: News

High-Tech HOT Lanes Coming To Beltway

Play associated audio

By David Schultz

The new High Occupancy Toll lanes, or HOT lanes, on the Beltway in Northern Virginia are so high tech, a 30,000 square foot operations center is being built to support them.

Some people are calling them "Lexus lanes." But Fairfax County Supervisor Sharon Bulova says that's not a fair characterization. She says the HOT lanes, which open in late 2012, will give drivers stuck in traffic a choice:

"The option to pay a toll on those occasions when life or work can't wait for traffic," she says.

And the drivers won't have to wait at a toll booth either; the beltway HOT lanes won't have any.

Tim Steinhilber, with the private company operating these lanes, says all tolls will be collected through electronic E-Z Pass devices. And, he says, that's not all.

"The toll prices will adjust, to control the number of vehicles entering the lanes to keep the traffic free-flowing," he says.

But all this new technology will require drivers to make some adjustments. They'll have to buy new E-Z Passes that allow them to indicate whether they have two or more passengers with them and avoid the toll. Planners are still trying to work out how to enforce this low-tech honor system.


When Cultural Heritage Is At Risk, Italy's Art Police Come To The Rescue

Over the decades, they've tracked down looted paintings and manuscripts, and rescued artwork after natural disasters. These days, they're salvaging centuries-old works in Italy's Amatrice quake zone.

In Jerusalem And West Bank, Nutella Cafes Offer A Sweet Refuge

Palestinians are flocking to a string of Nutella cafés that have popped up in the region. The cafes offer a welcome refuge from the realities of living in a conflict zone.

From Pot To Guns To School Funding: Here's What's On The Ballot In Your State

Big themes on ballots this November include marijuana, elections, education, guns, tobacco, minimum wage and the death penalty.

Major Websites Experience Outages In Apparent Online Attack

A number of major websites, including Twitter, Spotify and Reddit, were knocked out of service for parts of the day in a sprawling, sophisticated online attack.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.