ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.
Issue link: http://www.aspiremagazinebyengineers.com/i/297006
12 | ASPIRE , Summer 2013 P E R S P E C T I V E In 2011, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott and the Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, created the Florida Transportation Vision for the 21st Century. This vision establishes a bold roadmap for advancing the most innovative transportation system in the country. Many strategies and innovative tools are part of this vision, expanding choices for users and making our transportation system more efficient. The availability of express lanes on our most congested corridors is one of these important tools. In an effort to get the most capacity out of our existing highways, states throughout the nation have employed a wide variety of "managed-lane" strategies. As part of these strategies, designated special lanes within a highway facility, or sometimes all lanes of an entire facility, are managed in response to changing conditions. These strategies may include controlling accessibility to these lanes, vehicle eligibility, pricing, or a combination of these tools. Examples of managed lanes include high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, truck-only lanes, bus rapid-transit lanes, reversible lanes, and express lanes. "Express lanes" is the term used in Florida to describe the state's approach t o i m p l e m e n t i n g m a n a g e d l a n e s strategies. These barrier-separated tolled lanes within an existing highway allow congestion to be managed by limiting the number of access points to the special lanes, and by charging variable toll rates throughout the day, depending on congestion levels. Tolled express lanes have proven to be successful on highly congested facilities, providing individuals a choice of paying a toll to bypass congestion and experience more reliable travel times. Express lanes will be a necessary solution for many Florida urban areas, with plans for express lanes in southeast Florida, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Orlando. I m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f e x p re s s l a n e s in Florida is made possible by recent federal and state laws that allow tolling of new capacity on existing facilities. This new capability is critically important to addressing Florida's long-term transportation needs. In traditional freeway capacity expansion projects, non-tolled, general-purpose lanes are built, and may provide only 20 years of acceptable level of service. A dynamically tolled express lane, however, can adapt to future conditions using technology that adjusts toll rates, and provides individuals with the ability to make travel choices based on real- time traffic information. The driver can compare the estimated tolled and non- tolled travel times, and decide whether the current toll rate is worth the travel time savings and reliability of the express lanes. At the heart of the system is dynamic tolling. When sensors detect the express lanes are beginning to reach capacity, the price increases incrementally, thereby reducing the number of drivers that choose the express lane option, and maintaining reliable travel speeds on the tolled lanes. As the express lanes begin to stabilize, the price is adjusted downward accordingly, enticing more drivers to choose the express lanes. This constant balancing process is repeated continually throughout the day. Dynamic pricing on the express lanes even benefits those who choose never to use the lanes, because when drivers divert to the express lanes, they free up more capacity in the general-purpose lanes. A s F l o r i d a a d v a n c e s i t s n e w t r a n s p o r t a t i o n v i s i o n , F D O T i s beginning to form an interconnected network of express lanes. The success of the 95 Express project in Miami- Dade County has created momentum to continue planned extensions along I-95 in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Expansion of the express- l a n e c o n c e p t e n c o m p a s s e s o t h e r facilities in the southeast Florida region, including I-595, I-75, and the Palmetto Expressway, creating a need to develop a Regional Concept of Operations for the Southeast Florida Express Lane Network (ELN). Successful implementation of a regional network requires a high degree of coordination among all regional stakeholders and agreement on a framework for policy by Ananth Prasad, Florida Department of Transportation Providing New Transportation Opportunities in Florida Express lanes, dynamic tolling critical to Florida's managed-lane strategy As part of the Florida Department of Transportation's interconnected network of express lanes, the 95 Express project in Miami-Dade County has created momentum to continue planned extensions. All photos and diagrams: Florida Department of Transportation. Book_Sum13.indb 12 7/1/13 6:56 AM