Economies of scale reduced projections for MnPass managed lanes operations & maintenance costs to $50,000 per mile.

Researchers assessed potential costs of managed lane systems to manage traffic flow.

September 2010

Summary Information

In 2005, Mn/DOT completed the MnPASS Phase 1 study identifying the next set of roadways to be considered for managed lanes. That study assumed that the first MnPASS lanes would be conversions of the existing HOV lanes on I-394, and perhaps later, on I-35W. Any further MnPASS lanes would have to be created from scratch as there are no other HOV lanes for conversion in the Twin Cities Metropolitan region. Whereas the MnPASS Phase 1 study assumed that any new MnPASS lanes would have to involve construction of new capacity to full highway standards, this Phase 2 study assumed a smaller envelope (i.e., corridor width) could be used to develop a MnPASS corridor. This change grew out of Mn/DOT’s experience with the I-35W managed lane in which Mn/DOT used a priced dynamic shoulder lane (PDSL) to develop the additional lanes with minimal impacts and changes in the overall roadway footprint. Given this new ability to reduce impacts and costs, Mn/DOT wanted to reevaluate potential corridors to determine the best candidates for the next MnPASS facilities.

The purpose of the Phase 2 study was to analyze and make recommendations for the next generation of MnPASS managed lane projects in the Twin Cities metropolitan region. This Phase 2 study assumed that new MnPASS lanes would be managed toll lanes that provide new capacity parallel to general purpose traffic lanes, in which all vehicles (except transit), are required to pay a toll. The MnPASS lanes would be dynamically priced so that free-flow uncongested operation is always maintained by increasing the price as volume in the managed lane increases.

When the MnPASS lane on I-394 was opened, the total cost for roadway operations and maintenance and back office functions (processing payments, record keeping, etc.) was about $1.2 million annually, or about $120,000 per mile. With the addition of the I-35W MnPASS lane, total costs increased to about $1.3 million, since the administrative and back office functions could be shared across both roadways. Thus, the per mileage cost was reduced to $55,000 (regardless of whether the MnPASS lane is in one direction or both, since the total number of individual users will be similar in either direction). With the further expansion of the MnPASS system, continued economies of scale should be realized in back office operations, and so a conservative estimate of $50,000 per mile was assumed. Note that for this analysis, O&M costs were assumed to include back office transactions, maintenance of all transponder readers, and electricity to operate the system. It does not include typical roadway pavement or snow/ice type of maintenance.

This report, dated September 2010, conveys the savings that expanded managed lane systems can offer. This report also includes cost information for structures, roadway construction, Advanced Traffic Management (ATM), roadway connections, and risks. These findings along with the costs provide a valuable resource to those considering the implementation of advanced technology for managed lane systems.

System Cost Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this System Cost

To comment on this summary, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


MnPASS System Study Phase 2: Final Report

Published By: Minnesota DOT

Prepared by Cambridge Systematics for the MnDOT

Source Date: September 2010


System Cost

Operations and Maintenance - I-394 Corridor - $120,000 per year per mile.
Operations and Maintenance - Additional Corridors - $50,000 per year per mile.


Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this System Cost

(click stars to rate)


congestion pricing, value pricing, variable road pricing, managed lanes, managed lanes, toll, HOV, HOT

Cost ID: 2014-00318