The National Academies

NCHRP 15-49 [Completed]

Guidelines for Implementing Managed Lanes

  Project Data
Funds: $750,000
Research Agency: Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Principal Investigator: Kay Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., P.E.
Effective Date: 8/16/2013
Completion Date: 11/15/2016

Managed lanes are highway facilities or a set of lanes where operational strategies are proactively implemented, such as pricing (e.g., tolls, value pricing), vehicle eligibility (e.g., vehicle occupancy, vehicle type), access control (e.g., limited entry/exit points, use of shoulders), traffic control (e.g., variable speed limits, reversible lanes), or a combination of these strategies.  Managed lanes provide a holistic approach based upon flexible operating strategies and the proactive management of both the facility and travel demand to improve or maintain system performance. Numerous domestic and international agencies have either constructed or are planning managed lanes. Each of these facilities is unique and presents issues and challenges as they are often implemented in high demand, congested, or constrained corridors.  Currently, there is no singular guidance to assist transportation agencies implementing managed lanes. AASHTO’s A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (The “Green Book”) and other similar guides do not explicitly address the wide range of issues and complexity associated with managed lanes.  Some information on managed lanes is included in the AASHTO Guide for High-Occupancy Vehicle Facilities and the AASHTO Guide for the Design of Park-and-Ride Facilities, but since the primary subject matter of these documents is related to HOV lanes, they do not address all of the complex managed lanes issues in sufficient detail to serve as a national guide document on the subject.  Research is needed to facilitate a better understanding of the unique planning, design, operations, and maintenance considerations associated with managed lanes, and how these factors interact. Managed lanes also have unique aspects related to financing, project delivery, public outreach, enforcement, and system integration that should be considered in each step of the project development process. A guide is needed to support decisionmaking by practitioners at all levels of experience with managed lanes so they can be implemented with the highest probability of success.  
The objective of this research is to develop guidelines for the planning, design, operations, and maintenance of managed lanes. The final product should be the primary reference on managed lanes and complement other national guidelines.  It should be applicable to practitioners at all levels of experience with managed lanes and be used to support informed decisionmaking. The scope of this project is limited to managed lanes on freeways and expressways. 

The final deliverables will include: (1) the guidelines as a stand-alone document; (2) a final report that documents the entire research effort; (3) an executive summary in the final report that outlines the research results; and (4) a Microsoft® PowerPoint presentation and presenter’s notes describing the background, objectives, research method, findings, and conclusions. The research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints and at least one face-to-face interim report review meeting. As part of the workplan, the research team will be expected to present the results at up to two meetings of AASHTO committees or other relevant national organizations to be determined by the NCHRP upon completion of the guidelines. 

STATUS: The Guide has been released as NCHRP Report 835

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