Out of Control Policy Blog

Warming to HOT lane

A year later, Minneapolis' first HOT lane (MnPass) is doing well. More than 9,500 motorists have opened accounts and the revenue generated is covering operating costs.

More cars are using the lane compared to when it was an HOV lane, and yet:

    despite this higher rush hour through-put, pricing has ensured that service is maintained for carpoolers and transit users. Average speeds of 50 mph are maintained 95 percent of the time, and a survey we conducted showed 85 percent of users are satisfied with the traffic flow in the lane.

We see the usual pattern with HOT lanes, apprehension, then appreciation:

    I-394 users understandably were wary of this new high tech system when it was first introduced. However, it appears most are adjusting. In a recent survey, 95 percent of the MnPASS users said they are satisfied with the all-electronic operation of the system, 93 percent are satisfied with the credit card based system of funding accounts, 92 percent are satisfied with the ease of installing the transponder, 87 percent reported no problems with merging into the MnPASS lane, and 76 percent were satisfied with the dynamic toll system.

And again, the "Lexus Lane" charge falls flat:

    Citizens of all income levels rated their use of I-394 in the post-MnPASS era as "enjoyable," and said MnPASS is a "good idea." Low income citizens approve of the project by nearly an overwhelming three-to-one margin. Many citizens who can't afford to use the lane every day, like the option of using this "gridlock insurance" occasionally, such as when late for day care, work or an important appointment.

More here.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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