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Enhancing Managed Lane Equity Analysis

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  05/18/2023

Summary:

Managed lanes offer transportation agencies a strategy for reducing congestion and improving travel times along urban highways. These designated corridors, known as E-ZPass lanes in Minnesota, are free to transit riders and carpoolers during high-traffic times and available to solo drivers for a fee. There’s a common perception that higher income communities and individuals are the primary beneficiaries of E-ZPass lanes. New research shows that E-ZPass lane users are, in fact, relatively diverse in terms of race and income. Transportation agencies also have new tools to maximize equity considerations in highway planning for managed lanes. In this study, researchers first compared the demographics of E-ZPass lane users to the overall demographics in the general areas where the managed lanes are located. They found that because 80% of E-ZPass lane users were carpoolers or transit riders, E-ZPass lane users are slightly more diverse and have similar income levels to overall travel shed users. Researchers identified nine metrics to evaluate potential equity impacts in transportation planning and environmental studies. Agencies can use these measures not only in planning for managed lanes but planning for any highway project. Other study recommendations included methods for further enhancing managed lane equity and improving equity evaluation within transportation planning processes.

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