An excellent report about high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes has just been posted on the Federal Highway Administration website.
HOT lanes operate beside existing highway lanes and offer users choice. Carpools with three or more people in the car (HOV 3), van pools, buses and motorcycles travel for free on the HOT lanes. Drivers traveling alone or with only one other person have a choice: They can stay in the existing free lanes or pay a toll to travel faster in the HOT lanes. Tolls are based on real time traffic conditions. When traffic is heaviest the tolls are the highest. This variable toll pricing (also known as congestion pricing) limits the number of vehicles entering the HOT lanes, to keep them free flowing at the maximum speed allowed. Most operators of HOT lanes have a toll system that allows drivers to pay tolls and enter the lanes without slowing down; there are no toll booths.
An excellent report and a serious guide for state transportation officials however the authors did not recognize the history of HOT lanes and congestion pricing as well they should have.
Hence the reasons for my post: 1) to highlight the report and 2) to give my colleague Bob Poole the credit he deserves.
A long time in coming but the good news is we are seeing numerous projects around the country utilizing HOT lanes and congestion pricing in states including: California, Washington, Minnesota, Virginia, Florida and Texas.