In Minneapolis, Minnesota, survey data collected prior to the deployment of MnPASS Express Lanes (HOT lanes) on I-394 examined travelers' willingness-to-pay to avoid congestion.

22-26 January 2006
Minneapolis,Minnesota,United States

Summary Information

In May 2005, Minnesota implemented High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes along 11 miles of Interstate 394 from downtown Minneapolis through the western suburbs. The system, also known as the I-394 MnPASS Lanes, operates in a similar fashion to the facilities in Southern California, where commuters purchase electronic transponders and drive through gantries, which automatically deduct the toll. Tolls are variable and determined by the number of commuters in the HOT lanes. Typical peak period tolls run between $1 and $4; but they can go as high as $8 during periods of unusual congestion. The more congested the lanes, the higher the toll. The goal of the system is to maintain the free flow nature of the managed lane and improve the overall effectiveness of the corridor. The evaluation of the facility, sponsored by Minnesota DOT focuses on the design and results of the the baseline attitudinal survey.

The evaluation team worked to establish a process that would not only collect comprehensive, reliable data after the project opened, but also collect similar information beforehand in a baseline survey. An evaluation team was assembled that included representation from MnDOT, the State and Local Policy Program at the University of Minnesota, a statistical survey firm, FHWA, MetroTransit, the consultant team, the communications and marketing team, and other researchers interested in the data. The attitudinal panel survey for the MnPass evaluation consisted of three periods, or waves, of data collection. The results provided below are from the first wave that took place before implementation of the HOT lanes. Most of the survey data was collected through the use of a computer-assisted telephone interview questionnaire. Questions were asked of participants in two different ways with each respondent assigned a version at random.

The survey results indicated:
  • 59 percent of travelers would pay $2 to save 20 minutes
  • 40 percent would pay $2 to save 15 minutes
  • 23 percent would pay $2 to save 10 minutes
  • less than 10 percent would pay $2 to save 5 minutes.
  • Willingness-to-pay decreased as toll rates increased. Virtually no one was willing to pay more than $6 for any amount of time savings.

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Pricing Comes to Minnesota: Baseline Attitudinal Evaluation of the I-394 HOT Lane Project

Author: Douma, Frank. Johanna Zmud, and Tyler Patterson

Published By: Paper presented at the 85th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting

Source Date: 22-26 January 2006


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Benefit ID: 2008-00550