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Bay Area Express Lanes Network

San Fransicso, California, US

Client: Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Parsons Brinckerhoff Role: Prime Consultant on Multiple Contracts

Bay Area Express Lanes Network
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is developing a tolled express-lane network with toll-free use offered to carpools, vanpools, motorcycles, buses and eligible clean-air vehicles. Single-occupancy vehicles will be given the option of paying a toll to use the express lanes and avoid congestion. Tolls for solo drivers will vary according to the level of congestion and will be collected electronically using FasTrak technology. The MTC’s decision to implement the tolled express-lane network was made after Parsons Brinckerhoff conducted a technical and financial feasibility study to determine if adding congestion pricing to both existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes as well as newly constructed lanes would promote mobility and make better use of existing vehicle capacity. We then determined costs, identified potential design exceptions and evaluated phased implementation options for converting the HOV lanes to tolled express lanes. Our studies and evaluations culminated in the project’s inclusion in the Regional Transportation Plan. Parsons Brinckerhoff then prepared an application to the California Transportation Commission seeking approval to implement the network. The application included a Project Study Report addressing the toll network’s technical and financial feasibility, social equity issues and impacts on regional express-bus service. Once the application was approved, the MTC moved forward with plans to implement the express-lane network by first converting 150 miles (241 kilometers) of existing carpool lanes to tolled express lanes and then constructing another 120 miles (193 kilometers) of new express lanes. The first phase of implementation, scheduled for opening in 2015, involves converting 90 miles (145 kilometers) of existing carpool lanes in Contra Costa, Alameda and Solano counties and on the westbound approaches of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, San Mateo Bridge and Dumbarton Bridge to tolled express lanes. Parsons Brinckerhoff developed the concept of operations plan for the tolled lanes (the plan will be updated and modified over the course of the project) and we are working on procedures for incident management, enforcement and network maintenance. We are also providing MTC with management and technical support, including schedule monitoring and oversight of the consultant responsible for environmental documentation and preliminary engineering.

Parsons Brinckerhoff’s work on mass transit systems includes the planning, design, and maintenance of modern bus systems that greatly improve urban mobility, while meeting 21st-century priorities such as energy efficiency and lower emissions. Our services cover every major component of a bus rapid transit system, including bus lanes and busways, stations, and maintenance facilities. Parsons Brinckerhoff has worked on highly advanced bus rapid transit projects around the world—systems that combine the latest technology for efficient, low-impact vehicle operations with state-of-the-art busway, station, and signaling designs. Projects include U.S. systems such as the Franklin Corridor EmX system in Oregon (Eugene to Springfield), which is being expanded as part of a program to further enhance regional transit service, and the popular Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) and ACE Express bus systems in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our bus projects also include the South East Busway Extension in Brisbane, Australia—an expansion of an existing system that will help meet the transportation needs of growing local communities.

Bus rapid transit offers a distinctive combination of reliability and flexibility that makes it an effective solution to meet urban transit demands. PB’s broad technical and project management expertise—backed by more than a century of experience in the development of transportation systems worldwide—makes us an effective partner in the planning and development of advanced bus systems.