A High-Occupancy Toll, or HOT, lane pilot project will begin on a section of the QEW between Trafalgar Road in Oakville and Guelph Line in Burlington in summer 2016 to help manage congestion and add another option for travellers. The pilot is the first step of Ontario’s plan to implement HOT lanes throughout the region. In this pilot project, existing High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the QEW will be converted to HOT lanes. Carpools of two or more occupants will still be able to use the QEW HOT lanes for free, while single occupant drivers will now have the option to purchase a permit to use them. A limited number of permits will be available to allow single occupant drivers to use the HOT lanes during the pilot.
Information gathered through the pilot will be used to inform long-term planning for future HOT lanes, including new, dedicated HOT lanes with electronic tolling on Highway 427, from south of Highway 409 to north of Rutherford Road, which will open by 2021.
As they have done in other jurisdictions such as Minneapolis, Seattle and Atlanta, HOT lanes will help reduce congestion in general use lanes and help them move faster, as well as promote behaviour changes by encouraging people to carpool.
Ontario is making the largest infrastructure investment in the province’s history – more than $134 billion over 10 years, which is making 110,000 jobs possible every year across the province, with projects such as roads, bridges, transit systems, schools and hospitals. Between April and September, the province announced support for more than 200 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life. Bringing HOT lanes to Ontario builds on that progress.
Managing congestion is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic and innovative environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.
“By providing commuters with more travel choices — in addition to transit, HOV lanes and now HOT lanes — we are helping to manage congestion in order to keep the region moving and improve the quality of life for all Ontarians.”
— Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation
- HOT lanes will complement other initiatives, such as GO Regional Express Rail that will increase GO Train trips by 50 per cent over the next five years with more stops serving more communities.
- As is the case today, carpools of two or more, and vehicles with green license plates, can continue to use the lanes without a permit.
- Single occupant drivers using the QEW HOT lanes will use a permit available for purchase. There will be a limited number of permits made available. Further details, including pricing and availability will be announced in spring 2016.
- Over the past 13 years, Ontario has been ranked first or second for having the fewest traffic deaths and safest roads among all jurisdictions in North America.
- Ontario’s population is expected to grow by approximately 40 per cent by 2041, placing additional importance on having modern infrastructure to support a growing population.