There are six States that currently have high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. These lanes are similar to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, except that they allow drivers of vehicles that do not meet the occupancy requirements to use the lane by paying a toll that varies by time of day or level of congestion. The San Diego FasTrak was the first HOT lane, opened in 1996. Tolls on the FasTrak vary from $0.50 to $4.00 on a typical day, but during peak periods can reach $8.00. The savings in travel time averages 20 minutes per journey.

Operational HOT Lanes
Year of OpeningProjectSize/CharacteristicsUse
1996San Diego,
I-15
8 miles, 2 reversible lanes in median25,172 transponders in use as of Nov. 30, 2008; about 15,000 HOV and 6,000 SOV vehicles per weekday
2006Denver,
I-25/US-36
7 miles, 2 barrier-separated reversible lanes in freeway95,091 vehicles paid to travel in September 2007 (10 months after opening)
2005Minneapolis,
I-394
11 miles, including 2 reversible barrier-separated lanes for 3 miles; 1 lane each direction for 8 miles, with double striping separationMore than 10,000 transponders leased by users since May 2005 opening
1998Houston,
I-10, US-290
Single 13-mile reversible barrier-separated lane in I-10 median and 15-mile reversible lane on US-2902,200 registered users by 2004, with access to both facilities
2008Seattle,
SR-167
Single 9-mile nonbarrier separated (buffer) lane in each directionOpened May 2008; in first six months of operation, more than 20,000 transponders users paid to use the lanes
2008Miami,
I-95 Express
21-miles, 2 lanes in each directionFirst 8 miles opened December 2008.

Source: Bhatt, Kiran, Thomas Higgins, and John T. Berg, "U.S. and Worldwide Experience with Congestion Pricing: An Overview," published in the Transportation Research Board, TR News, No. 263 July-August 2009.

Return to 2010 Facts of the Week