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MANAGED LANES: Los Angeles declares ExpressLanes project a success

Higher-than-projected tolling revenue, transponder sales push L.A. Metro to make new lanes permanent

Traffic Management News Streetsblog Los Angeles July 10, 2014
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L.A. Metro revealed at its April board meeting that its ExpressLanes trial—which added new toll and bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes to I-10 and I-110—has exceeded expectations on all fronts, with transponder sales and tolling revenue well above projections. With these numbers in hand, the agency unanimously agreed to make the program permanent.
 
The ExpressLanes trial opened on I-110 in late 2012 and on I-10 in early 2013. L.A. Metro converted carpool lanes to create the new toll lanes and added BRT lanes for Metro Silver Line buses. The agency hoped to sell 100,000 transponders allowing use of the toll lanes, but final totals revealed 259,000 transponders were sold. At the same time, the lanes have generated $19 million in revenue over the first year, easily eclipsing the projections of $8 to $10 million.
 
Concurrently, ridership on the Metro Silver Line—which has been in operation since 2009—reportedly rose 52% over the course of the year-long pilot. L.A. Metro purchased 59 new buses for the Silver Line and buses are now arriving every 4-6 minutes as opposed to the 30-minute wait times experienced previously.
 
The system has not been perfect, as Silver Line riders reported heavy congestion along I-110 in May thanks to increased use of the toll lanes. L.A. Metro responded by raising the price for solo drivers to use the express lanes and even closed the express lanes to solo drivers if speeds were consistently below 45 mph.

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