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Freeway Toll Lanes Seem to Speed Things Along, Somewhat: Study

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The first comprehensive analysis of Los Angeles County’s experimental toll lanes indicates the pay-to-drive routes made some rush-hour commutes faster and less painful, both in the toll lanes and in the free lanes, but made little to no difference for many drivers battling morning traffic.


Metro officials could extend the toll lane experiment on the 110 and 10 freeways, possibly signaling a new era of congestion pricing. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

According to an independent report prepared for federal transportation officials, the toll lanes along the 110 and 10 freeways didn’t significantly change overall traffic speeds during peak periods for drivers using either the tollway or the general lanes.

But for individual drivers on the freeways at certain times, the experimental lanes may have made a significant difference: Drivers heading west on the 10 Freeway toll lanes at 7:30 a.m. may have driven up to 18 mph faster than they could have before the tollway opened, the report said. But on the northbound 110 Freeway at 8 a.m., commuters in the free lanes crept toward downtown Los Angeles at 21 mph, the same speed as before the lanes opened.

A summary of the report will be presented at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s downtown board meeting Thursday, when directors will consider whether to extend toll lane operations beyond next January.

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