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.
A slight increase in speeds in the general purpose lanes were observed following the implementation of MnPASS on the facilities tested compared to similar periods from previous years. Although significant, caution should be applied in attributing all of the speed increase to MnPASS implementation because in some locations, the speed increase in the general purpose lanes was accompanied by a slight decrease in volume.
Further analysis of the speed changes observed in the general purpose lanes on I-394 revealed the relative increase in travel speed in the general purpose lanes (compared with previous years) was greater on days with higher volumes and days when incidents occurred on the corridor. This observation suggests that MnPASS helps mitigate negative impacts on the worst travel days and is effectively reducing speed and travel time variability.
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