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13th International HOV/HOT Systems Conference: Partnerships for Innovation - Conference Proceedings
September 7-9, 2008
Minneapolis, MN

OPENING SESSION
Katherine F. Turnbull, Texas Transportation Institute, Presiding

Welcome from the Conference Planning Team

Katherine F. Turnbull
Texas Transportation Institute

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) 13th International High-Occupancy Vehicle/High-Occupancy Toll (HOV/HOT) Conference. I had the privilege to serve as the Chair of the Conference Planning Team, which included members from the TRB HOV Systems Committee and local agencies here in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The names of the Planning Team members are included in the conference program. Please thank these individuals for their hard work when you talk with them during the conference.

The theme of this conference is Partnerships for Innovation. That theme reflects the involvement of numerous individuals, agencies, and corporations needed to ensure successful HOV/HOT facilities. It also reflects the groups involved in organizing and sponsoring this conference. The TRB HOV Systems Committee and the Managed Lanes Joint Subcommittee are the main sponsors of the conference. I would like to thank Rich Cunard from TRB for his assistance in developing the conference.

In addition to TRB, other supporters of the conference include the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT), the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities, Metro Transit, the Center for Transportation Studies and the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) of The Texas A&M University System, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). FHWA, through the assistance of Jessie Yung, is supporting the development of the conference proceedings.

I would also like to recognize the corporate partners supporting the conference. Barrier Systems is the supporting partner for the reception this evening. SRF Consulting Group, Inc. is the supporting partner for today’s luncheon, and Parsons Brinckerhoff is the supporting partner for the luncheon on Tuesday. AECOM was the partner for the breakfast this morning and Fehr & Peers is the sponsoring partner for tomorrow’s breakfast. The assistance of these corporate sponsors is greatly appreciated.

The speakers in the general session and the breakout sessions will be covering numerous topics of interest, including recent HOV and HOT projects, the Urban Partnership Agreement (UPA) and Congestion Reduction Demonstration (CRD) programs, and transit, ridesharing, and other supporting activities.

I hope you will find the topics timely, the speakers informative, and the conference beneficial. I encourage you to share your experiences and ideas with others during the sessions and the breaks. I also hope you will have the opportunity to walk around the University of Minnesota campus and see some of the Twin Cities. Thank you.

Welcome from the TRB HOV Systems Committee

Ginger Goodin, HOV Systems Committee Chair
Texas Transportation Institute

On behalf of the TRB HOV Systems Committee, it is a pleasure to welcome you to the 13th International HOV/HOT Conference. I would like to thank Katie and the Planning Team for organizing the conference program. I would also like to echo Katie’s recognition of the conference agency and corporate sponsors. Their support is greatly appreciated.

The TRB HOV Systems Committee has been in existence for almost 20 years. The committee has made significant contributions to the profession in the fields of HOV and HOT facilities, supporting services, planning, enforcement, and performance monitoring. Katie will be highlighting more of the committee’s history in her presentation this morning.

One of the committee’s roles is to facilitate information sharing, communication, and the dissemination of research findings. This conference provides an excellent venue to learn about new HOV/HOT projects, innovative partnerships, and the latest research studies. With all the transportation challenges facing communities throughout the country, the field is rapidly evolving into new areas, including HOT lanes and managed lanes. While there are numerous projects to learn from, including those here in our host city, and more being implemented, I think most of us would agree that we still have much to learn.

I am very encouraged to see many new people attending the conference. You represent the future of the transportation profession. We had an excellent committee meeting last night with lively discussions on a number of important topics. The committee will continue to actively promote needed research, information sharing, and technology transfer.

I invite you to take very opportunity at this conference to learn something new, to meet new people, and to join us in advancing our field. I hope you enjoy the conference. Thank you.

Innovation and Partnerships at the Minnesota Department of Transportation

Tom Sorel, Commissioner
Minnesota Department of Transportation

Thank you. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to welcome you to Minnesota and this conference. In addition to the tour of the I-394 corridor this afternoon, I hope you will be able to see some of the Twin Cities. It is a great place to visit and a great place to live.

