So there was a big concern that we'd have a big backlash from people who had been carpooling already. And now suddenly they need to open an account and buy this transponder. And all they want to do is keep doing what they're doing. So we felt like that was going to be a big takeaway for many people, not many people but for three plus carpoolers who are already in there. So we treated this free Flex Pass distribution through ride share online which is basically a TDM program for the Seattle area which has been very successful; almost 35,000 transponders have gone out now. The problem is that it's very hard to stop that program. We don't have a whole lot of users now but like stopping that program is not easy. We've extended it a number of times just because it's been such a nice outlet for people who start complaining about transponder prices and that they're carpools and that they shouldn't have to do this? Well, why don't you just get a free transponder. Oh, okay. So it's been a really nice way to sort of get off of the-- or derail those carpoolers before they get really excited and worked up. For motorcycles we did not expect much of a pushback from them. But it turns out they have a pretty powerful lobby and really got people excited in the legislature. And so we ended up creating a motorcycle free program. As many of you know, motorcycle tags are really difficult to get to work on every single bike. I don't know how much you guys know about this but transponders are either designed for a plastic backing or a metal backing or a glass backing. And some glass headlamps, there are some headlamps that are made out of glass and some that are made out of plastic. And so as you encounter those issues sometime transponders don't work especially on motorcycles. And so we've had to work with those. I can show you a great flood deck I have of people improperly installing their transponders, like tearing off-- throwing away the actual transponder and just putting the barcode on their bikes. Some people put it vertically which doesn't work or bending it and actually breaking the antenna. And it's not their fault they don't quite understand how it works. It's just something to pay attention to and keep in mind. I also wanted to mention It's not quite public outreach but we did reach out to all of the cities in the corridor. And I think this is a really big win for us. We created a monitoring plan with them. There were concerns about diversion, what was going to happen with some of their local access points. And so we got together with them a number of times and agreed okay, let's monitor these alternative routes in case people-- we'll monitor volumes on them. And we can use Bluetooth travel times to make sure that we're not negatively impacting anyone. So that was a big to do kind of before we went live, making sure that we were all going to share the same data. So I had folks out there doing tube counts, travel times on so of the alternative routes. And really just collected a whole bunch of information, shared it with the cities, shared our loop volumes at our ramps and on the ETLs and the GP lanes. And really just shared all of our data with the local jurisdictions. And I feel like this enabled them to-- and talk to their local staff. So if they had questions they could contact someone on our team and get some answers. And so they were hopefully empowered to respond to any of their local officials who were coming to them saying, hey, what's going on here? How is this impacting us? They had answers right away for their local officials. And we met with them every day when we went live and then stretched out to every week and then every month. And then finally nobody wanted to come to those meetings anymore. So we stopped doing that now. But basically exhausted-- provided them an exhaustive list of data and a point of contact. So they never really felt out of the loop. If they needed something we could work with them to get it for them. So scenario testing. I took this a little differently than I think our previous two. Rather than scenarios of how we're going to implement, I was thinking was more of scenarios of like what if this happens? What if this emergency happens while we're operating? What if there's an earthquake? Or what sort of disaster recovery? What if we lose power to the whole system? How do we respond? So a lot of the operational scenarios. And see on screen in the top picture you'll see we got our vendors in the room, traffic management center, different community stakeholders or communicators, folks from headquarters, FHWA, project team. Everyone was in there all working together to see how we would come up with these? And so we made it pretty fun, I think. We sort of ran through some questions of okay these signs go out for some reason, how do we respond? And I think it was really eye opening in a lot of-- I felt like I had the whole situation under control. Well it turns out I hadn't thought of everything which was eye-opening for me and really, I think, eye-opening for everybody, just how different decisions would impact everyone else. I'm not sure if anyone else has used these tabletops. But it turned out to be really effective. We used roundtable meetings as well. We just sat down with the maintenance staff to hammer these out. And so we'd basically discover issues in some of our tabletops and the come back into small groups and kind of figure out what we might want to do to resolve them and then discuss them with the larger group again. I felt like those were not only fun but also enabled us to be much better prepared as we went through t opening day. Traffic and revenue, we did a bunch of different studies on traffic and revenue. Because we weren't bonding this revenue we didn't end up doing an investment grade study. We did do a bunch of studies. In fact, one of our required legislative reporting points is that we compare how our