The initial congestion pricing pilot project, Metro ExpressLanes, converted 11 miles of carpool lanes on the I-110 Harbor Freeway between the 91 freeway and Adams BL and 14 miles of carpool lanes on the I-10 El Monte Freeway between I-605 and I-710 in both directions.
The Metro ExpressLanes program, primarily funded with a $210.6 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to convert existing high occupancy vehicle lanes into dynamically-priced high-occupancy toll lanes, is one of six projects developed to reduce congestion.
The Metro ExpressLanes program is a one-year demonstration developed to improve traffic flow and provide enhanced travel options in the Los Angeles area with the use of automated electronic readers and in-car transponders.
Overseen by the California Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the gross annualized revenue is estimated to be $20 million for both corridors, which, per State law, must be reinvested into the corridor from which it was generated in transit and/or carpool lane improvements.
The ExpressLanes user tolls will vary from 25 cents to the maximum of $1.40 per mile for solo drivers while car-poolers remain toll free. The dynamically-priced congestion pricing helps to manage demands and keep the lanes free-flowing.
Electronic toll signs are present at each entry location to inform motorist of current fees.
The top row displays the toll amount to travel from that entrance point to the next major entrance, while the second row displays the toll amount to travel from that entrance point to the end of the toll lanes.
All motorist traveling in the ExpressLanes, with the exception of motorcyclist, are required have a FasTrak transponder present within their vehicle. Carpool vehicles are also required to travel with a transponder.
Standard FasTrak transponders can be used in the ExpressLanes but will be required to pay a toll regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle.
Carpool commuters are required to obtain a switchable FasTrak transponder in order to waive the toll.
The new switchable transponders allow the motorist to select one of three variations depicting the number of occupants in the vehicle; Solo Driver, 2 Person Carpool, or 3+ Person Carpool.
The FasTrak transponder must be set prior to entering into the ExpressLanes. Once engaged, the transponder will lock in at the current settings and toll fee.
The ExpressLanes use automated electronic readers placed alongside the corridors to collect electronic tolls from the transponders located in the vehicle eliminating the need of toll booths.
The overhead readers automatically scan each passing vehicle for the presence of a FasTrak transponder. If none is detected, a photo enforcement camera snaps a picture the violating vehicle’s license plate. The registered owner is responsible for the toll and an administrative fee that will be mailed out.
In addition to the overhead readers, the California Highway Patrol visually monitors both corridors.
In order to assist CHP, the overhead readers automatically check passing vehicles occupancy setting. Flashing enforcement beacon lights in close proximity to the scanners indicate the number of occupants in any given vehicle.
Misusing the FasTrak transponder and claiming more passengers then actively present will result in an occupancy violation, a minimum fine of $341.
The ExpressLanes are in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
AAA member can receive a 20% discount per new account set-up while Albertsons and Costco offer similar discounts of up to 10% off.
Tolling began on Nov 2012 on the I-110 and Feb. 23 on the I-10.