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Reason Foundation

South Florida Express Lanes Speed Up Travel

Samuel Staley
May 21, 2009, 9:48am

A managed lanes (or HOT Lane) success is building in southern Florida near Miami where a seven-mile stretch of priced lanes has increased speeds for travelers in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Their success could lead to a network of these lanes throughout the region.

"But in the five months since their debut, the new I-95 express lanes have significantly cut travel times out of downtown Miami.

It's a promising start that eventually could lead to a network of such lanes through Broward and Palm Beach counties, allowing drivers to pay extra to zip past slower traffic.

Rush-hour traffic in the new Miami express lanes, which allow vehicles to travel north for seven miles from Interstate 195 to the Golden Glades interchange, moves at an average of 56 mph, compared to 27 mph in the old carpool lane.

Traffic in the free lanes also is moving faster. Before, rush-hour speed averaged 20 mph. Now it's 41 mph."

These speeds are increasing even though the lanes are handling the same volume of traffic. This is a good example of how pricing can: 1) manage traffic more efficiently, and 2) generate revenue to pay for new capacity.

Bob Poole first started discussing the potential of coverting high occupancy vehicle lanes to high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in studies with Ken Orski for the Reason Foundation. A history can be found in our book The Road More Traveled, and the HOT "network" that might emerge from this experiment was first discused in his policy study of the same name published in 2003.


Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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