A Managed Lane Toll System’s Planned Expansion in Minnesota Was Estimated to Save Users More Than $14M Annually in Total Costs, Including Reduced Travel Time, Crashes, and Vehicle Operation.

Minnesota’s Planned Managed Lane Toll System Estimated to Lead to Mobility, Safety, and Productivity Benefits.

Date Posted
12/26/2023
Identifier
2023-B01814
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Enhancing Managed Lanes Equity Analysis

Summary Information

The managed lanes strategy is a widely used demand management approach that controls access to specific highway lanes or features. These lanes can be managed either in a fixed manner, like dedicated transit lanes, or in a flexible way through methods like time-of-day restrictions for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) use, High Occupancy Toll (HOT) access, or toll rates that respond to congestion levels. This study presented the equity analysis results of Minnesota DOT’s (MnDOT) planned expansion of its E-ZPass corridors that have been in operation since 2005. The planned expansions would add more E-ZPass Corridors, namely Interstate 94, 494, MN77, MN252, and Interstate 35W (North Gateway) corridors, as well as managed lane features. For demonstration purposes, this study only reported the equity analysis results for Interstate 35W North's potential corridor improvements extending to the year 2040 with two alternatives:

  • Alternative 1 (GP): involving the addition of one general-purpose (GP) lane (serving all vehicles with no restrictions).
  • Alternative 2 (MnPASS): involving the addition of one managed lane (HOV/HOT lane) along the I-35W North corridor. 

METHODOLOGY

This study used demographics and traffic data from existing E-ZPass and managed lanes facilities in the study area to perform the equity analysis for the planned expansion of the existing system. The research team carried out a spatial analysis of the travel area and surrounding regions along the Interstates 394, 35W, and 35E with E-ZPass lanes in Minnesota. This was done to map out demographic trends and identify clusters of spatial intercorrelation. Required data was obtained from several sources including the Minnesota Geospatial Commons (2010 data1, 2, 3), the American Community Survey (ACS) (2019 data4), and a third-party data provider (2021 data). The researchers constructed travelsheds (a geographic area that is accessible within a certain travel time or distance from a specific location) for each of the four existing E-ZPass facilities in the study area by combining third-party data and E-ZPass transponder ownership data provided by MnDOT. After completing the construction of travelsheds for each of the corridors, the researchers analyzed and aggregated the ACS demographic data of the zip codes contained within each travelshed.

FINDINGS

  • Results comparing the GP and MnPASS alternatives in terms of “new transit trips added” revealed that 450 more new transit trips were estimated to be added under the MnPASS alternative than the GP alternative (0.46 percent more new trips comparing the two alternatives). 
  • Results also showed that the MnPASS alternative would lead to an estimated 56 transit person-hours traveled (PHT) savings compared to the GP alternative. 
  • In terms of local road crash costs, the results indicated that an estimated amount of $35,035 per day would be saved with the MnPASS alternative compared to the GP alternative (corresponding to 1.56 percent savings in crash costs).
  • Results also showed that the MnPASS alternative is estimated to save users a total of over $14M annually in total costs, including reduced travel time, crashes, and vehicle operation costs, when compared to the GP alternative.
Results Type
Deployment Locations