The Transportation Modernization Act will create choice lanes for state roads. The bill will allocate more than $3 billion for infrastructure projects across the state, and it includes several notable features that aim to ease traffic congestion and enhance public transportation options.
One of the key elements of the transportation bill is the implementation of pay-to-use express lanes on some of Tennessee’s busiest highways. These lanes will be open to passenger vehicles, but not to trucks. The hope is that these additional lanes will help to reduce overall traffic and improve travel times for all drivers.
Price-managed lanes are not a new concept in the United States. They allow drivers to pay a fee to bypass congestion, with the fee increasing as traffic becomes heavier. According to the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), more than half of the tolling facilities that have opened in the United States in the past decade have been for price-managed lanes. They can be found in several states, including Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.
One of the significant benefits of implementing choice lanes is that they can help metropolitan areas improve their public transportation systems. The toll lanes function as virtual busways, allowing express buses and bus rapid-transit systems to provide faster and more dependable service than on congested highways. For current and potential public transportation riders, on-time performance is a critical factor, and the use of toll lanes can significantly improve the reliability of bus travel.
Additionally, the buses using the toll lanes will not be required to pay any fee, making public transportation more accessible and affordable for Tennessee residents. This is crucial since access to reliable and affordable public transportation can have a significant impact on residents’ quality of life, especially those who may not have access to private vehicles.