revenue did to one of the scenarios we ran which is sort of unfortunate because the scenario we ran it wasn't exactly what we implemented. And I feel like if I had this to do over again would run the scenario of what all of our policy decisions whether it was a two plus, three plus carpool, our max toll $10, not $15, those sort of things. And run a revenue, traffic and revenue model for those exact decisions so we could compare to exactly what we have out on the roadway. Because now we're just comparing to this sort of arbitrary set of decisions. And in this slide it says the study was not accurate in predicting performance because it had used different assumptions. And so that was a little bit frustrating. But as you can see our forecast is in green and our purple is our reported. We are way above forecast for toll trips. Our carpool trips is a little bit under. And our revenue was way above where we thought it would be. This slide is a new slide. I've never presented this slide. And I think one of our communicators just made it up. So bear with me. I'm going to try it here. I'm not optimistic but we'll see how this goes. So express toll lanes opens at the top and as you slide down the little sticky diagram, the higher the forecasted vehicle volumes. So we have made a ton of improvements of which I'll go through in a later slide but one of them was tuning the algorithm to reduce congestion in the lane. We've had to do a lot of tuning with that algorithm, which I can talk about quite a bit if you're interested. But that is one of our results. Another result was the higher forecasted revenue. So covering our maintenance and operation costs no problem. That has been really easy since day one. And we've actually had net revenue to fund improvements. And so we funded a PQ shoulder lane which was about $11 million completely out of toll revenue. We were able to get that one done within the-- you know, we went live two years ago and we've already implemented that this last April. But as you probably guessed is having a single lane section go into a double lane section and a double lane section go into a single lane section this creates certain bottlenecks at certain locations. And so one of those bottlenecks was created in the northbound direction and more capacity was really needed. So we implement his PQ shoulder lane, which is sort of like what Minnesota has except their shoulder lane isn't tolled. It's a toll free. Our express toll lane just stays how it is. So it's a little different then 35W. But kind of that same sort of concept that the shoulder opens when you need it. So talking about the PQ shoulder lane so this is a zoom in of the northern part of the corridor. Basically, 527 you can see it running north to south there. It has a tremendous volume impact to 405. There's a bunch of northbound traffic. So we'll just talk about the northbound for a minute. There's a bunch of people getting off at northbound 405 and northbound 527. And then southbound 527 dumps a lot of people on to northbound 405. So north of 405 on 527 it's congested in both directions. And, basically, what was happening is the 527/405 merge as people are getting on there was creating a humongous backup in that area all the way down off the screen to your right. So we converted the right shoulder to a general purpose lane. We built a big noise wall, improved some signing. And now we operate during the afternoon peak hours. Those have been pretty rigid hours so far but we're looking at doing different operational that may make them a little bit more dynamic. The results are we've really been able to reduce congestion. We've improved the travel times, lowered our toll rates in the area, although those are kind of starting to rebound a little bit now. This really has helped us make our 45-mile an hour 95 percent of the time. So here's a list of improvements that we made and I don't really expect you to read these. But we made improvements in a ton of locations around throughout the corridor during the last two years. Most of them we centered around access points, people wanting more access in different locations. And some of those we were able to accommodate and other ones we couldn't. One thing we did do is we put down tape which is easy to take up before and after the established access points. So it was pretty easy to pull up our tape and create larger access points without really having to spend any time reapplying permanent pavement markings. One of our biggest challenges has been our algorithm which is designed in house and is very, very adaptable. But as you guys know who operate these lanes, predicting what the congestion will be in 15 minutes when a driver gets there, and creating a price for that before they get there, you know, 15 minutes before they get there is challenging. And the longer the corridor you're trying to predict, the harder it gets. And so this has been our continued challenge. What information can we use now to predict how it will be downstream in ten or fifteen minutes? So we've actually incorporated a lot of the general purposes lane data in there. And that has been very successful. But it's constantly can we get better? Can we get it better? Can we get it better? So we're looking at different ways to improve that. I thought there was one more slide in here. I wanted to mention one more thing before we got there-- before we get to the end. But tag penetration this is something that was our marketing folks asked us. Well, what's our tag penetration now? And what's our goal? As we went into opening. And so we developed this mobile antenna set up that we could set up on overpasses. And so we're able to basically collect how many vehicles had tags in them and how many didn't? And so we were able to measure kind of keep a running tally of where we were with our market penetration. And I think that is about where I'll stop right now and take questions.
