Managed Lanes

Functions of California’s Managed Lanes

Managed Lane is an operational practice utilized to address congestion by controlling traffic movement on the highway. Two common approaches to lane management are restricted use based on vehicle eligibility, and control of access through limited ingress/egress. Vehicle eligibility can be based on occupancy or vehicle type.

The concept of Managed Lane was first put into practice in California, in 1962, when an exclusive bus-only lane was established as a temporary traffic management strategy during the reconstruction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. In 1969, the first permanent Managed Lane facility in the United States was opened as a bus-only lane on the Shirley Highway (I-395) in Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia. California’s first permanent Managed Lane facility began in April of 1970 with the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) bypass lane at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll plaza.

California Managed Lane Network

Approximately 40% of the nation total Managed Lane network is located in California. These facilities are predominately located in large urbanized areas of Northern and Southern California. Additional information regarding each region's Manage Lane network may also be found at each corresponding Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

Northern California Network: 

Sacramento Area Regional MPOs:

San Francisco Bay Area Regional MPOs:

Southern California Network: 

Los Angeles Area Regional MPOs:

San Diego Area Regional MPOs:


California Managed Lane Network Performance

Under State and Federal laws, certain vehicles are allowed to access a Managed Lane facility without carrying the minimum number of persons in the vehicles. These vehicles can include plug-in hybrids vehicles, alternatively fueled and clean-air vehicles (ILEV / ULEV / SULEV), and tolled vehicles. Federal laws require California to monitor and report on the performance of all Managed Lane facilities that allow these exempt vehicles to access without carrying the minimum number of occupant. This report is referred to as the annual "California High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane Degradation Determination Report" (Degradation Report).

The Degradation Report identifies HOV facilities in California that are "degraded," or do not meet the federal performance standards. In addition, the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act" (MAP-21) now requires States to take action to bring degraded facilities back into compliance within 180 days after submitting the Degradation Report to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or face sanctions. An Action Plan was developed in response to this requirement. The Action Plan was developed by Caltrans' districts with input from Caltrans' Headquarter Traffic Operations and the Federal Highway Administration. It lists strategies to mitigate degradation on HOV facilities identified in the Degradation Report.

Performance Measurement System

Performance Measurement System (PeMS) stores and processes traffic data gathered from over 38,000 individual roadway detectors installed throughout the California highway network. Users can access real-time traffic condition as well as historical data to assist them to analyze the performance of the highway system. Performance measurement for the California Managed Lane Network is available on PeMS under "Facilities & Devices" tab.

This database is free for everybody to use. Only a one-time registration is required to access. For more information, please visit the PeMS website.