MnPASS Modeling and Pricing Algorithm Enhancement

Principal Investigator:

John Hourdos, Director, MN Traffic Observatory, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering


Project Summary:

The MnPASS high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on I-394 and I-35W are unique because of their fully dynamic pricing schedule. This uniqueness translates to MnDOT leading the state-of the-art and practice, but it also means there are no benchmarks to measure against. It is generally unknown if the current pricing algorithm is the most efficient alternative. In this project, the researchers will develop and calibrate a microscopic traffic simulation model that can accurately depict MnPASS operations on I-394 and I-35W. Using this platform, as well as results of prior studies on freeway users' value of time, they will investigate improvements to the MnPASS pricing algorithm that will trade off maximizing expected through-put for travel time reliability. Specifically, a lane choice model that considers sensitivity of demand to changes in toll rates as well as expected travel time and travel time variability on HOT and general purpose (GP) lanes will be developed. This model will be interfaced with the microscopic simulation model to control the decision of I-394 and I-35W users on whether the HOT facilities are used. The combination of the two will allow exploration of both congestion pricing and operational aspects of the MnPASS algorithm.


Project Details: