The Australian context for managed lanes has been limited to date to HOV bypasses at ramp meters, as a complement to the managed motorways system. It is from the success with managed motorways that the need and rationale for U.S. style managed lanes has been dubious. According to this recent article, it appears that Transurban (an Australian-based concessionaire who operates the I-495 and I-95 Express Lanes in Virginia) has approached the Australian federal government about exploring priced managed lanes, but has met resistance. In the U.S., resistance often comes from public opposition to the concept of tolling. In Australia? Well, again, according to the article, it is that priced managed lanes should not create a tiered beneficiary system.
As stated by Kyle Loades, the President of the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA, Australia’s version of the U.S. AAA):
“The NRMA believes we need to move away from toll roads or in this case, specific lanes, being operated as isolated links rather than as part of a network. We’d like to see toll roads actively managed to keep all lanes moving.”
This is a truly fascinating perspective, and lends credibility to the approach in Australia that has begun with managed motorways and now is extending to the very nature of how roadway capacity is funded and provided to travelers.