New Active Traffic Management Approach for Metropolitan Freeway Networks

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, land use - planning, ridership - commuting, policy - congestion, economics - pricing, economics - benefits, organisation - management, mode - subway/metro


Variable tolls, Sketch planning, Rush hour, Peak hour traffic, Metropolitan areas, Los Angeles (California), Freeway traffic control, Freeway operations, Freeway management systems, Costs, Conurbations, Congestion pricing, Congestion management systems, Benefits, Atlanta (Georgia)


A new active traffic management approach that could be implemented in the near term is illustrated for two of the most congested U.S. metropolitan areas using a sketch-planning tool. The approach involves converting existing freeways into premium service, free-flowing highways that provide fast, frequent, and inexpensive express bus service, while charging all private vehicles a variable toll, except for authorized buses and certified ridesharing vehicles. Public concerns about having a free travel choice are addressed by creating a toll-free bypass lane in advance of toll gantries placed across the freeway where those not wanting to pay for premium congestion-free services may wait in a queue. The monetary value of the wait time in the queue would be in equilibrium with the toll rate in effect. The toll would vary by level of demand and would be set high enough to guarantee that excessive demand would not cause a breakdown of traffic flow. Implementing the concept in Los Angeles, California, could reduce peak-period congestion delay by up to 33 h per traveler annually and save each traveler up to 83 gal of fuel annually. New toll revenues would be more than adequate to pay for all highway, transit, and park-and-ride costs and would generate significant surpluses.