Reversible express lanes are used to ease congestion during rush-hour in large cities. These lanes sit in the center of large highways and create extra lanes to drivers in one direction or the other. HERE Traffic is the first digital service to give information on which way they're pointing in real time.
While reversible lanes are designed to create extra volume where and when it's needed, it's not always easy to find out which way they're flowing before you get to them. Many drivers would make a different route choice based on the number of express lanes going their way. Instead, they end up either pleasantly surprised that they have the option of an extra lane available to them, or frustrated, when it's flowing the other direction.
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The update is available immediately across all HERE offerings. People using HERE for Android, HERE for iOS, Amazon Fire Phone, Bing Maps or driving a car powered by HERE Traffic will automatically see this new features without doing anything. Developers building their own map app can use the HERE API to include this feature too. Drivers in 12 cities can make more intelligent routing choices and ultimately reach their destinations more quickly. They will also be able to see the direction that is currently open on the map display and manually plan their route.
Joe Ciprian, product manager for reversible express lanes at HERE, says: “Our driving mission at HERE is to create the best maps possible. This adds another layer to make our maps that much more accurate and precise.”
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In through the out lane
Reversible express lanes are normally switched twice a day to help with traffic flow, helping inbound traffic in the morning to get people to work on time, and outbound from the city in the afternoon. However, there are many situations that will influence the direction the reversible express lanes flow.
According to Steve Travia, Bureau Chief of Traffic for the Illinois Department of Transportation, the 6.2-mile Kennedy Expressway in Chicago is affected by various factors that will interrupt the daily schedule. “Travel volumes on any specific day, major incidents, crashes, special events [such as when President Obama is in town]…affect how the reversible lanes are flowing.”
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What’s more, even the regular daily schedule can vary. The Kennedy Expressway may change directions anytime between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Joe adds: “Our primary use case is for drivers routing point A to point B. If you’re driving from O’Hare Airport into Chicago, the availability of the Kennedy Express Lanes can shave ten minutes off your commute.”
The feature will be available for all reversible express lanes in the U.S. and Europe, including:
- Chicago: Kennedy Express Lanes
- Denver: I-25 HOV Lanes
- Fort Lauderdale: I-595 Expressway
- Hamburg, Germany: I4700
- Houston: US-59/Southwest Freeway HOV Lanes, US-290/Northwest Freeway HOV Lanes, I-45/Gulf Freeway HOV Lanes, I-45/North Freeway HOV Lanes, US-59/Eastex Freeway HOV Lanes
- Minneapolis: I-394 Express Lanes
- New Orleans: US-90-BR HOV Lanes
- New York: Queensboro Bridge-Upper Level, Lincoln Tunnel Reversible Lanes
- Pittsburgh: I-279 HOV Lanes, I-579 HOV Lanes
- Seattle: I-90-Express Lanes, I-5 Express Lanes
- Tampa: SR-618-TOLL/Selmon Expressway
- Washington, D.C.: I-395 HOV Lanes, I-95 HOV Lanes, I-64 HOV Lanes, Canal Rd, Reservoir Rd, Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW
Do reversible lanes help you in your daily commute?
image credit: Ken Lund