I am very excited about the conference theme, “Partnerships for Innovation.” Innovation is very near and dear to my heart. I talk about the role of innovation in shaping the future. I talk about innovation a lot as I truly believe that if we are innovative in all we do, good things will happen. Partnerships are equally important. We need to have a spirit of partnering to address the transportation challenges we face. I believe we have that spirit of partnering in Minnesota. I will share some examples of partnerships that have been key to advancing transportation projects in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and in the state.

It has been a very busy year in Minnesota. The Republican National Convention was held in St. Paul last week. The transportation system worked very well during the convention thanks to partnering among all the agencies and groups involved. Mn/DOT and other agencies were actively involved in planning for the convention. Innovative approaches to traffic management were also important elements during the convention.

I think you are all aware of the collapse of the I-35W Bridge a year ago. The bridge collapse, the innovative strategies utilized to manage traffic without the bridge, and the design and construction of the new bridge all have far-reaching implications for the transportation community. The collapse of the bridge was a tragedy. There were 13 fatalities as a result of the bridge collapse, and 144 individuals were injured.

From a transportation perspective, the bridge collapse resulted in more than the loss of the bridge and more than the loss of a vital segment of the interstate system in the Twin Cities. The bridge collapse resulted in the loss of the public’s trust and confidence in Mn/DOT’s ability to provide for their safety and mobility. We have to regain the public’s trust and confidence. We know that this process will take time and that it will not be easy.

The impact of the bridge collapse was felt by transportation agencies, policy makers, and the public throughout the country. It focused attention on the need to adequately maintain our transportation infrastructure and the funding necessary to maintain and rehabilitate key segments of the transportation system.

Partnering and innovation were key elements of the response to the bridge collapse. The immediate response was characterized by teamwork among all the agencies and groups involved. The response was also characterized by, what I like to call a servant-leadership philosophy, which focuses on serving others. The recovery effort involved numerous diverse groups. Bridge removal experts were brought in. Navy divers assisted. Contracts for the bridge removal had to be developed and awarded.

Partnering and the willingness of all groups to work together was key to the response and recovery effort. It has also been the key to rebuilding the bridge, which will be open to traffic in a few weeks. The partnering among the designers, the builders, the environmental agencies, the City of Minneapolis, FHWA, community groups, and others made it possible. We have worked hard in Minnesota on environmental streamlining. We had policies and procedures in place to ensure a comprehensive environmental review in a timely manner. I believe that the partnering displayed in the response, recovery, and rebuilding of the bridge will help regain the public’s trust and confidence in Mn/DOT.

Partnerships have also played key roles in many transportation projects in the area. The development, implementation, and operation of the HOV lanes on I-394 and I-35W represent a partnership among federal, state, and local agencies. The expansion of the I-394 HOV lanes to HOT lanes, with the introduction of the MnPASS project, built on the existing partnerships among public agencies, and added new private sector partners.

The UPA represents further evolution of the transportation partnerships in the metropolitan area. I am very excited about the UPA projects, which you will hear more about from other speakers during the conference. Innovative elements in the Minnesota UPA include expanding the existing HOV lanes on I-35W to HOT lanes, adding new HOT lanes, and implementing a priced dynamic shoulder lane (PDSL) to provide a congestion-free travel option in the corridor. Other elements are a telecommuting program and numerous transit projects, including new and expanded park-and-ride facilities and transit services, the dual bus lanes in downtown Minneapolis, real-time transit information, and a lane guidance system for shoulder-running lanes.

The development of the successful UPA proposal was built on the strong long-standing working relationships among agencies, jurisdictions, and organizations in the Twin Cities. In Minnesota, we value those relationships. We understand that it takes time to develop and maintain strong relationships and partnerships. The benefits of investing time and resources in building partnerships are significant. Those relationships will result in the successful deployment of the UPA projects.

As I travel around the state, I talk about 21st Century solutions for 21st Century problems. I did not invent that phrase. You have heard it from U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. I believe we need to address issues with solutions for the future, not the present.

