The work will be carried out by WSP MMM in collaboration with WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Cima Canada and TSS-Transport Simulation Systems.
The team will look at the feasibility of HOT lanes and will build business cases for the schemes. The five highways are the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) and Highways 400, 401 (west), 404 and 410.
HOV lanes are lanes reserved for cars with two or more passengers. The idea now is to allow cars that do not have the right number of passengers to use these reserved lanes, but for a fee.
“We are at the very beginning of the process, but we know that one of the most important challenges is to find the balance between improving traffic and increasing revenues,” says Michael Chiu, vice president, transportation at WSP MMM and the project manager of the study.
The difficulty is to determine what will be a reasonable price and how it will be charged. “There are a lot of data to analyze,” said Chiu.
WSP MMM has to look at different pricing mechanisms and different technologies. For example, an automatic plate recognition system means the installation of a whole network of cameras while electronic transponders lead to another technological choice. Moreover, Chiu’s team needs to determine if the price will be identical on all roads, and at all times. They will look at dynamic pricing, which means that the price of a specific ride could change with the degree of congestion on the adjacent general-purpose lanes. “We have 16 months to finalize the feasibility study, including preliminary design,” he added.