Sarah Lunardo: Great. Thank you, Tyler. So we do have one question from Angela and it is Washington state's department of transportation conducted at express toll system study. How did the I-405 fit into the system wide toll plan?
Tyler Patterson: That's a great question. So it's really been a centerpiece. We've had an I-405 master plan that all of the communities in the area bought into and approved. And yeah, so that express toll lane study incorporated that master plan in there. And really looked at the 405 as being able to fund not only-- so that really looks at bonding 405 which is something that we're a little nervous to do but I feel like we've gained a lot more confidence in the last two years with our experience. Is that kind of what you were getting at Angela? Or is there more?
Kari Grant: This is Kari with HPTE. I noticed that-- well, for the express lanes that allow motorcycles for free what do your signs say about that?
Tyler Patterson: Not much. Not much. There are some motorcycle signs, motorcycle permitted in what it is-- it's a motorcycles permitted sign. And we only have a handful in the corridor. But we don't have too much signing on that.
Kari Grant: Has anyone out there gone through like a pilot study of alternative language for motorcycles allowed?
Tyler Patterson: Not that I know of. I know NDTCD speaks a little bit about it.
Kari Grant: No, not much. Okay. Thanks.
Richard Tomorrow: This is Richard Tomorrow from Colorado DOT. And I guess this goes out to all of the folks who presented. I know Minnesota talked about dedicated enforcement efforts. And so, I guess, one of the questions I had in terms of doing your system level study did you guys look at that from an optimizing perspective, the level of staffing? And how do you pay for that level of enforcement as well?
Tyler Patterson: This is Tyler. I'm happy to go first. We have contracts with Washington state patrol to do additional we call it emphasis enforcement. Really that's paid for right out of our toll revenue. And then we end up having to pay the officers time-and-a-half so it's overtime pay and then pay for the vehicle. It's like 45 cents a mile or whatever it is. But basically we used a couple of different techniques. We used a roving patrol and stationary patrols. And sometimes they work in tandem. So they'll have a spotter and then chase cars. Brad, did you want to talk about Minnesota at all?
Brad Larson: Sure. I'll just mention Minnesota enforcement. We currently have six troopers that are dedicated fulltime to MnPASS. We use toll revenue to pay for those six troopers. We used to use an overtime approach similar to what Tyler mentioned. But we went to a different approach where we've actually just hired fulltime troopers to be dedicated to enforcing the MnPASS lanes. Enforcement continues to be probably the top challenge that we have on our system in Minnesota.
Tyler Patterson: How is that working, Brad? Do you like having them work directly for you?
Brad Larson: You know, it has been an improvement in some areas. But we've also realized that now that we're not paying them overtime anymore, and they're fulltime employees troopers have a lot of different leaves for different things. Training. All kinds of other types of leaves. So we're actually getting a lower shift coverage out there than we had under the previous approach. So that's been a little bit of a concern. But overall having a dedicated team as they've really learned all of the little tricks of enforcing the lanes, they're really starting to be more efficient in their enforcement. But as I said, it continues to be our top challenge here in Minnesota.
Tyler Patterson: Do you guys have them go out with all six of them at certain times and really blanket an area? Or do you have them spread out?
Brad Larson: They're generally spread out throughout the corridor so that we have one trooper and a corridor during each peak period is what we strive for. But they will do saturation enforcement occasionally on just a single lane.
Tyler Patterson: Nice. Okay.
Mieka: Hey Brad, thanks for joining. It's Mieka from Colorado.
Brad Larson: Hello, Mieka.
Mieka: Did the case three study include any automated enforcement, whether it was just state of the practice review or anything like that?
