Canada’s first High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes will open soon as part of a pilot project on the QEW–between Trafalgar Road in Oakville and Guelph Line in Burlington–to help manage congestion and add another option for travellers.
The Ontario government said on Thursday that this new pilot project will start on September 15, 2016. Existing High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the QEW will be designated as HOT lanes. Carpools of two or more occupants will still be able to use the QEW HOT lanes for free, while single occupant drivers will now have the option to purchase a HOT permit to use them.
Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, said: “This pilot project on the QEW is the first step of Ontario’s plan to implement HOT lanes throughout the region. The Request for Information will help us identify the latest technology to make HOT lanes efficient and well-managed. HOT lanes can benefit all drivers on a highway by improving travel times for everyone and keep the region moving.”
HOT permit applications from members of the public will be accepted online from August 1 to August 21 through ServiceOntario. A limited number of applicants will be selected to purchase permits through a draw. The permit will cost $180 for a three-month term.
Innovative technoogies sought
As part of the pilot, Ontario is issuing a Request for Information seeking innovative technologies that can be used to support tolling, compliance and performance monitoring of HOT lanes for the purposes of testing during the pilot. Possible technologies include telematics, radio frequency identification, video-analytics, GPS, and infrared cameras. The pilot will be used to inform long-term planning for future HOT lane implementation and will also support Ontario’s innovation sector by providing an opportunity to test emerging traffic management and tolling technologies.
Ontario is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history — about $160 billion over 12 years, which is supporting 110,000 jobs every year across the province, with projects such as roads, bridges, transit systems, schools and hospitals. In 2015, the province announced support for more than 325 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life.
- Approximately 1,000 HOT permits will be made available each term of three months.
- For the first term only, permits will be valid from September 15 to December 31, 2016, giving permit holders an additional two weeks of HOT lane use as an early incentive bonus.
- A 15.5 km stretch of dedicated HOT lanes with electronic tolling in both directions on Highway 427 will open in 2021, from south of Highway 409 to north of Rutherford Road.
- HOT lanes will complement other initiatives, such as the GO Regional Express Rail that will increase GO Train trips by 50 per cent over the next five years with more stops serving more communities. – CINEWS