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Managed Lanes: On the Road to Sustainability

For years, OCTA has employed managed lanes as one of many tools to encourage carpooling and promote transit usage, improve travel-time reliability, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle-miles traveled (VMT), and maximize the efficiency of freeways while reducing congestion and delay.

Following OCTA's purchase of the 91 Express Lanes in 2003, it became among the first to offer congestion management pricing to optimize traffic at free-flow speeds while encouraging free carpooling during certain hours. In 2007, OCTA led an effort to add Continuous Access Carpool Lanes on freeways, when it made them available on SR-22. These lanes, where a driver can enter or exit a carpool lane at any point, can now be found on freeways throughout Orange County.

Today, OCTA continues its commitment to a balanced and sustainable highway system that recognizes the importance of reducing VMT while increasing efficiency. Orange County is unique in that nearly all of the non-tolled freeways have carpool lanes. This is 85% percent of all freeway lanes in Orange County. Statewide, Orange County is second only to Los Angeles County in the number of carpool lane miles.

Examples include nine freeway-to-freeway carpool connectors throughout Orange County that allow carpool lanes to merge quickly and effortlessly, thereby encouraging commuters to share vehicles, and five carpool-direct carpool connectors to local streets. On the horizon is the SR-55 Improvement Project, which will include demand management and HOV strategies as well as multimodal components to maximize space and reduce pollutants and emissions. In addition, to help manage congestion on one of the country's busiest freeways, OCTA will add the 405 Express Lanes, incorporating the existing carpool lanes and a new lane in each direction between SR-73 and I-605.

In all, these efforts help reduce congestion and amplify environmental goals by encouraging drivers to share the ride and take trips when roads are less congested.

For additional details about OCTA freeway projects, visit here.

More Freeway Information

  • OCTA invests 43 percent of OC Go funds into the freeway system. With major upgrades included for SR-91 in north Orange County, I-5 in south Orange County, I-405 in west Orange County and SR-55 in central Orange County, major chokepoints on almost every freeway will be improved, increasing safety and mobility throughout Orange County. Other funding is provided by state and federal sources.
  • Since 2003, OCTA has dedicated nearly $800 million in 91 Express Lanes toll revenues to transportation improvements along SR-91, including for bus and rail transit, improvements to the existing freeway corridor and funding set aside for future projects.

Additional Resources

Owned and operated by OCTA, the 405 Express Lanes helps tens of thousands of drivers every day speed up their commutes with a reliable time-saving option for traveling through one of the nation’s busiest stretches of highway.
Transportation leaders and elected officials gathered December 1 to celebrate the successful completion of OCTA’s I-405 Improvement Project, which aims to improve travel times along one of the nation’s busiest highways.
Work continues on the SR-55 (I-405 and I-5) Improvement Project to help ease the drive for commuters. The $475.1 million project will improve mobility and reduce congestion on the freeway, a vital link from central Orange County to the coast.