Reversible express lanes are often used in large cities to help alleviate heavy congestion during rush hour periods. These lanes typically sit in the center of large highways and are able to provide extra lanes to drivers in one direction or another. Today, HERE Traffic is the first service to offer information on this feature.
One of the most frustrating things about commuting in cities with reversible express lanes is knowing which way they are flowing before you get to them. Many drivers would make a different route choice based on the availability (or lack thereof) of express lanes. All too often, drivers are either pleasantly surprised that they have this option available to them, or frustrated, as they are unable to access it as it is flowing the other direction.
HERE Traffic is the first service to market with a feature that reports congestion on roads with changeable direction and indicates which way traffic is flowing. The update is available immediately across all HERE platforms, allowing drivers in 12 cities to make more intelligent routing choices and ultimately reach their destinations more quickly. Users will also be able to see the direction that is currently open on the map display and manually plan their route.
“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,” said Joe Ciprian, product manager for reversible express lanes at HERE. “We’ve been wanting to offer this feature for years.”
Reversible express lanes are typically reversed twice a day to help with traffic flow, opening for inbound traffic in the morning to get people to work in the city, 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, the Bureau Chief of Traffic for the Illinois Department of Transportation, the 6.2-mile Kennedy Expressway in Chicago is subject to any number of forces 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.”
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.
Added Joe: “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.”
This update will also be reflected in the traffic data of HERE’s customers, including Bing and Amazon Fire.
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 you have a reversible lane in your city?