FAST Express Lanes

Better use of existing roads can reduce traffic and improve transportation choices

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.

Express lanes, also known as high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, have the potential to help. 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. 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 transit alternatives and other strategies to reduce driving and traffic congestion, like express buses, vanpools, rideshare and carpool programs, 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.yeah

The Bay Area needs FAST express lanes

The Bay Area already has express lanes on I-680-South, I-580 in the Tri-Valley area, and the SR 237/I-880 corridor, with plans for a larger network throughout the region. 

Unfortunately, the current plans fall short of their potential. The Bay Area’s planned network would spend $6 billion in revenue from express lanes on the highways themselves, including hundreds of miles of highway expansion but no commitment to funding public transit. 

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.By 2019, we want Bay Area transportation agencies to have at least two “Optimized HOT” demonstration projects in place and to devote at least 50% of express lane revenues to alternatives to driving and put a program in place to ensure low-income families share in the benefits of the network.

By 2019, we want Bay Area transportation agencies to have at least two FAST express lane demonstration projects in place, devoting at least 50% of toll revenues to alternatives to driving, with a program to ensure low-income families share in the benefits of the network. We also want Caltrans to eliminate roadblocks to this approach throughout the state.

Piloting FAST express lanes on Highway 101

Traffic on Highway 101 between San Francisco and Gilroy is a nightmare. 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.

Let us know if you want to get involved!

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For more information, contact Clarrissa Cabansagan or sign up for updates on the campaign.