Benefit-cost ratio of 6.0:1 obtained from converting high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) to high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, adding Priced Dynamic Shoulder Lane (PDSL), MARQ2 express bus lanes, and other improvements.
Evaluation of Minnesota's Urban Partnership Agreement I-35W South corridor projects
Made Public Date


United States

Urban Partnership Agreement: Minnesota Evaluation Report

Summary Information

Funded under the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) Urban Partnership Program, the Minnesota UPA projects focus on reducing congestion by employing strategies consisting of combinations of tolling, transit, telecommuting/TDM, and technology, also known as the 4 Ts. The Minnesota UPA projects along the I-35W corridor in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area include high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, a priced dynamic shoulder lane (PDSL), active traffic management (ATM) strategies, new and expanded park-and-ride lots, new buses, a drive assist system (DAS) for shoulder-running buses, dual bus lanes in downtown Minneapolis, real-time traffic and transit information, and telework programs.

A Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) was conducted as part of national evaluation of the Minnesota UPA. The timeframe used covers planning, implementation, and ten years of post-deployment operation, including all costs of the Minnesota UPA projects and the reconstruction of the Crosstown Commons section of I-35W South from planning to 10-year post-implementation and all benefits for a 10-year period after implementation.

Data on the trip-time savings and traffic volumes on I-35W South were obtained from the MnDOT loop detector data. The reductions in emissions from the UPA projects were evaluated using the MOBILE6 emissions model factors for the speeds available from MnDOT sensor data. The safety benefits were estimated using the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Crash Database. The change in fuel use was based on gasoline prices from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Data on the capital costs of projects were obtained from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Metro Transit, and the City of Minneapolis. Data on the operation and maintenance costs associated with the projects was obtained from these same agencies. To address costs incurred in years other than 2009, costs were adjusted to a common year using a discount rate of 7 percent.

The I-35W South projects included in the benefit cost analysis are:
  • The high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes
  • The Priced Dynamic Shoulder Lane (PDSL)
  • Two new auxiliary lanes
  • The active traffic management (ATM) signing and strategies
  • Real-time traffic and transit signs
Other I-35W South projects included in the BCA are the four park-and-ride lots, the drive assist system (DAS) for shoulder running buses, the dual contraflow bus lanes (MARQ2) in downtown Minneapolis, and the Transit Advantage bus bypass lane at the Highway 77/Highway 62 interchange. Some of the 27 new buses and a portion of the eWorkPlace telecommuting program were also included in the BCA. The cost of reconstruction of the Crosstown Commons section was also included as the benefits of the reconstruction could not be separated out, and thus were included in the overall benefits of the projects.

The benefits identified for I-35W South and the MARQ2 lanes include:
  • Travel time savings: $139,474,650 + $45,332,821 = $184,807,471
  • Reduced auto fuel use: $2,866,642
  • Reduced emissions: $398,580
  • Reduced crashes: $317,582,808
  • TOTAL: $505,655,501
The reduction in crashes by vehicle mile traveled (VMT) on I-35W South represent a major benefit in the analysis.

The overall benefits, costs, and net benefits from the Minnesota UPA projects were:
  • Benefits: $505,601,501
  • Costs: $83,953,942
  • Net Benefits: $421,701,558
  • Benefit-to-cost ratio of 6.0