The era of highway expansion is over in the Bay Area — it only leads to more traffic and pollution. It’s time to rethink our roads to improve transportation choices for everyone and plan for the future of transportation, not the past.
Done right, express lanes, also known as high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, can help meet our transportation, environmental, and equity goals. Express lanes let carpools and buses get out of traffic – and then, if the lanes aren’t full, allow solo drivers to use them for a fee. But too often, express lanes are created by widening a highway, which undermines the value of this solution.
A FAST express lane is Fast, Affordable, and Sustainable Transportation — created by converting an existing lane, instead of widening. Toll revenues and cost savings are dedicated to affordable alternatives to solo driving, like express buses, vanpools, ride-sharing, active transportation, and reduced fares or tolls for low-income commuters.
Note that in the past we used the term “Optimized HOT” lanes instead of FAST express lanes. Both terms refer to the same concept.
The Bay Area needs FAST express lanes
Unfortunately, the current plans fall short of their potential. The Bay Area’s planned network would spend much of the $6 billion in revenue from express lanes on thundreds of miles of highway expansion without a commitment to funding public transit.
A TransForm report shows that FAST express lanes are a better option. Converting an existing lane would save money, reduce environmental impacts, be implemented much faster, and free up funds to put towards better transportation choices. Learn more from our FAQ.
Piloting FAST express lanes on Highway 101
Traffic on Highway 101 between San Francisco and Gilroy is a nightmare and getting worse, with few viable alternatives to the gridlock. And Silicon Valley is the innovation capitol of California and the nation, so it’s a perfect place to pilot FAST express lanes.
San Mateo County government and transit agencies are studying solutions, including FAST express lanes and widening the highway to create an express lane. We are working with a growing coalition of transportation, equity, and environmental groups on the Peninsula to call for FAST express lanes on Highway 101 as the most efficient, equitable, and sustainable solution to the traffic problem.
- FAQ about FAST Express Lanes on 101
- TransForm’s report proposing a better approach to Highway 101, Innovation Required: Moving More People with Less Traffic
- Our infographic showing what "Optimized HOT" looks like
- TransForm’s white paper critiquing current plans for the Bay Area's express lanes network
- TransForm’s 2014-2019 Strategic Plan
- Express lane efforts across the region: