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 analysis showed that traffic volumes on the I-394 MnPASS lanes increased substantially since opening in May 2005, varying from 9 percent to 13 percent during the peak hours. Overall traffic volumes (MnPASS lane plus general purpose lanes) increased by up to 5 percent in the peak hour.
MnPASS lane usage increased steadily from under 10,000 weekly tolled trips during the initial weeks of operation to over 20,000 weekly tolled trips by November and December 2005. Despite observed increases in traffic volume in the MnPASS lanes, travel speeds in the lane(s) have not been negatively impacted. Most locations experienced no change or a slight increase in travel speed.
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