How It Works
During peak-travel times transit, motorcycles, and vehicles with two or more occupants including children or infants (HOV 2+) may drive in the designated MnPASS Express Lanes for free. Solo motorists who have a MnPASS account and a MnPASS tag must pay a fee to drive in the MnPASS Express Lanes during peak-travel times.
Non-peak travel times
During non-peak travel times, all motorists may drive in the MnPASS Express Lanes. Overhead MnPASS signs will read OPEN TO ALL TRAFFIC or OPEN when the lanes are open to all motorists.
How the tags work
Customers can choose a MnPASS tag that fits their lifestyle. A tag is an electronic device placed on the inside of the windshield. It is used to transfer information.
Overhead antennas and readers located on structures such as bridges, detect the MnPASS tag in the windshield. The reader records the tag ID and sends the information back to MnDOT’s central system known as IRIS. IRIS is used to control field devices, like toll signs and ramp meters, and to collect traffic data.
The IRIS system continues to track a particular tag in order to determine the length of the trip and whether or not the customer used one or two pricing segments along the corridor. Once the trip is concluded, the IRIS system records the tag ID and the associated price for that trip. This information is passed onto the MnPASS Customer Service System where the tag ID and the associated price are linked to a prepaid customer account.
Loop detectors in the pavement measure traffic volumes and speeds in the MnPASS lane. As the number of vehicles in the MnPASS lane increases, the fee to drive in the lane increases; when the number of vehicles in the lane decreases, the fee decreases.
Overhead digital signs show the current price for one or two segments along the corridor. The price on the sign is updated every three minutes depending on the current demand in the MnPASS lane.
The fees to drive in the MnPASS lanes during peak-travel times range between $.25 and $8. Having variable pricing helps keep traffic in the MnPASS lanes flowing between 50 and 55 mph during peak-travel times.
How to pay for using MnPASS lanes
Your MnPASS account is like a debit account. The initial minimum prepaid amount is $25 plus the cost of your MnPASS tag – if applicable. The initial minimum prepaid money is used to pay future tolls.
When you sign up for a MnPASS account you set a replenishment and low balance threshold dollar amount that works for you. When your MnPASS account drops below the low balance amount (threshold), determined by you when you opened the account, a dollar amount (replenishment), determined by you, is automatically added to your account via the credit card or debit card on file. If you do not indicate a replenishment and low balance threshold amount when you open your account, the amounts will remain at the lowest possible minimum increments of $40 for your replenishment amount and $15 for your low balance threshold amount.
When you drive in the MnPASS lanes during peak-travel times, the fee posted on the overhead road signs is automatically deducted from your account.
Customers are encouraged to review their accounts and balances often. If you want to change your low threshold or replenishment amount, please contact MnPASS customer service.
- Janie opened an account and indicated every time her account drops to $20 (minimum threshold amount), she wants MnPASS to automatically add $60 (replenishment amount) to her account using her credit card or debit card on file so she will always have money in her MnPASS account.
- John opened an account and did not indicate a threshold or replenishment amount. When John’s account drops to $15 (default MnPASS minimum threshold amount), MnPASS will automatically add $40 (default replenishment amount) to his account using his credit card or debit card on file so he will always have money in his MnPASS account.
Large commercial vehicles that have more than two axles and weigh more than 26,000 pounds are discouraged from using the MnPASS lanes during peak-travel times and will not be assigned a MnPASS tag.
Small, two-axle commercial vehicles that weigh less than 26,000 pounds and have two or more occupants in the cab, can use the MnPASS lanes for free during peak-travel times.
Solo motorists who have a commercial vehicle, with two axles, weighing less than 26,000 pounds, can enroll in the MnPASS program, receive a MNPASS tag and pay to use the MnPASS lanes during peak-travel times.
Commercial vehicles and non-peak travel times
During non-peak travel times, all commercial vehicles may drive in the MnPASS Express Lanes. Overhead MnPASS signs will read OPEN TO ALL TRAFFIC or OPEN when the lanes are open to all motorists.