Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 169 Mobility Study

Hennepin County, Scott County

Orange barrels on a highway


Regional transportation plans identified Hwy 169 between Hwy 41 and Hwy 55 as an ideal corridor for transit and mobility improvements. Moreover, statewide plans and community leaders have noted the importance of the Hwy 169 Corridor between Mankato and the Twin Cities as a critical link for educational institutions, businesses, and interregional freight and passenger transportation.

View the final report and survey results from the study.

Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Highway BRT is bus service that travels on the highway and stops only at designated stations right on or immediately adjacent to the highway. Highway BRT operates frequently from early in the morning to late at night. The results of the 2014 Highway Transitway Corridor Study (PDF) indicated that when compared to other highways across the region, Hwy 169 between downtown Minneapolis and Marschall Road in Shakopee is an ideal candidate for Highway BRT.

E-ZPass Express Lanes

E-ZPass is a state transportation system that provides a congestion-free travel option during peak-drive times on highways with high levels of congestion. E-ZPass Express Lanes give all commuters a reliable travel choice that saves them time, increases a highway’s capacity to move more people through a corridor and allows faster, more reliable public bus service. E-ZPass Express lanes are lanes on a highway that are dedicated to buses, carpools, (HOV2 +) motorcyclists or for solo motorists who pay a fee during peak-drive times. All motorists may use the lanes outside of peak-drive times.

In 2010 MnDOT completed a MnPASS System Study - Phase 2. The study considered the feasibility of adding E-ZPass Express Lanes on several highways in the Twin Cities Metro area. Currently there are E-ZPass Express Lanes on I-394 between Minnetonka and Minneapolis; on I-35W between Lakeville and Minneapolis; and on I-35E between Cayuga Street and Little Canada Road in St Paul.

Final report

Key Summary

The study’s first task found that adding Highway Bus Rapid Transit, E-ZPass Express Lanes and other smaller improvements to Hwy 169 is viable and would provide significant mobility benefits to the corridor. Specifically, BRT between Marschall Rd. in Shakopee and downtown Minneapolis via Hwy 169 and Hwy 55 would have strong ridership and better connect people to jobs and other destinations.  

Adding a  E-ZPass lane in each direction on Hwy 169 between Marschall Rd. in Shakopee and I-94 would reduce congestion and provide long term mobility benefits for transit and motorists in the corridor.

The study developed conceptual designs and a recommended plan for implementing BRT, E-ZPass and other lower cost/high benefit improvements in the corridor. 

The Executive Summary provides a more detailed overview of the study’s results. All of the work from the study’s first task is documented in fifteen technical reports which are available by contacting Brad Larsen at brad.larsen@state.mn.us or 651-234-7024.

The study’s second task found strong potential for expanded Intercity Bus Service along Hwy 169 between Mankato and the Twin Cities. It conducted extensive outreach along the corridor and developed a variety of intercity bus service options with short and long term recommendations.         

Survey Results

We conducted a Hwy 169 Needs survey in spring 2016 and nearly 3,500 people completed it!

The results of the survey will help MnDOT and its partners make decisions about the future design and operations of Hwy 169.

The short survey asked respondents:

  • What is important to them when using Hwy 169
  • Why and how often are they traveling along Hwy 169
  • Whether they drive or take the bus
  • To identify where they encountered congestion

Key themes of the survey results:

  • Majority of survey respondents use Hwy 169
  • Half of the respondents said travel time is most important when using Hwy 169, followed by minimal congestion, reliability and transit availability
  • Main trip purpose is for work, followed by social/recreational events, and shopping
  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents use Hwy 169 every day or at least four to six days a week and drive alone
  • Majority of respondents experience congestion along Hwy 169, with nearly 40 percent stating that the congestion was significant to extreme