High Occupancy Toll Lanes sprouting all over the USA

I-15 Express Lanes: San Diego's HOT lane system is truly multi-modal and very user-friendly to all 2+ HOV's. MTS Rapid buses serve the corridor from early morning until late night and only solo drivers have to have a FasTrak and pay tolls.

By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director

They're popping into major highway corridors all over the country like hotcakes. They are called high occupancy tolled express lanes.

91 Express Lanes 3 Ride Free: 3+ HOV's with a FasTrak-registered vehicle and transponder travel toll-free except eastbound between 4-6pm Monday through Friday where HOV tolls are 50% off.
Such lanes gives drivers access to a set of 1-2 free-flowing freeway-speed traffic lanes where tolls are collected through an electronic toll collection system. Here at home, an extension of the 91 Express Lanes is under construction through Corona and additional HOT express lanes are proposed for the I-15 and I-10 corridors.

To use the HOT lanes in the Inland Empire as a toll-paying driver, motorists have to pre-register for the ETC or FasTrak toll transponder in which tolls are deducted automatically from the account when one travels through the corridor. Under the ETC system, motorists don't have to stop at a toll plaza to pay.

I-10 Metro ExpressLanes: LA Metro Silver Line, Foothill Transit Silver Streak Rapid Express, and additional local-plus express buses serve the HOT lanes and the iconic El Monte Busway corridor.
HOT lane tolls increase as traffic density and congestion within the corridor increases. Carpools and other high occupancy vehicles are normally given toll-free or discounted access. Within Riverside County, 3 or more persons per vehicle is slated to be the carpool for the 91 and I-15 HOT lanes with a required FasTrak transponder. Currently, the registered 3-person HOV's travel free on the 91 Express Lanes except between 4-6pm during the eastbound commute hour Monday-Friday where 3+ tolls are 50%. Such congestion pricing is meant to minimize traffic congestion within the lanes as demands go up.

If designed right, high occupancy vehicles, express transit buses, and toll-paying non-HOV's will be able to get around the Inland Empire quickly with the dual express lane infrastructure in each direction which would certainly increase multi-modal transit options.

I have quite a bit to talk about the proposed Inland Empire toll lanes. So buckle up.


  1. They need to get rid of the asinine transponder requirement.

  2. Tolls and congestion pricing threaten to ghettoize fixed-guideway systems, and that outcome would be untenable from a land-use perspective. Economic sustainability depends on breaking apart geographic concentrations of poverty and integrating populations by socioeconomic class. High-quality transit systems that appeal to rich, poor, and middle class alike are essential to those processes.

    Variable speed limits should, instead, keep freeways free and allow transit to better compete on travel time, instead of price.

    Building any new highway lanes is a mistake. Instead, some existing lanes should be converted to tollways and dedicated to use by trucks and buses exclusively.

    Lastly, we should be converting more grade-separated and limited-access highway segments to boulevards.


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