Mn/DOT began operation of the State's first HOT lanes on a segment of I-394 in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region on May 16, 2005, referred to as the MnPASS lanes. MnPASS refers to the tolling organization and the electronic tolling transponders. This system is also one of the first in the United States that dynamically adjusts pricing in response to varying traffic conditions. Recognizing the use of the I-394 MnPass deployment as a test bed for evaluating the viability of the HOT lane concept and the broad interest in the application, Mn/DOT implemented a comprehensive evaluation effort to assess the system.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) implemented a comprehensive evaluation effort to assess the deployment of the I-394 MnPASS lanes and evaluate the viability of the HOT lanes. The Technical Evaluation team was charged with collecting and analyzing data regarding the ability of the MnPASS system to achieve project goals and evaluate other performance impacts observed in the corridor over the first year of operation. The Technical Evaluation team was managed by Cambridge Systematics and supported by Short-Elliott-Hendrickson and LJR.
I-394 serves as the primary east/west corridor for travel between downtown Minneapolis, the I-494 beltway, and the western suburbs. I-394 has historically been well-utilized and often experiences congestion. The facility has two reversible, barrier-separated HOV lanes located in the center median between I-94 and Trunk Highway 100 (TH 100). West of TH 100 the facility has a single, non-barrier-separated HOV lane in each direction. While HOV demand in the corridor has been robust, it was often less than the available capacity. Consequently, some felt that the HOV lanes were underutilized and Mn/DOT was directed by the Legislature to evaluate means for increasing utilization of HOV facilities. The I-394 HOV facilities were converted to HOT facilities on May 16, 2005.
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