The purpose of this study was to conduct a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) to examine the net societal benefits and costs of implementation of the I-394 MnPASS HOT lanes over the first ten years of deployment (2006-2015). The I-394 MnPASS HOT lanes are a 9.5 mile corridor connecting the western suburbs of Minneapolis to downtown with an AADT of up to 151,000.
Travel time and reliability benefits are estimated using a mixed logit approach and safety benefits are estimated by using an empirical Bayes approach. Data used in the analysis includes MnDOT detector data, the MnPASS toll tag database, and the MnPASS toll rate database.
Overall, the BCA finds a benefit-cost ratio of 2.19 for conversion of the I-394 HOV lanes to HOT lanes. The study found a benefit-cost ratio of only 0.30 for travel time and travel time reliability, which indicates that if one only considers those benefits the costs outweigh the benefits. Safety benefits, particularly those resulting in a reduction in fatal crashes, account for the majority of the benefit of the conversion.
It was also noted that fuel consumption increased with the conversion from HOV to HOT lanes because the average vehicle speed increased to a point where vehicles consume fuel less efficiently. The additional cost was estimated at $62,142.