Freeway Management Program
photos of trucks right lane only sign, toll booth, HOV sign, and HOV lanes
21st century operations using 21st century technologies

Managed Lanes and HOV Facilities

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The 2021 National Inventory of Specialty Lanes and Highways
(HTMLPDF 5.7MB) This report provides an inventory of specialty lanes and highways located on non-signalized freeway systems that are not typically for general-purpose use. The inventory summarizes operational specialty facilities from all 50 States and Puerto Rico and the facilities’ key characteristics. The specialty lanes and highways in the report include toll roads and managed lanes, like high-occupancy vehicle (HOV), high-occupancy toll (HOT), express toll lanes (ETLs), and non-toll express lanes (NTELs). Other facility types include bus-only lanes, truck-only lanes, bus-on-shoulder (BOS) lanes, static part-time shoulder use (S-PTSU) lanes, and dynamic part-time shoulder use (D-PTSU) lanes. Specialty facilities located on signalized arterials and local streets (e.g., designated bus-only lanes through a downtown) are not included in the inventory. The inventory provides raw data and aggregations based on project location (e.g., State, county, metropolitan region), facility owner, facility operator (inclusive of public and private entities), and lane-miles. The main questions the report seeks to answer are: (1) how many of these specialty lanes exist, (2) what types of special services do they offer, and (3) where are they located?

High occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV) are the oldest incarnation of managed lanes (ML), dating to the 1970’s. Fundamentally, HOV lanes are free “carpool” lanes, open only to vehicles having two or more persons, their purpose being to promote and reward carpooling as an altruistic means of traveling, but also to enhance air quality mitigation and enable responsible regional transportation management. In the intervening decades, the term “managed lanes” has evolved to include a broad menu of specialty lanes and facilities like high occupancy toll lanes (HOT), bus-only lanes, and part-time shoulder use.

Managed Lanes are informally defined as highway facilities, a lane, or a set of lanes, where operational strategies are proactively implemented and managed in response to changing conditions. They consist of three main types: price managed lanes, like HOT lanes, vehicle “eligibility” lanes, like HOV, truck or bus lanes, and vehicle “permission” lanes, like part-time open shoulders and a.m. and p.m. entry and use restrictions. Conceptually, Managed Lanes are based upon flexible operating strategies and active management of the transportation system and provide the perspective needed for integrated operations leading to improved performance.

managed lanes

Program Initiatives