WSDOT Express Lanes System Plan for Seattle, WA, USA, Urban Area

WSDOT Express Lanes System Plan for Seattle, WA, USA, Urban Area


R Fellows, Washington Department of Transportation, US; J Marcuson, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc, UK


Washington Department Of Transport Express Lanes System Plan for Seattle, WA, USA, Urban Area


Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is in the process of developing a regional plan to develop an interconnected system of Express Lanes in the Greater Seattle, WA, USA, Urban Area. It is anticipated that the Express Lanes will be comprised of existing HOV (High Occupancy Vehicles Lanes) facilities that will be modified to permit the operation of single occupancy vehicles which pay a toll (High Occupancy Toll, or HOT Lanes). WSDOT has already incorporated the HOT technology on SR 167 on the south side of the Greater Seattle Urban Area.

The Express Lane system will consider both single and dual-lane options. The interconnected system of Express Lanes will include I-5, I-405, I-90, SR 520, and SR 167. These are the main urban highways that serve the greater Seattle Area. Both I-90 and SR 520 are floating bridges (across Lake Washington).

(A graphic of the Seattle Urban Area will be developed with the Final Paper)

The current system includes both single-lane HOV Lanes and 2- and 4-lane reversible lanes (that change direction by time of day, on both I-5 and I-90). The only urban highways that does not include a HOV Lane is the section of SR 520 that bridges across Lake Washington (floating bridge as per above). The process to replace the SR 520 floating bridge is scheduled to be begin in 2010-2011, and SR 520 is scheduled to be widened shortly after that. In the meantime, WSDOT is in the process of developing a system of ?Pre-Tolling? SR 520 to initiate funding for the SR 520 bridge replacement project. By initiating tolling sooner, the revenue collected will occur faster and the average toll paid will be substantially less (spread over a longer period of time).

The current SR 167 HOT Lane has variable tolls (pricing) that are adjusted along with traffic congestion (the tolls typically range from $1.50 to $2.50 per trip). It is envisioned that all the congestion pricing that will be included in all the Express Lane system will use electronic toll collection, only.

The major tasks of the project will be:

- Defining the Express Lane Concept and Supporting Policies
- Defining Design Elements and Constraints
- Conceptual Design for Express Lane Options on I-5
- Implementation Planning


Association for European Transport