HOT Lanes Can Improve Access and Options, Reduce Traffic Congestion in Maryland

Benefits of The New American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-70 Traffic Relief Plan using a HOT Lanes approach…

  • reduction in local roadway network delays;
  • replacement of 60-year-old aging infrastructure;
  • new and expanded opportunities for transit and ridesharing;
  • new and expanded bicycle and pedestrian connections; and
  • better connections to existing transit services on local roads.

Why HOT Lanes?

HOT lanes offer single-occupancy vehicle motorists the option to travel in the existing free lanes as they do now, or pay a toll to travel in lanes that are dynamically priced to give them more reliable, faster trips when they need them most. Dynamic pricing continually adjusts tolls to respond to real-time traffic to maintain a free-flowing level of traffic in managed lanes. In November, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) announced the approved toll rate ranges for Phase 1 South after an extensive public comment process. Because high-occupancy vehicles (HOV 3+) travel in HOT lanes for free, motorists would also have new opportunities and incentives for carpooling, vanpooling and rapid bus transit service. Existing general purpose lanes throughout the corridor would be retained and remain free for use by all motorists.

The section of interstate from the American Legion Bridge to Frederick is one of the nation’s most heavily congested corridors. The Phase 1: New American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-70 Traffic Relief Plan, the first major project under Op Lanes Maryland, is part of a historic effort to reduce congestion for millions of travelers in the National Capital Region by working collaboratively with the community, local, state and federal agencies and the private sector to design, build, finance, operate and maintain improvements along the corridor. These improvements will transform the way we travel through the corridor by providing more opportunities for transit, ridesharing, bike and pedestrian access while maintaining the existing general-purpose lanes as free lanes.

Under the Preferred Alternative, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) recommended providing two High Occupancy Toll (HOT) managed lanes along the corridor in each direction. As we review comments received on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) and continue with predevelopment work for Phase 1 South of the New American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-70 Traffic Relief Plan, we thought it was important to convey our reasoning behind this recommendation.

This content was originally shared via Op Lanes Maryland’s e-mail distribution list on February 11, 2022.

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