Systems at Work

Express lanes in Southern California

91 Express Lanes (Orange County) – This $130 million, fully automated facility is a 10-mile, four-lane toll project located within the median of SR 91, an existing eight-lane freeway between SR 55 in Orange County and the Riverside County line. This project connects rapidly growing residential areas in Riverside and San Bernardino counties with major employment centers in Orange and Los Angeles counties. The facility was opened to traffic on December 27, 1995 and is America's first toll road to employ variable congestion pricing. To maintain free-flow conditions, tolls vary during the day with traffic volumes, direction and other factors. The facility is also the world's first fully automated toll road utilizing electronic transponders to collect tolls.

SR 91 Eastbound (Recorded on Friday, May 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm) 

Question: Which lanes are carrying more traffic?

Answer: The Express Lanes (two left lanes) are carrying 1,692 vehicles per hour per lane, while the General Purpose lanes (four right lanes) are carrying 842 vehicles per hour per lane. By maintaning optimal volumes, the Express Lanes are able to carry approximately twice the volume per lane during congested periods.

91 Express Lanes (Riverside County) – The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) opened the 91 Express Lanes from Corona to Riverside in 2017. The 91 Project added two tolled express lanes in both directions to the 91 in Corona, replacing the existing carpool lanes. 


I-15 Express Lanes (San Diego County) – The I-15 Express Lanes were developed by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and Caltrans as an innovative “expressway within a freeway.” The 20-mile, state-of-the-art Express Lanes facility between SR 163 and SR 78 was completed in January 2012. This project features four lanes and replaces the previous eight-mile, two-lane Express Lanes, which opened in 1988. These four lanes feature a moveable barrier for maximum flexibility; multiple access points to the general purpose highway lanes; and direct access ramps for high-frequency Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service. The I-15 Express Lanes were funded in part by the TransNet half-cent sales tax, the $1.4 billion project is designed to maximize capacity, relieve congestion, and “wow” travelers.