Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Considerations for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lane Conversions Guidebook

Photo of congested traffic on a major highway Photo. Freeway with Toll lane.

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Prepared for the

HOV Pooled-Fund Study
and the
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Prepared by

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
8283 Greensboro Drive
McLean, VA 22102

Under contract to
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

June 2007

Printable Version [PDF 2.10 MB]
To view PDF files, you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Contact Information: Jessie Yung, P.E., via e-mail at


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or the use thereof.

The contents of this Report reflect the views of the contractor, who is responsible for the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Department of Transportation.

This Report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers named herein. Trade or manufacturers’ names appear herein only because they are considered essential to the objective of this document.

Technical Page


This document was prepared by HNTB and Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. and received extensive comment from the HOV Pooled Fund Study (PFS) Group.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1. Introduction and Overview

1.1 What are High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes?

1.1.1 HOT Lane Characteristics and Applications

1.2 Purpose of the High Occupancy Toll Lane Guidebook

1.3 Study Approach/Methodology

CHAPTER 2. High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Policy and Planning

2.1 Baseline Performance Framework for High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes

2.2 Understanding the Effects of Converting an HOV Lane to HOT Lane

2.2.1 Shifts from HOV to LOV and from LOV to HOV

2.2.2 Shifts from other Routes and Times

2.2.3 Second-order Effects and Long-Run Equilibrium

2.3 Key Planning and Policy Criteria

2.3.1 Legal and Institutional Challenges

2.3.2 Building Support for HOT Lanes

2.3.3 Application of Project Development Approach

2.3.4 Unique Project Risks/Challenges

2.4 Project Financing

CHAPTER 3. HOT Lane Implementation and Design

3.1 Organization and Management

3.1.1 Participation

3.1.2 Organization and Management Plan

3.2 Public Private Partnerships (PPPs)

3.3 Procurement Strategies

3.4 Procurement Options

3.4.1 Procurement Sequencing

3.5 Procurement, Implementation and Construction Issues

3.6 HOT Lane System Design

3.6.1 Geometric Requirements

CHAPTER 4. HOT Lane Operations and Management

4.1 Lane Management

4.2 Toll Collection Operations

4.2.1 Transponder and AVI Technology

4.2.2 Video Tolling

4.2.3 System Operations

4.3 HOT Lane Enforcement

4.3.1 Concept of Operations

4.3.2 Facility Design Considerations

4.3.3 HOT Lane Enforcement Functions

4.3.4 Recent Experience with HOT Lane Enforcement

4.3.5 Best Practices in HOT Lane Enforcement

4.4 Signage

4.5 Incident Management


5.1 Data Collection Approach

5.2 Focused Interviews

5.3 San Diego, CA I-15 Express Lanes

5.3.1 Project Objectives

5.3.2 Concept of Operations

5.3.3 Innovative Project Features

5.3.4 Major Project Challenges/Mitigation Actions

5.3.5 Major Lesson Learned

5.3.6 Keys to Project Success

5.4 Minneapolis, MN I-394 Express Lanes

5.4.1 Project Objectives

5.4.2 Concept of Operations

5.4.3 Innovative Project Features

5.4.4 Major Project Challenges/Mitigation Actions

5.4.5 Major Lesson Learned

5.4.6 Keys to Project Success

5.5 Denver, CO I-25 Express Lanes

5.5.1 Project Objectives

5.5.2 Concept of Operations

5.5.3 Innovative Project Features

5.5.4 Major Project Challenges/Mitigation Actions

5.5.5 Major Lesson Learned

5.5.6 Keys to Project Success

CHAPTER 6. Direction for Future Practice

6.1 Best Practices

6.1.1 Project Pre-Planning and System Planning

6.1.2 System Design

6.1.3 Project Financing

6.1.4 Implementation

6.1.5 Operations and Management

6.2 Lessons Learned

6.3 Direction for Future Practice

6.3.1 Legislative

6.3.2 Electronic and Video Toll Payment

6.3.3 Enforcement

6.3.4 Occupancy Enforcement

List of Acronyms


List Of Tables

Table 3—1: Managed Lane Cross-section Standards

Table 3—2: Operational Impacts of Physical Design Options

Table 4—1: Lane Management Control Strategies

Table 5—1: Facility Characteristics

Table 5—2: Operational Characteristics

List Of Figures

Figure 2—1: Effects From Converting to HOT lanes

Figure 2—2: Public Outreach Model Used at MnPass

Figure 2—3: Sketch Development Approach

Figure 3—1: Stages of HOT Lane Project Development

Figure 3—2: Benefits vs. Risks

Figure 3—3: Access Control Diagram for MnPass

Figure 3—4: MnPass Variable Message Sign

Figure 4—1: Enforcement equipment used in MnPass

Figure 4—2: Sample HOT Signage

Figure 4—3: Sample HOT Lane Signage

Figure 5—1: Location of Hot Lane Case Studies

Metric conversion chart

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

Approximate Conversions to SI Units
Skip to table for converting from SI unitsSkip both tables and go to end of page Symbol When You Know Multiply By To Find Symbol
Length in inches 25.4 millimeters mm
ft feet 0.305 meters m
yd yards 0.914 meters m
mi miles 1.61 kilometers km
Area in² square inches 645.2 square millimeters mm²
ft² square feet 0.093 square meters
yd² square yards 0.836 square meters
ac acres 0.405 hectares ha
mi² square miles 2.59 square kilometers km²
Volume fl oz fluid ounces 29.57 milliliters ml
gal gallons 3.785 liters l
ft³ cubic feet 0.028 cubic meters
yd³ cubic yards 0.765 cubic meters
Mass oz ounces 28.35 grams g
lb pounds 0.454 kilograms kg
T short tons (2,000 lbs) 0.907 megagrams Mg
Temperature (Exact) °F Fahrenheit temperature 5(F-32)/9
or (F-32)/1.8
Illumination fc foot-candles 10.76 lux lx
fl foot-lamberts 3.426 candela/m² cd/m²
Force and Pressure or Stress lbf pound-force 4.45 newtons N
psi pound-force per square inch 6.89 kilopascals kPa


Approximate Conversions from SI Units
Go back to table for converting to SI UnitsSkip table and go to end of page Symbol When You Know Multiply By To Find Symbol
Length mm millimeters 0.039 inches in
m meters 3.28 feet ft
m meters 1.09 yards yd
km kilometers 0.621 miles mi
Area mm² square millimeters 0.0016 square inches in²
square meters 10.764 square feet ft²
square meters 1.195 square yards yd²
ha hectares 2.47 acres ac
km² square kilometers 0.386 square miles mi²
Volume ml milliliters 0.034 fluid ounces fl oz
l liters 0.264 gallons gal
cubic meters 35.71 cubic feet ft³
cubic meters 1.307 cubic yards yd³
Mass g grams 0.035 ounces oz
kg kilograms 2.202 pounds lb
Mg megagrams 1.103 short tons (2,000 lbs) T
Temperature (Exact) °C Celsius
1.8 C + 32 Fahrenheit temperature °F
Illumination lx lux 0.0929 foot-candles fc
cd/m² candela/m² 0.2919 foot-lamberts fl
Force and Pressure or Stress N newtons 0.225 pound-force lbf
kPa kilopascals 0.145 pound-force per square inch psi


* SI is the symbol for the International System of Units. Appropriate rounding should be done to comply with Section 4 of ASTM E380. Back to text.

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Operations

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

June 2007
Publication #FHWA-HOP-08-034