Use and Performance

MnPASS is the name of Minnesota’s system of priced managed lanes, also known as High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes. MnPASS has been in operation in Minnesota since 2005 and is a key strategy for reducing and better managing highway traffic congestion in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The purpose of MnPASS is to improve the efficiency of the region’s highway and transit systems by providing a more reliable, less congested travel option for commuters during peak rush-hour periods. It is not to generate revenue.

During peak weekday hours, public transit, vehicles with two or more people and motorcycles can drive in the MnPASS lane for free. Solo motorists can choose to use the lanes for a fee that varies between .25¢ and $8.00 depending on number of vehicles and speeds in the lane. The average fee in 2018 was $1.52. The lanes are free and can be used by all motorists before and after peak travel times.

MnPASS goals:

  • Increase the number of people moved along a highway during peak hours
  • Provide a faster, more reliable travel choice for commuters
  • Improve public transit service and increase ridership
  • Increase car/vanpools

MnPASS Use

MnPASS lanes increase the number of people that are moved through a highway during peak travel times. The majority of people using the MnPASS lanes are in vehicles with two or more people (HOV 2+/carpool) or are riding a bus.

Single occupant vehicles are 30% of the total vehicles in the lane but are only 14% of the people using the lanes.

The following charts show the percentages of vehicles and people moved on the MnPASS system from 6-10 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.

Vehicles Moved

Vehicles moved in MnPASS lanes from 6a-10a and 3p-6p
Car/vanpool 53%
Tolled 30%
Violators 14%
Transit buses 3%

People Moved

Vehicles moved in MnPASS lanes from 6a-10a and 3p-6p
Car/vanpools 50%
Transit buses 30%
Tolled 14%
Violators 6%

MnPASS Performance

MnPASS lanes provide a more reliable travel choice for all commuters. Federal laws require vehicles in the MnPASS Express Lanes travel at speeds above 45 mph for 90% of the time or greater during peak travel times. Currently, vehicles in the MnPASS lanes are traveling at speeds above 45 mph approximately 95% of the time.

MnPASS lanes provide motorists a more predictable commute. During peak hours, one MnPASS lane can carry the same number of people as two general lanes! General lanes are also prone to congestion which results in unreliable travel times.

MnPASS Express Lanes allow transit, particularly express buses, to travel faster and safer during peak travel times which provides reliable trips and increases the number of people who ride on public transportation.