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Congestion Pricing Debuts in L.A.

AP covers the opening of the first toll lanes in LA county: 110 Freeway Express Lanes that allow solo-drivers to use a carpool lane for a toll that varies with the level of congestion (i.e. congestion pricing). Shoup asks: "Why did it take so long?"
November 13, 2012, 10am PST | Irvin Dawid
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The 11 miles of converted High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or carpool) lanes of the 110 Freeway from the 91 Freeway to downtown LA (see map) is a one-year pilot program. The lanes also go by the term, High Occupancy Toll (HOT) but will convert to HOV if speeds drop below 45 mph, according to this CBS news video report recorded opening night, Nov. 10.

"Toll roads and lanes have existed for years in neighboring Orange County and are standard on the East Coast but a novelty in Los Angeles County, and one that advocates say is long overdue and should reduce congestion for drivers in other lanes, too."

"It's about time," said Donald Shoup, a UCLA urban planning professor who has long lobbied for toll lanes and other methods of using markets to reduce congestion. "They work in San Diego; they work in many other cities. We have the worst congestion . and it's odd that we're one of the last cities to try it out."

According to KABC-TV/DT Los Angeles, prices range from "25 cents to $1.40 per mile depending on the time of day and amount of traffic. Metro estimates that it will cost a solo driver $7 per day to use the new lanes - that's $35 for a five-day workweek or $145 a month."

All vehicles using the express lanes, including carpoolers and motorcycle riders who will not be charged, "must set up an ExpressLanes FasTrak account and get a FasTrak Transponder", according to KABC-TV.

Next up for HOT conversion is a "14-mile toll lane along Interstate 10 planned for next year, and similar lanes could end up spanning the region, with scores of existing carpool lanes converted for tolls from individual drivers."

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, November 11, 2012 in AP via San Jose Mercury News
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