I also talk about the potential for the private sector to invest in the transportation infrastructure in the state. We are examining different approaches for possible private sector investments. We realize there are concerns associated with some aspects of private investments or ownership of transportation assets. We are carefully examining possible approaches and ensuring the public interest is protected.

I hope you enjoy the conference and your visit to the Twin Cities. You will have the opportunity to see the new I-35W Bridge and the I-394 MnPASS HOT project this afternoon. I encourage you to share your ideas and experiences with others during the conference. Thank you.

That Was Then/This Is Now – Changes Since the 1988 HOV Conference in Minneapolis

Katie Turnbull
Texas Transportation Institute

In addition to welcoming you to the 13th International HOV/HOT Conference, it is my pleasure to provide an overview of the changes that have occurred with HOV and HOT facilities at the national level since 1988 when the 3rd International Conference was held here in Minnesota. I thought it might be of help to set these changes in the context of cultural changes that have occurred over the past 20 years.

For example, in 1988, the television program with the highest Neilson rating was “The Cosby Show.” In 2008, “American Idol” captured the top spot. At the box office, “Rain Man” was the highest grossing movie of 1988. The “Dark Knight” has been leading box office receipts in 2008.

On the sports scene, the San Francisco 49ers won the 1988 Super Bowl. The New York Giants are the reigning Super Bowl Champions. In 1988, the Los Angeles Dodgers captured the World Series. We are still a few weeks away from the end of the regular season this year, but since we are in Minnesota, I will predict that the Twins will win the 2009 World Series.

You could mail a first class letter for 25 cents in 1988. Mailing that same letter today will cost you 42 cents. A gallon of gasoline cost about $1.08 in 1988. Current prices at the pump are averaging $3.89 for regular unleaded gasoline.

Turning toward transportation, if you said “ATM” in 1988, people would think you were referring to the newly introduced automatic teller machines. Of course we know “ATM” today as Active Traffic Management. If you said “hybrid” here in Minnesota in 1988, most people would probably think of hybrid corn and other vegetables grown in the state. “Hybrid” today refers to fuel-efficient vehicles operated on gasoline and electricity, which are allowed to use HOV lanes in some states. Finally, in 1988, BLT and PBJ were well known as bacon, lettuce, and tomato and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. These days, a bus rapid transit (BRT) sandwich would be a little hard to digest.

HOV facilities were still a relatively new approach in 1988. By providing travel-time savings and trip-time reliability to buses, vanpools, and carpools through priority treatments, HOV lanes encouraged travelers to change from driving alone to using one of these HOV modes. HOV facilities increase the person – not vehicle – throughput of congested travel corridors.

In 1988, some 25 HOV lanes on freeways and in separate rights-of-way were in operation in 17 metropolitan areas in North America. Concurrent flow HOV lanes accounted for approximately 54 percent of the operating HOV facilities. Exclusive HOV lanes represented 32 percent of the total, busways accounted for 15 percent, and contraflow HOV lanes accounted for one percent. The exclusive HOV facilities included the Houston transitways, the El Monte busway in Los Angeles, and the Shirley Highway HOV lanes in northern Virginia. Busways were in operation in Ottawa and Pittsburgh. Concurrent flow HOV lanes were being implemented in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and other areas. The contraflow lanes were in the New York/New Jersey area.

Construction of I-394, which represented the last major segment of the Interstate system in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, was underway in 1988. It was constructed on the alignment of Highway 12, a signalized four-lane roadway. A number of innovative strategies and project elements were used with the I-394 HOV lanes. These activities were accomplished through the coordinated efforts of Mn/DOT, the Metropolitan Transit Commission (now Metro Transit), the Metropolitan Council, the Regional Transit Board, the Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota Rideshare, and communities in the corridor. Consulting and marketing firms also assisted with a number of elements.

An interim HOV lane, called the Sane Lane, was implemented and operated to help manage traffic during construction, to introduce the HOV concept of travelers in the corridor, and to build use for the final facility. Market research was conducted to test the interim HOV lane concept and the name, to identify appropriate outreach and information dissemination methods, and to obtain feedback on different promotional messages. A comprehensive marketing and public information program was developed and conducted based on the market research results. The program included a HELP-394 telephone hotline, a Sane Lane radio jingle, media relations, paid advertising and public service announcements, periodic newsletters, brochures, posters, and other outreach activities.

The I-394 Transportation Systems Management Plan guided the development of the supporting facilities and services. Transit stations and park-and-ride lots were constructed at strategic locations in the corridor. Additional express bus service was implemented to take advantage of the travel-time savings and improved trip-time reliability provided by the HOV lanes. Three parking garages, with approximately 6,000 parking spaces were constructed on the edge of the downtown Minneapolis. The project included a direct connection from the HOV lanes and a transit station was located in one of the garages. Discounted parking rates are provided to carpools and vanpools using the I-394 HOV lanes. The garages also provided direct access to the skyway system, which is an extensive second floor bridge and walkway system in the downtown area. Other elements of the plan included a variety of rideshare promotions and extensive marketing and public information programs.

An extensive evaluation was conducted for the Sane Lane and final HOV lanes. The evaluation included analyzing use of the HOV lanes, the parking garages, park-and-ride lots, and transit services. Travel-times in the HOV lanes and the general-purpose freeway lanes were recorded. Surveys of users and non-users were conducted.

You are all familiar with the trends that occurred in metropolitan areas throughout the country over the past 20 years. These trends include increases in vehicle miles traveled (VMT), increases in automobile ownership, increases in population, and increases in employment. All of these trends resulted in increasing levels of traffic congestion on freeways and roadways.

HOV facilities represent one approach used in many metropolitan areas to deal with increasing congestion levels. Other techniques include intelligent transportation system (ITS) ATM, and the use of electronic toll collection (ETC) on priced facilities. At the same time, innovative financing strategies, including public/private partnerships, have been promoted in many areas to address funding constraints.

In 2008, HOV facilities are operating in 34 metropolitan areas in North America. A change has occurred since 1988 in the most common type of HOV lane found in areas throughout the country. Approximately 81 percent of these facilities are concurrent flow HOV lanes. Exclusive HOV lanes represent 10 percent of the current facilities, while busways and contraflow lanes account for 5 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

The terms value pricing, HOT lanes, and managed lanes were not part of the transportation vocabulary in 1988. Today, HOT projects are in operation in San Diego, Houston, Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and on I-394 here in Minneapolis. Expanding the HOV lanes on I-95 in Miami to a HOT lane will be implemented soon.

HOT projects allow single-occupancy or lower-occupancy vehicles to use an HOV lane for a fee. The existing projects have been implemented for a number of reasons, including using available capacity, managing HOV demand, generating revenues, providing mobility options, and testing new technologies.

You will be hearing more about the MnPASS HOT project on I-394 and you will have the opportunity to see the facility on the tour this afternoon. The project represents the first expansion of a concurrent flow HOV lane to a HOT lane. The unlimited access allowed during the HOV operation was changed to ingress and egress only at designed locations.

Other areas allow low emission/energy-efficient vehicles, including qualifying hybrid vehicles, to use the HOV lanes without meeting the occupancy requirements. The Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) includes provisions for states to authorize use of the HOV lanes by these types of vehicles. Operating agencies must monitor the HOV lanes and take action if the use by hybrid vehicles degrades the travel-time savings and trip-time reliability of the facilities. At least nine states have legislation allowing hybrids to use HOV lanes.