Todd: Yeah, hi, Mieka. This is Todd. I can respond to that a little bit. It definitely looked at the state of the practice. And what's also included some research that MnDOT has had underway looking at some different technologies, et cetera. I might be-- my information might be a little old at the moment. But as of six months ago, while there has been some advancements in technologies nothing has really risen to the top as like yes, we should implement this. That's what the study did.
Brad Larson: Yeah, that's correct. Todd is correct in that the MnPASS system three study did look at some of the best enforcement practices out there. And going to a more automated system than we currently have here would definitely make some improvements, we think. And it will be something we'll be considering in the next several years. There will be some challenges associated with license plate tolling and video tolling, that type of thing here. But I think we're likely going to have to go in that direction. But still kind of the holy grail of enforcement is technology that can determine occupancy in a vehicle. And that's still not at the level where it can be fully automated. I know that Kathy can maybe chime in at their efforts with it. I know they've been trying to test some of the Xerox camera systems out there, the infrared systems. And I'm not sure how they're fairing.
Kathleen McClure: Hi, this is Kathy. So to go back to the question about enforcement we have 6 CHP officers, generally three on each corridor during the AM and PM peaks. At certain times, and at our request or just randomly scheduled we do what we call saturation patrols where we add another three officers to a corridor. So during the saturation patrols we'll have six officers in one particular corridor. They're all over time. They're not dedicated to our particular facility in that they do have other jobs and this is just an overtime, time-and-a-half type of position. We pay just a little-- I think it's about $3.2 million a year for that service through toll revenue. And then what Brad mentioned is we are moving forward with what we're going to call not a demonstration but a proof of concept for cameras, automated enforcement, occupancy detection in two locations, one on each facility. What we're finding is there's a lot of good hardware based solutions in terms of the cameras to detect occupancy. What's missing in the solution is connections into back office toll systems. So what we'll be doing with Conduit is actually creating that interface into the back office system whereby the occupancy detection transaction will be matched with the actual toll transaction. And then we will then compare the occupancy detection what they detected as occupancy versus what was declared occupancy. And if there is a difference between the two we will either credit the person's account because maybe they forgot they were in-- they were traveling SOV yesterday and they were in a real HOV today and they forgot to set the switch back to HOV. We will credit their account for the toll that they paid that they shouldn't have paid. And then in the other case where we have people declaring occupancy of HOV where they're actually SOV we will then have the toll system automatically debit their account for the price they should have paid. So that's sort of our proof of concept that will be going to the board in-- well, actually hopefully it will be this month to get that under way. So we can get the installation of the equipment and start the software development to get this moving.
Angela Jacobs: This is Angela. Kathy, I have a question for you. I mean that sounds really exciting but my question for you is, did you guys come up with that? Or did they offer you that? Because that sounds beyond from my memory of the presentation that they made about their-- what they were offering. And so I was just wondering did you guys kind of have that vision, this is what you need for your system, how about you guys see if this will work? And so I'm just wondering how you guys came to that?
Kathleen McClure: Well, we knew they had the-- they've been working on the whole image part of it because as part of Xerox that's what their solutions-- their solutions are image based solutions. So they've been working on this whole algorithm to detect human beings in cars, et cetera. What they were missing is the piece that actually ties into the toll system. And so we have forced them to come up with the integration back into the toll system in order for it to work for us.
Angela Jacobs: Sounds great.
Kathleen McClure: Because it wasn't just enough for us to say, oh yeah, okay that was an SOV and they should have paid. We need to actually have something they can tie it back into the toll system in order for it to have any value for us. So yeah, we'll see how it goes.
Angela Jacobs: Yeah, I'm looking forward to that.
Kathleen McClure: Another reason why I'm retiring Angela.
Angela Jacobs: I was going to say you won't be around for it but I didn't want to say that. <laughs> You keep reminding me.
Kathleen McClure: But yeah, I'm hopeful it's going to work because I don't-- there aren't any other solutions on the horizon right now.
Angela Jacobs: I think that might be the missing piece, though. It's going to be really interesting. I think a lot of people will be following that. I'm keeping my notes on that. And, I think, everybody else is going to be wanting to track that and find out what happens.
