How to use the HOT lanes
Toll costs and revenue
Rules for using the SR 167 HOT lanes
HOT Lanes compared to Express Toll Lanes
About the SR 167 HOT lanes
What are the SR 167 HOT lanes?
The SR 167 high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes are high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for carpools of two or more, vanpools and buses that are also open to solo drivers who choose to pay a toll. Toll rates adjust electronically to ensure that traffic in the HOT lane is free flowing (at least 45 miles per hour 90 percent of the time) even when the regular lanes are congested. The pilot project provides toll-free express trips for buses, vanpools, carpools of two or more and motorcycles, while giving solo drivers the option to pay for a faster, more reliable trip.
Who may use HOT lanes?
The following drivers may use the SR 167 HOT lanes:
- HOV drivers still have priority to use the lanes without charge.
- Drivers with a Good To Go! pass have the option to pay to use the HOT lanes for a more reliable trip.
- Motorcycles may use the lane at no charge.
How to use the HOT lanes
How do I use the SR 167 HOT lanes?
Drivers who want to use the SR 167 HOT lanes as a solo driver must have a Good To Go! pass. Carpools, vanpools and transit do not need a Good To Go! pass and may use the lanes at no charge.
Electronic signs display the current toll price at the various locations. Transit, carpools and toll-paying solo drivers may enter and exit the HOT lane at any point across the single white line. Solo drivers pay one toll per trip for the amount displayed when they first enter the HOT lane and if the lane switches to HOV only, they are allowed to stay.
How do I establish a Good To Go! account or get a pass?
Drivers can establish a Good To Go! account:
- By phone: 1-866-936-8246
- In person at a customer service center
- By mailing Good To Go!, P.O. Box 300321, Seattle, WA 98103
- By fax: 206-547-0496
Do I have to have a Good To Go! pass to use the HOT lanes?
No, not if you are in a carpool of two or more people or driving a motorcycle. Solo drivers wanting to use the HOT lanes will need a Good To Go! pass.
What if I am in a carpool? How do I prevent a charge to my Good To Go! account?
The Flex Pass is best suited for those who also use the SR 167 HOT lanes as a carpooler. The Flex Pass can be set to "HOV" or "TOLL" mode depending on the number of people in the car. A movable pass can be placed in the gray static bag to avoid being charged while using the HOT lanes as a carpool. If you have a switchable pass, please contact us to get a free Flex Pass as a replacement.
Can I shield my license plate pass when carpooling in the HOT lane?
No. There is no way to prevent a license plate mounted pass from being read and charged a toll when it is used on the SR 167 HOT lanes. If you carpool in the HOT lanes, one of our other passes would be a better option.
However, many vehicle manufacturers now leave a space on the windshield free of any obstructing material so passes can be used even with specialized windshields. Please contact customer service for additional information.
Are motorcycles with a Good To Go! pass charged a toll in the HOT lane?
No. Motorcyclists may use the HOT lane toll free. Motorcyclists with a Good To Go! pass affixed to their headlight do not need to shield the pass. Drivers must contact the customer service center and ensure their vehicle and pass are flagged in the system as a motorcycle. The system is then able to filter out pass reads for motorcycles.
Can commercial vehicles and vehicles with trailers use the HOT lane?
No. Trucks or vehicles over 10,000 lbs gross vehicle weight are not allowed to use the HOT lanes.
Why are pass readers over both the HOT lanes and the general purpose lanes?
There are two sets of pass readers installed at each tolling location along SR 167 in the HOT lane corridor. The two sets of readers enable the system to pinpoint the exact lane location of a pass. This prevents vehicles with passes traveling outside the HOT lanes from being mistakenly tolled, and tolls post to accounts only for customers in the HOT lanes.
Toll costs and revenue
How much does a solo driver pay to use the SR 167 HOT lanes?
The price for a solo driver to enter the HOT lane changes throughout the day based on real time traffic data. SR 167 HOT lane toll rates increase when traffic is heavy and decrease when traffic is light. Variable tolls ensure that traffic always moves smoothly in the HOT lanes at speeds of at least 45 mph 90 percent of the time.