The factors contributing to the success of HOV projects are very similar to the keys to successful HOV/HOT lanes today. First, HOV/HOT lanes must be designed and operated to provide a safe environment for users of the facility and travelers in the general-purpose freeway lanes. Second, transit services and facilities are key to maximizing the throughput of a facility and providing mobility operations for travelers. Express bus services, BRT, park-and-ride lots, and transit stations are important elements of many HOV/HOT projects. Regional ridesharing programs and employer-supported programs represent a third key element. These programs may include computerized rideshare matching, vanpool programs, guaranteed ride home programs, preferential parking locations and reduced parking fees for carpools and vanpools, and other employer incentives to use alternative commute modes. Fourth, public education, outreach, and marketing are important to successful HOV/HOT projects. Public education is a critical part of opening a new HOV/HOT facility. Ongoing marketing is also important, however, as we live in a mobile society, with people changing employment and residential locations.

Enforcing the vehicle-occupancy requirements, toll payments, and operating procedures represents still another key to successful HOV/HOT projects. Without adequate enforcement, which typically includes both personnel and technology, motorists may violate the occupancy and toll requirements. Enforcement personnel are also needed to ensure that operating requirements are met to provide a safe environment. Proactively managing all aspects of the facility is also an important key to success.

Finally, HOV/HOT projects require partnerships among agencies in a metropolitan area or region. Agencies typically involved in HOV/HOT projects include the state department of transportation, the transit agency, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), cities, counties, the regional rideshare agency, the state patrol and local police departments, and other agencies. In addition, representatives from the FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are frequently involved in planning activities and review of operations if federal funds are used on a project. Recent HOT projects have also involved public/private partnerships.

The I-394 HOV lanes, the expansion to the MnPASS HOT project, and the Minnesota UPA provide good examples of the public agency partnerships critical to the success of HOV lanes and the public/private partnerships associated with expansion to HOT projects. Planning, implementing, operating, and enforcing the I-394 HOV lanes involved Mn/DOT, the Metropolitan Council, the Regional Transit Board, the Metropolitan Transit Commission, Minnesota Rideshare, the Minnesota State Patrol and local police departments, and the cities of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and Minnetonka.

The public/private partnership implementing and operating the MnPASS project includes Wilber Smith Associates and Cofiroute. You will be hearing more about the Minnesota UPA from other local partners, including Mn/DOT, the Metropolitan Council, which also operates Metro Transit, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA), the Center for Transportation Studies and the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, the City of Minneapolis, and Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, and Ramsey counties.

The TRB HOV Systems Task Force was established in 1987. In 1988, Task Force members were developing a request for full committee status, which was approved in 1989 with the help of numerous people, including some of you in this room. The Committee has been one of the more active TRB committees over the years.

The Committee has sponsored 13 international conferences. The first conference was held in Orange County, California. Conference locations include Houston, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Ottawa, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Dallas. Seattle, Houston, and Minneapolis have hosted two conferences.

Proceedings have been published on 11 of these conferences. In addition, the Committee has sponsored paper, poster, and invited presentation sessions at the TRB annual meetings. After publishing a newsletter for many years, the Committee joined the Internet generation with a website.

Committee members have developed numerous research problem statements, which have resulted in funded research projects through a variety of programs. Examples of research projects include the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) HOV Systems Manual, the FHWA HOV Marketing Manual, the FHWA HOV Demand Estimation Procedures Manual, the National Highway Institute (NHI) HOV Training Course, and the FHWA HOT Training Course. Additional HOV/HOT projects have been sponsored by FHWA and numerous states through the Pooled-Fund Study group. The Committee took the lead in forming the Managed Lanes Joint Subcommittee and is the host committee.

Finally, the Committee began an awards program in 2000 to recognize individuals and agencies for excellence in planning and operating HOV/HOT facilities, innovative outreach and public education programs, and research projects. The 2008 awards will be presented at the luncheon on Tuesday.

What might we expect to see 20 years from now when Minneapolis hosts the 2028 conference? On the sporting scene, I am sure the Vikings will have finally won a Super Bowl and the Twins will be playing in the World Series. On the HOV/HOT scene, we may have hybrid HOT (HHOT) lanes and hybrid truck HOT (HTHOT) lanes. You will hear more over the next two days about current trends and future activities related to HOV/HOT lanes.

I encourage you to actively participate in the conference and I hope you will find the sessions and speakers interesting and informative. Thank you.

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