If you can’t add signs to it, then you shouldn’t build it! As with any transportation project, if the user does not understand how to use the facility, the effectiveness of the project is diminished. With priced managed lanes falling within one of the most complicated transportation facilities, it’s imperative that the signage be evaluated early in the development process. All too often, this aspect of the project is overlooked, or put off, until too late in the development stages. This leads to late revisions in access locations, plan development, and public outreach strategies.

Guidelines for the location of priced managed lanes access openings identify lane change criteria. This allows a driver the ability to maneuver across general purpose lanes in a safe manner. This maneuver is done to either access the priced managed lanes, or exit from the general purpose lanes. These guidelines, however, do not take into account the ability to provide the proper signing information, which gives a driver enough information to make the decision on whether to use the lane due to:

  • Price – Is it too high?
  • Location – How far is it to the access location?
  • Exits – Can I get to my exit from this access location?
  • Access Restrictions – What type of restrictions are there to use these lanes (HOV, No Trucks, All Pay, etc.)?

Proper decision making distance and time is a must for a driver to safely maneuver the corridor. Not evaluating this early on could affect the access locations, which could ultimately affect the traffic and revenue forecasts that are done early on in the project development process. It’s recommended that a conceptual signing plan be developed as part of the priced managed lanes access location process. This will allow the agency to identify proper access locations based upon usage and effectiveness. This conceptual signing plan should include entry and exit signing for the priced managed lanes, as well as the approximate locations of these signs. As an agency, it’s important to convey clear signage and messages to the drivers.

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About the author

Michael Davis, PE, DBIA
Michael Davis, PE, DBIA
Mike serves as the Tolls Service Group Leader for RS&H and has more than 22 years of experience in the transportation industry, including 15 years dedicated to managed lanes and tolling. During his diverse career, he has helped manage the development of managed lanes systems throughout the United States, including Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and California.