MNDOT - MnPass HOT lanes

Cofiroute USA is a member of a consortium that was awarded a contract by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) for the conversion of existing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes under a public-private partnership.


The Minnesota HOT Lanes


The MnPASS I-394 east segment consists of 22 lane-miles within the existing HOV lane of the I-394 Freeway, west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The MnPASS I-35W segment consists of 26 lane-miles within the existing HOV lane of the I-35W Freeway, south of Minneapolis, MN.


The I-394 MnPASS HOT lanes segment consists of one, single-lane HOT section for eight miles and one, double-lane reversible section for three miles entering downtown Minneapolis from the west. The I-35W segment consists of three sections; a 2.5-mile section of priced, dynamic shoulder lanes, an 8-mile section of converted existing HOV Lanes south of I-494, and a five-mile section of HOV lanes being constructed in the crosstown area of I-35W. The MnPASS I-394 segment is limited access with entry allowed only in specified areas. There are five tolling points in each direction. The MnPASS I-35W HOT lane segment is open access with entry allowed anywhere throughout the entire road. There are nine tolling points in each direction.


The all-electronic toll collection system uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. Each customer’s vehicle is required to have a transponder, which is read by the toll collection equipment at the toll plaza. In addition, a timestamp is linked to the transponder in order to facilitate enforcement. Enforcement is accomplished through visual inspection and through the use of a mobile enforcement system which allows the State Patrol to determine whether the customer paid.


History of Cofiroute USA’s Involvement


During 2003, the newly-formed Cofiroute USA joined Wilbur Smith Associates (WSA), Raytheon, SRF Consulting, and Frank Wilson & Associates in a consortium to develop the HOV-to-HOT conversion on I-394 west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Not only was this project one of the first HOT conversions, but it can also be considered an early form of Public-Private Partnership (P3) within the tolling industry.


Cofiroute USA provides all day-to-day operation services through its subcontractor 3M. These services include:  staffing of the Customer Service Center (CSC), account management, website management, inventory management, support for enforcement and marketing, and revenue and account management system monitoring and maintenance. Cofiroute USA also assisted in the development of the dynamic pricing algorithm used to manage congestion and provide for free flow speeds.


The HOT Conversion, branded MnPASS, successfully opened on May 16, 2005. Since its opening, it has received nine regional and international awards for innovations in technology and operations. The strength of its development team and their solution has allowed Mn/DOT to meet all goals originally set for MnPASS.


Following these successes, MN/DOT was awarded $133.3 Million for congestion management and transit projects from the USDOT as part of the Urban Partnership Program in August 2007. The project contains a HOT Lane component on I-35W south of Minneapolis. The team added an amendment to the MnPASS Operating Contract that included the deployment and operation of the I-35W HOT Lanes. Throughout this project, Cofiroute USA provided support in software development, account management, transponder inventory management and marketing to the team.


In August 2009, Cofiroute USA was selected as the preferred bidder in a rebid of its contract for operation of the MnPASS Customer Service Center (CSC),including both I-394 and I-35W MnPASS segments. The contract will run through 2015 and is scheduled to include all further additions to the MnPASS system developed during the contract period.


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