In an attempt to ease congestion in Los Angeles, city officials announced on Wednesday the deployment of an electronic toll system that allows single passenger vehicles to shift into high-occupancy vehicle lanes.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will convert portions of Interstate 10 and Interstate 110 from HOV lanes to tolled "ExpressLanes" under a program managed by fare firm ACS, a Xerox company.
The move will allow people driving alone to travel in existing car pool lanes, for a toll. Interestingly, tolls will vary based on the average speed of traffic traveling in the ExpressLanes.
General purpose lanes on the roads will remain free for all vehicles.
The traditional alternative to LA's congestion would have been adding new lanes, an expensive undertaking. Rolling out the toll system is a way to more efficiently use existing infrastructure, officials say.
A few points about the system:
- Vehicles travelling in ExpressLanes must have a FasTrak toll account and a transponder.
- Drivers will flip a switch on their transponder so the toll system knows if they are driving alone (and thus should be charged) or part of a car pool (and thus admitted for free).
- Sensors on the interstate will calculate any tolls and automatically deduct the proper amount from the driver’s prepaid account.
- The ExpressLanes are designed to keep traffic moving at a minimum of 45 miles per hour.
Construction for the project is scheduled to begin by the middle of this year. The lanes are scheduled to open to traffic in late 2012.
Photo: Jeremy Stanley/Flickr
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