Kathleen McClure: Yeah, I think it will be a very interesting sort of proof of concept to see if this can really work in real time.
Shaun Cutting: Hey, Angela, this is Shaun. I don't think we have any more questions here in Colorado if we want to move on to your final federal perspective and final Q&A stuff, opportunity.
Angela Jacobs: Okay. Sounds good. Okay. So basically the purpose of me participating in this is to try kind of tie everything together. What's really interesting is you can really see that there's been an evolution in terms of what's happened in congestion pricing. I kind of feel like I came on board late when actually it was still at the beginning in 2000. But I mean, our first congestion pricing project in the U.S. was SR-91 in 1995. And over time at first things were moving slow and we were really having a difficult time getting people on board and interested in the program. But it's really taken off. But the fist system wide look at congestion pricing was done by NCT COG. And actually, I was talking to Dan Lehmers and he told me we first started looking at it in 2001 in terms of how we were going to incorporate it into their long-range plan, which I think is pretty impressive. But from that time forward we've actually had quite a few state DOTs, NPOs and transportation agencies that have seen the benefit of looking at congestion pricing from a system wide approach. So I'm going to just kind of jet through these slides because I-- my true point is letting you know that there's a lot of resources out there for you. And also to talk about how looking at congestion pricing from a system wide approach has allowed a lot of states or transportation agencies, rather, to move forward what regional networks of congestion pricing. You guys know that obviously like in the Dallas-Fort Worth area there have been a lot of projects. The Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments through the value pricing pilot program decided that they wanted to look at a system wide approach to congestion pricing. And so they evaluated network of value priced lanes. Now, what they did, they looked at Virginia, D.C. And Maryland. And so all three they consider D.C. a state for this purpose, all three states were very comfortable with looking at what the potential was for looking at congestion pricing to address future traffic congestion issues in the metropolitan region. And so from that they came up with a long range plan for the region. And out of that plan, at this point in time, VDOT, Virginia has really been the most aggressive in moving forward with those plans. I think you guys are all familiar with the capital beltway project. A couple of years ago they moved forward with the I-95 project which they are now in the process of extending. And they're also anticipating having HOT lanes on I-66 inside the beltway by the end of this year. And then express lanes that are going to be I-66 outside the beltway coming up as well. But that's going to be a construction project, where they're going to actually add lanes in the center. So I think it's going to be two lanes in each direction, express lanes. And they'll also provide a free option to high occupancy vehicles. I think it's going to be each of HOV3+. Inside the beltway starting off in December it will be HOV2+. When the outside the beltway on 66 is actually completed with will be HOV3 throughout that entire corridor. And all of these projects that I mentioned were a part of the system wide plan, that the council of governments, the transportation planning board looked at for the Washington Metropolitan Region. Maryland has also done a couple of things, actually looked at a couple of things. They've had some toll projects in terms of on '95, Maryland 100. They also have the intercounty connector. And just recently announced that they're also going to be looking at tolling-- adding tolls to three existing facilities as well. So as you can see creating that system wide plan they are gradually moving forward with projects. So San Francisco Bay Area, I just want to just briefly point out they're creating a HOT network. And in 2008, they expressed some interest and hey how come when you look at this as a system wide approach throughout the metropolitan area. And so they did a pretty detailed study. And there are a lot of moving pieces in terms of coordination. But it's an 800-mile regional HOT network and they have started to move forward with that project. It does include some existing HOT lanes. You know, the Santa Clara Valley transportation authority operates a couple of those and there are some other ones as well. I do have in here Washington state actually. They have 225 miles HOV system. And they completed an express lane system concept study that they were using to just try to look at how can they apply that as things evolve and move from HOV lanes to total express lane to address some of their traffic problems. And that's kind of what led me to the question that I asked Tyler, about how I-405 fit into that system. I just will point out that we have the studies available from the different projects that I'm mentioning right now. And so I'm bringing them up so that there's that opportunity. If you guys want to get copies of these or talk to the people who actually were the project managers who were responsible for pulling these studies together because I'm sure they would have some information that