A HOT Idea Catches on in Cold Country

Posted on May 10, 2005
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Valley residents spend an average 49 hours a year in traffic jams. Until now, Minneapolis drivers were similarly stuck.

But next week, authorities will get traffic moving when Minnesota converts underused HOV lanes into HOT lanes, which means solo drivers who are willing to pay a toll will be able to use lanes formerly reserved for carpoolers. "When traffic is light, the toll might be 25 cents. When traffic's at a standstill, the toll could hit $8," according to USA Today. Carpoolers can still use the lanes for free. With technological advances in toll collection, including EZPass systems, HOT lanes don't require toll booths and tolls may be debited from a pre-paid account.

Converting HOV lanes into HOT lanes can ease congestion and raise revenue for additional highway improvements. Valley transportation expert John Semmens recommends the use of HOT lanes, among other ideas, for easing congestion in the Valley in his Goldwater Institute report, Buses, Trains and Automobiles: Finding the Right Transportation Mix for the Phoenix Metro Region.

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