Ontario's Plan for High-Occupancy Toll Lanes
Spring 2016: Province to announce details regarding pricing and availability of the High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes pilot project permits.
Summer 2016: Start of the HOT lanes pilot project on the existing High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) section of the QEW from Trafalgar Road in Oakville to Guelph Line in Burlington. Pilot results will be used to inform long-term planning for future HOT lanes.
2021: Opening of dedicated HOT lanes with electronic tolling on Highway 427, from south of Highway 409 to north of Rutherford Road.
QEW Pilot Project
As part of the HOT lanes pilot project, 16.5 kilometres of the QEW -- in both directions -- from Trafalgar Road in Oakville to Guelph Line in Burlington, will be converted from the current HOV lanes to HOT lanes. This pilot project could last up to four years.
The QEW was selected for the pilot because it has the most free capacity available during peak traffic hours of the three existing HOV lanes on provincial highways in the Greater Toronto Area and would provide benefits in both directions throughout the day.
Carpools of two or more occupants and drivers with green plates can continue to use the lanes without a permit. Single occupant drivers using the QEW HOT lanes will have the option of purchasing a permit to drive in the HOT lane.
The pilot will start with a limited number of permits available. Results will determine if additional permits will be made available and will be used to inform long-term planning for future HOT lanes.
Other jurisdictions in North America have successfully introduced a permit model for HOT lanes. In Utah, for example, a sticker was used beginning in 2006 converting to an electronic tolling system in 2010.
As the first part of broader HOT lanes implementation, there will be a 15.5 kilometre stretch of dedicated HOT lanes with electronic tolling in both directions on Highway 427, from south of Highway 409 to north of Rutherford Road starting in 2021.
No existing general purpose lanes on provincial highways will be removed for HOT lanes.
Ontario's HOT lanes will be provincially controlled. The Ministry of Transportation is continuing to work with the Ontario Provincial Police to plan enforcement.