Measuring the quality of service for High Occupancy Toll lanes operations

Xiaoyue Liu, Guohui Zhang, Yao Jan Wu, Yinhai Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lane systems have been proposed as one of the most applicable countermeasures against freeway congestion. Under HOT lane operational scheme, a Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) can pay to access HOT lanes in exchange of travel time saving or enhanced trip reliability when excess HOT lane capacity is available. Compared with regular freeway facilities, HOT lane systems demonstrate unique characteristics in facility capacity, driver behavior, travel pattern, demand modeling, and trip reliability. This study aims at conducting a comprehensive performance analysis on two representative HOT lane systems of State Route 167 in Washington and I-394 MnPass in Minnesota based on the field data collected from traffic sensors and transponder toll tags. Performance measurements are proposed to quantify the quality of service for HOT lane operations. Three critical issues are addressed in this study: 1) the speed-flow relationships in HOT lane systems, 2) quantified system-wide travel time savings and travel time reliability achieved, 3) SOVs tolling incentives. Based on the empirical analysis and evaluation results for the SR 167 and I-394 MnPass HOT lane systems, operational problems and challenges are also identified. Although the HOT lane system preserves favorable travel reliability, under-utilized HOT lane capacities were observed. The existing tolling strategies may be modified for better SOV allocation for HOT lane usages and further optimize the overall HOT system operations. The research findings greatly advance our understanding on HOT lane system operation mechanisms and are complementary to the freeway facility performance analysis provided by Highway Capacity Manual 2000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
StatePublished - 2011


  • High-Occupancy Toll (HOT)
  • Performance measreument
  • Quality of service
  • Single occupancy vehicle (SOV)
  • Travel time reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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