, Senior Fellow, SLPP, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
I-394 MnPASS was Minnesota's first road pricing project, designed to achieve greater efficiency through improved utilization of existing lanes. Past leadership has argued successfully that road pricing should be tested and implemented, resulting in legislation authorizing the conversion of HOV (High-Occupancy Vehicle) lanes to pay-per-use HOT (High-Occupancy Toll) lanes. Working with the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, the team working on this project coordinated and facilitated the ongoing implementation and evaluation of MnPASS on I-394 along with enhanced transit applications. In addition, the project team examined the public, political, and technical feasibility of HOT lane alternatives in such corridors as I-35E, I-35W, and I-494. This included community planning, stakeholder analysis, and outreach activities. Specific efforts included giving presentations to elected officials, transportation advocacy groups, and other interest groups, as well as the formation of community value pricing advisory groups for corridors with potential pricing applications.
The I-394 MnPASS Phase II Planning Study was a multi-agency collaboration that evaluated four major study elements and their relationships in a congestion priced urban corridor. These included transit, land use, infrastructure, and telecommuting. A foundation for this work was the understanding that high-cost capacity expansions were not likely to occur in the corridor for 25 to 30 years despite forecasts of increasing congestion that may threaten efficiency gains achieved with conversion of the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to high occupancy toll (HOT) lane operation. Recommendations identified in this study are being used to guide investments in corridor facilities and services by transportation authorities, and will also be used by communities adjacent to the corridor. Transit supportive land use recommendations, if implemented, can help ensure that a high level of service is maintained in the corridor for all users. While specific funding for implementation of these recommendations was not identified prior to the planning process, several compelling transit, land use, and telecommuting recommendations are currently being advanced for programming. This project is a valuable case study and potential model for linking land use, transit, telecommuting, and congestion pricing in a high-demand urban corridor.