Managed lanes with peak-period transit discounts in Minneapolis

In Minneapolis, priority lanes and differential pricing have cleared a key interstate during peak hours and allowed more com- muters to utilize public transit.

The Twin Cities Metropolitan Area is using innovative solutions to relieve congestion on major highways in the region, with a particular focus on Interstate 35. The effort, part of a Minnesota Urban Partnership Agreement (UPA), utilizes a suite of intelligent transportation approaches, sometimes known as the 4Ts: Tolling, Transit, Telecommuting/Travel Demand Management and Technology.

The Minnesota UPA involves ITS technologies like real-time traffic and transit information, transit signal priority, and guidance mechanisms for shoulder-running buses. These technologies will significantly reduce travel time for riders.

“Trip time will be about half an hour. We’ll offer six trips in the morning and six trips home in the afternoon,” Bob Gibbons, a spokesman for Metro Transit, told Minnesota Public Radio.

First, the city is converting existing bus-only shoulder lanes and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes along portions of the Interstate into wider lanes with prices that vary based on occupancy. Cars with only one occupant will have to pay a toll to access the lanes during peak hours, with prices set to ensure free-flowing travel.