Managing limited access highways for high performance: Costs, benefits, and revenues

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - old people, economics - revenue, economics - benefits


Managed lanes are a set of lanes where highway operations strategies are actively applied in response to changing conditions. High-Occupancy/Toll (HOT) and Express Toll lanes are examples of managed lanes. The transportation operations concept discussed in this article involves conversion of existing freeways (all lanes) into premium-service free-flowing highways that provide fast, frequent, and inexpensive express bus service and charge all private vehicles a variable toll—except for authorized buses and certified ridesharing vehicles. The toll would vary by level of demand and would be set high enough to guarantee that excessive demand will not cause a breakdown of traffic flow. This article discusses the advantages of this concept. It introduces a new sketch-planning tool that provides estimates of costs, benefits, and revenues from applying the concept on a highway network in a prototypical large metropolitan area. The estimates suggest that implementing the concept can provide significant net social benefits. It may also generate sufficient new toll revenue to pay for all costs for implementation and operation, including new express bus and park-and-ride services that would complement the pricing scheme.


Permission to publish the abstract given by the Journal of Public Transportation.