What are managed lanes?
Highway facilities or a set of lanes where operational strategies are proactively implemented and managed in response to changing conditions.
Transportation agencies are faced with growing challenges of congestion and a limited ability to expand freeway capacity due to construction costs, right-of-way constraints, and environmental and societal impacts. Transportation officials are taking advantage of opportunities to address mobility needs and provide travel options through a combination of limited capacity expansion coupled with operational strategies that seek to manage travel demand and improve transit and other forms of ridesharing. The managed lanes concept is gaining interest around the country as an approach that combines these elements to make the most effective and efficient use of a freeway facility.
The distinction between managed lanes and other traditional forms of freeway lane management is the operating philosophy of "active management." Under this philosophy, the operating agency proactively manages demand and available capacity on the facility by applying new strategies or modifying existing strategies. The agency defines from the outset the operating objectives for the managed lanes and the kinds of actions that will be taken once pre-defined performance thresholds are met.
- Active Traffic Management: The Next Step in Congestion Management, July 2007, FHWA-PL-07-012
- Congestion Pricing Projects Open to Traffic in the United States as of January 2012 - Source: GAO REPORT "Traffic Congestion: Road Pricing Can Help Reduce Congestion, but Equity Concerns May Grow", January 2012
- Efficient Use of Highway Capacity Summary, FHWA-HOP-10-023 (HTML, PDF 4.6MB) - This report was developed to summarize the implementation of safety shoulders as travel lanes as a method to increase the efficient use of highway capacity. Its purpose is to provide a succinct overview of efforts to use left or right shoulder lanes as temporary or interim travel lanes.
- High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes Marketing Toolkit
- Managed and Priced Lane Workshop Research Recommendations (HTML, PDF 585KB)
- Managed Lanes: A Cross-Cutting Study, November 2004, FHWA-HOP-05-037 (HTML, PDF 1.5MB)
- Managed Lanes: A Primer, FHWA-HOP-05-031 (HTML, PDF 2.2MB)
- Managed Lanes Article, Public Roads, November 2004
- Managed Lanes web site at Texas Transportation Institute
- "Moving Forward with Managed Lanes," Resource CD Toolbox, FHWA-HOP-07-030 - This toolbox includes a 10-minute video on an overview of managed lanes concept including highlights of real world applications. Contact Neil.Spiller@dot.gov for a copy.
- "Moving Forward with Managed Lanes Video" (short version)
- National Inventory of Specialty Lanes and Highways: Technical Report (HTML, PDF 5.7MB) - Specialty lanes and highways like HOV, HOT, etc., give motorists options beyond general purpose lanes, and enhance our transportation system. Learn more in FHWA’s 2021 National Inventory of Specialty Lanes and Highways.
- Priced Managed Lane Guide, October 2012, FHWA-HOP-13-007 (HTML, PDF 3.5MB)
- Roles of Transportation Management Centers in Incident Management on Managed Lanes, FHWA-HOP-14-022 (HTML, PDF 12.1MB)
- Safety Implications of Managed Lane Cross Sectional Elements, FHWA-HOP-16-076 (HTML, PDF 900 KB)
- Use of Freeway Shoulders for Travel — Guide for Planning, Evaluating, and Designing Part-Time Shoulder Use as a Traffic Management Strategy (HTML, PDF 5.9MB)