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Charlotte Region Fast Lanes Study

WSP USA worked with the Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to evaluate 12 highway corridors encompassing more than 340 miles in a nine-county area around Charlotte.


Charlotte Region Fast Lanes Study 2014


The purpose of the evaluation was to determine which corridors were most suitable—from a technical, financial and institutional perspective—for any type of managed Fast Lanes, including high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, express toll lanes, or truck-only toll (TOT) lanes.

During Phase 1 of the study, we screened all 12 corridors to identify the most promising candidates for Fast Lanes. Screening criteria included current and projected highway congestion, projected demand for Fast Lanes, ability to widen the roadways to accommodate the lanes and benefits resulting from their implementation. The screening reduced the number of corridors being considered to seven covering 167 miles (270 kilometers). The study’s second phase included evaluations of physical designs, operational requirements, revenues and costs for the remaining roadways. To analyze financial feasibility, our team developed an innovative toll optimization model that provided vehicle estimates and revenues that were more precise than those forecast at the regional model level. This enabled us to forecast the number of vehicles that would use a managed lane during peak periods, estimate the resulting travel-time savings and compare estimated Fast Lane revenues to operations and maintenance expenses. Phase 3 focused on familiarizing stakeholders with the concept of congestion pricing, determining their acceptance of tolled lanes, and defining the preferred Fast Lanes projects for the I-77 North, US-74 East and I-485 South corridors.

We assisted with public outreach activities, including interviews with key stakeholders, establishing a Fast Lanes website and conducting a regional stated preference telephone survey involving over 900 respondents and facilitating longitudinal focus groups on the costs and benefits of implementing Fast Lanes.