Ten years ago priced managed lanes were still a rare occurrence on America’s congested urban freeways. Today, according to the database on the Transportation Research Board’s Managed Lanes Committee, over 1,500 lane-miles of this kind are in operation, with many more under development. These express toll lanes (ETLs) are delivering faster and more reliable trips every day in a growing number of metro areas. But there are several warning signs on the road ahead, threatening the vision of seamless ETL networks in most or all large metro areas.
Three specific challenges are emerging that the transportation community must deal with pro-actively:
- Ever-higher toll rates on the most successful corridors, leading to political blowback;
- Resistance to adding ETLs on existing urban toll roads; and,
- Resistance to new ETLs by advocates of rail transit.