Managed lanes, like Minnesota’s E-ZPass express lanes, are designed to improve mobility and travel time reliability for transit users, carpoolers and other motorists during peak travel hours. The lanes provide many societal benefits such as increased transit ridership, higher vehicle occupancies, more reliable travel options, and reduced traffic congestion and pollution.
However, because the lanes use pricing to deliver these benefits, they must be designed, constructed and operated equitably. The key is striking a balance that’s fair for everyone.
“Our goal is to help travelers arrive at their destination safely and efficiently,” said Brad Larsen, E-ZPass policy and planning program director, MnDOT Metro District. “By seeking out ways to make the system more equitable, we’re hoping to help more people use these managed lanes and increase mobility for everyone on the road.”
A new research project will help MnDOT and its partners better assess managed lane equity impacts and enhance the overall equity of Minnesota’s E-ZPass system. The two-phase project will begin by comparing the demographics of E-ZPass lane users to the statistical characteristics of everyone on the road where these lanes are located. Then researchers will use this information to evaluate how equity and environmental justice could be improved during planning and environmental studies that involve managed lane alternatives. As part of the study, researchers will:
- Review published literature on equity issues and managed lanes, highlighting the planning, design and pricing strategies that can be implemented to increase equity.
- Analyze demographic data and user survey information to identify differences in demographics and potentially marginalized user groups.
- Identify case studies of innovative managed lane alternatives from around the country and how these mitigate inequity.
- Develop recommended elements pertaining to equity issues that should factor into MnDOT’s routine process of identifying possible design alternatives.
- Estimated Start Date: 06/23/2021
- Estimated Completion Date: 04/30/2023
- Funding: MnDOT
- Principal Investigator: Adeel Lari
- Co-Principal Investigators: Frank Douma, Zhirong Jerry Zhao, Paul Morris, Camila Fonseca-Sarmiento
- Technical Liaison: Bradley Larsen
Details of the research study work plan and timeline are subject to change.
To receive email updates about this project, visit MnDOT’s Office of Research & Innovation to subscribe.