Express lanes: a feasible alternative

Express Lanes are an efficient method of reducing traffic congestion without spending billions of dollars on light rail, says transportation expert Robert Poole of Florida's James Madison Institute.

For example, drivers on Express Lanes would pay a higher toll during rush hour traffic conditions that during other times of the day, and electronic monitoring of tolls would replace toll booths:

  • In Orange County, California, two carpool lanes were changed to all-electronic toll lanes, which vary every six minutes and now accommodate 40 to 45 percent of rush hour traffic at a speed of 65 miles per hour.

  • Expansion plans for I-635 in Dallas and I-10 in Houston will include variable pricing for Express lanes.

  • Denver and Minneapolis are in the process of converting high-occupancy (HOV) lanes into Express lanes, on I-25 and I-394.

    Moreover, Express Lanes would not replace regular free lanes, but would provide an addition to those who place the highest value on getting to their destination quickly during peak travel times. Indeed, Florida is already building elevated express lanes along the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway, and, Poole says, all of Florida's major cities should consider this option.

    Source: Robert W. Poole, Jr. Express Lanes for Florida, Journal, James Madison Institute, Spring/Summer 2004.

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    For more on Land Issues: Transit

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 16 November 2004
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