would be helpful to you in terms of similar to what Minnesota and L.A. talked about in regards to how do you come up with your boundaries around how big do we want this study area to be. What do we want to look at? And so just pointing to what that's available too. Florida did a pretty amazing integrated congestion pricing plan. They knew that over time after they opened up the I-95 express lanes project which was extremely successful. And they did that through their partnership program. They knew they wanted to look at doing a system wide approach. The interesting thing is as you know especially for parts of Florida they already had the turnpike enterprise that was already operating toll roads. And so they wanted to see how do we integrate what we're doing with the turnpike system with other congestion pricing that we're operating in other areas that aren't a part of the turnpike system? And so that's what makes their study pretty unique. They did it. There's three phases of the study. If that's something you guys are interested in finding out more about I'm happy to provide that to you as well. As you can see, their study covered southeast Florida, Tampa and Orlando. And if you're not familiar Florida has been moving forward since-- actually while they were in the process of doing that study. You know they've expanded out the I-95 project. They've opened up the I-595 project. They're looking at doing congestion pricing within the turnpike system. So not only have they conducted the study, they're definitely moving forward and completing other congestion pricing projects. So I mean like I said, the basic point of me sharing with you is just to point out that in addition to the great presentations that you got today from L.A. and Minnesota and Washington state, there have been quite a few system wide congestion pricing evaluations conducted throughout the U.S. that might be beneficial to you as you move forward with your study. So that's pretty much it. I just wanted to make sure you guys are aware that there's a lot out there. And the project partners and congestion pricing are always more than happy to provide information and support. And so if you guys have detailed questions I could never answer your detailed questions. But I can always get you to the person who can provide that answer. And thanks, again, to our speakers because I'm always leaning on Tyler and Brad and definitely Kathy out in L.A. whenever I need somebody to provide that type of information. So that pretty much covers it. The last slide is really just my contact information. And if you're ever in doubt and you're not sure who to ask feel free to shoot me an email or give me a call because nine times out of ten after doing this for the past seventeen years I probably know who can answer your question.
Sarah Lunardo: Great. Thank you so much, Angela. So we have about ten minutes. If anyone wants to ask any last minute questions?
M1: Just before we close, I have one specific question for Minnesota regarding the-- I think it was on the technical committee that you had for the effort. You said you had a local agency. I thought you said you had a single representative for the metro area for locals or something? Is that right? And how did you do that if that's the case? How did you come up with that process to pick that person?
Brad Larson: For this latest MnPASS system study we had representatives from each of the metropolitan counties. There's seven counties. We had representatives from each one of those counties. And then there's an organization called the association of metropolitan cities that we invited a representative from that organization to try to represent all of the cities in the metro area.
M1: Thanks. That makes sense. Thank you.
Todd: And Brad, it might be worth mentioning the additional communication, I don't want to say outside of the study. But there are the TAB and some of those existing groups that also communication went out to.
Brad Larson: So yeah, the MPO, the metropolitan council has a variety of different committees. And those committee are made up of local government staff and elected officials. And so we've done a number of presentations to those different committees about the study and that's kind of another avenue where we get that local feedback is through all of those presentations.
Shaun Cutting: I think that David Spector wanted to provide some closing remarks.
David Spector: Yeah, I really want to say thank you. This is super informative. I really appreciate the time and effort you all put into putting the presentations together and sort of educating us on this. We really do want to make sure we learn from lessons past. I'm sure we will make new mistakes, but if we can avoid making mistakes that you guys have learned from that would be great. Shaun, Angela, also I really want to thank our federal partners. FHWA has been really fantastic in their ability to help put us into contact with folks that we can learn lessons from as our managed lanes and express lanes network has been developed. So thank you to FHWA both in DC and here the local division office. Really, just I can't say thanks enough to everybody on the call.
Shaun Cutting: Great. Thanks, Sarah, too. I appreciate the help.
Sarah Lunardo: Great. Thank you everyone. All of the presentations were wonderful.
Shaun Cutting: All right. Talk to you all soon.
Kari Grant: Thank you.
Sarah Lunardo: Bye everyone.