Truck Only Lanes

Via Planetizen, at least nine states are looking at truck-only lanes.

5 responses to “Truck Only Lanes”

  1. What about truck lanes that can double as toll lanes for vehicles that do not have commercial vehicle transponders?

    It is in the best interest of our economy to improve the flow of freight in and around the metro area, so we could opt not to charge the tolls to commercial vehicles (those with transponders, as are used at weigh stations). All other vehicles could use the lanes for a price.

    Alternatively, we could consider charging tolls to the through traffic, whether commercial or not (e.g., a tolled version of Seattle’s express lanes, but open in both directions 24 hours a day), the idea being that through traffic would help pay for the maintenance of the roadway they use, but traffic with a local origin/destination would be subsidized for the benefit of the local economy. Obviously, proof of a local origin/ destination would have to be provided at the toll booth in order to avoid the fee.

  2. I think the idea of freight only lanes makes sense in some areas. In particular, around the Port of Portland and Swan Island. A freight only lane might also work to spur freight dependent business development in targeted areas such as Damascus.

    As for sharing those lanes with other traffic, I think that is something to be resisted at all costs. I don’t think it is realistic that the freight only lane won’t clog with commuter traffic or that once it does there will be the political will to throw the commuters off in order to free up space to keep the trucks moving. I think using the freight lanes to move transit vehicles would be a different story.

    In fact, if limited to commercial vehicles, the freight only lanes could be testing grounds for some of the more futuristic traffic control devices. It would be easier to equip commercial vehicles with the proper technology to safely operate with reduced tolerances.

  3. In fact, if limited to commercial vehicles, the freight only lanes could be testing grounds for some of the more futuristic traffic control devices.

    Indeed! That is an excellent suggestion.

    I agree that it would be preferable to keep non-commercial vehicles out of the freight lanes. Sharing the lanes with transit would certainly be appropriate and desirable depending on where the lanes were routed. I suggested it as a means for financing the construction of the freight lanes and/or required access control measures, because there does not seem to be a lot of political will to do anything in the way of increasing revenue, and any construction costs would have to be paid off somehow. Ideally we could finance and construct freight/transit lanes without having to derail the concept by allowing non-commercial use, even if it was tolled to help finance the project.

    Another potential target corridor: NE Sandy from close to the Troutdale airport to I-205, Columbia Blvd from I-205 to I-5, and N Columbia or perhaps Marine Drive from I-5 to the Port area. If this corridor was a viable high-speed freight-only highway it would all but eliminate freight traffic on I-84 from Troutdale to downtown. I would also guess that a parallel two-way frontage road would be required in many places for employees of the businesses located along that corridor.

  4. I’d love to see a test of freight-only lanes coupled with freight-only electronic tolling. Trucks would pay a toll to travel on the highway and would have all lanes available to them; in exchange, there would be one lane reserved for freight (and possibly buses).

    Potentially, if implemented state-wide, freight-only tolls could replace the weight-mile tax in Oregon (which I understand creates anniying paperwork) and pay for the maintenance of the entire state highway network while keeping the freight moving.

  5. A great place for a truck only lane would a truck bypass lane on the northbound on-ramp from Marine Drive to I-5. Trucks could bypass the meter and enter the freeway at higher speeds. Car delays would be greater, but this traffic could be mitigated with a MAX extension to Hayden Island along with a local street connection between Hayden Island and Expo Road.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *