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Bay Area Express Lanes Network


The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is developing a tolled express-lane network with toll-free use offered to carpools, vanpools, motorcycles, buses and eligible clean-air vehicles. Single-occupancy vehicles will be given the option of paying a toll to use the express lanes and avoid congestion. Tolls for solo drivers will vary according to the level of congestion and will be collected electronically using FasTrak technology. 

The MTC’s decision to implement the tolled express-lane network was made after WSP USA conducted a technical and financial feasibility study to determine if adding congestion pricing to both existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes as well as newly constructed lanes would promote mobility and make better use of existing vehicle capacity. We then determined costs, identified potential design exceptions and evaluated phased implementation options for converting the HOV lanes to tolled express lanes. Our studies and evaluations culminated in the project’s inclusion in the Regional Transportation Plan. 

We then prepared an application to the California Transportation Commission seeking approval to implement the network. The application included a Project Study Report addressing the toll network’s technical and financial feasibility, social equity issues and impacts on regional express-bus service. Once the application was approved, the MTC moved forward with plans to implement the express-lane network by first converting 150 miles of existing carpool lanes to tolled express lanes and then constructing another 120 miles of new express lanes. 

The first phase of implementation involves converting 90 miles of existing carpool lanes in Contra Costa, Alameda and Solano counties and on the westbound approaches of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, San Mateo Bridge and Dumbarton Bridge to tolled express lanes. We developed the concept of operations plan for the tolled lanes (the plan will be updated and modified over the course of the project) and we are working on procedures for incident management, enforcement and network maintenance. We are also providing MTC with management and technical support, including schedule monitoring and oversight of the consultant responsible for environmental documentation and preliminary engineering.