How does WSDOT use toll revenue generated from the HOT lanes?
All toll revenue collected from the SR 167 HOT lanes is used to maintain and operate SR 167.
Does SR 167 toll revenue cover the costs to maintain and operate the HOT lanes?
Yes, since April 2011 HOT lanes revenue has exceeded expenditures. When the pilot project was established, revenues were not anticipated to cover these costs initially. The purpose of the project was to use available lane space and help WSDOT learn how to operate a HOT lanes system. Revenues continue to increase as more solo drivers pay a toll to use the SR 167 HOT lanes.
Rules for using the SR 167 HOT lanes
What hours do the SR 167 HOT lanes operate?
The SR 167 HOT lanes operate between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week. Overnight (7 p.m. to 5 a.m.) the HOT lanes are open to all drivers. No passes are necessary and no tolls are charged.
What types of signs will I see driving along the HOT lanes corridor, and what do they mean?
Signs are posted along the entire 10-mile HOT lanes corridor between Renton and Auburn indicating that the far left lane is a HOT lane and is open only to carpools of two people or more, vanpools, transit, motorcycles and solo drivers who pay the electronic toll.
Allowed vehicles signs
Signs are posted indicating that transit and 2+ carpools may use the HOT lane for free, as well as those with a Good To Go! pass ("PASSES ONLY").
Blank HOT lanes signs
When drivers see a blank electronic sign at HOT lane access point, the lane is HOV only and closed to solo drivers.
Toll rate signs
Electronic signs are posted indicating the current toll price. The system calculates a new toll rate every five minutes. The sign will show a toll amount based on the level of traffic in the HOT lane.
If traffic in the HOT lane becomes too congested, the sign will switch to "HOV ONLY," indicating that the lane is closed to all solo drivers, including those with passes. If you have already paid the toll and are in the lane you may stay in the HOT lane and complete your trip. You do not need to get out of the HOT lane.
During overnight hours when HOT lanes are not operating (7 p.m. to 5 a.m.), the sign will read “OPEN TO ALL.” No pass is necessary to use the lanes at this time.
When there's an emergency that blocks the HOT lanes, the sign will switch to "CLOSED," indicating that the lane is closed to all traffic. All vehicles in the HOT lanes must exit at the next access zone.
No crossing double white line signs
This sign reminds drivers that it is illegal to cross the solid double white line that separates the HOT lanes from the two general purpose lanes at the ends of the HOT lanes. Breaking this law may result in fines of $124 or more.
Future of SR 167 HOT lanes
Are there plans to extend the SR 167 HOT lanes?
It will take legislative authorization to continue operation of the SR 167 HOT lanes after the pilot project ends in June 2015. If WSDOT receives authority to continue operating HOT lanes on SR 167, the southbound HOT lane will be extended south to 8th Street East. If authority is not granted, an HOV lane will be built instead.
How do the SR 167 HOT lanes compare to the I-405 Express Toll Lanes?
- Carpools with 2+ occupants are always be able to use the SR 167 HOT lanes for free, while I-405 will require carpools to have 3+ occupants to use the express toll lanes for free during peak hours.
- Carpools on I-405 will only be able to use the express toll lanes for free with the new Good To Go! Flex Pass set to HOV mode, while SR 167 carpools will also have the option to use a switchable pass or drive without a Good To Go! pass.
- Solo drivers on SR 167 must have an active Good To Go! account and pass, while solo drivers on the I-405 will have the option to pay by mail at a higher toll rate without an account.
What’s the difference between SR 167 and I-405 passes?
Switchable passes can be turned off when carpooling on SR 167 to not pay the toll. Moveable passes can also be removed from the windshield and stored in a static bag to avoid paying the toll.
On I-405, if a Good To Go! customer turns off the switchable pass or stores their moveable pass in the static bag, a toll will still be charged by matching the license plate to the account via Pay By Plate (an extra 25-cents).
SR 167 HOT Lanes Enforcement
How are the HOT lanes enforced?
The Washington State Patrol provides enforcement for the SR 167 HOT lanes pilot project. The fine for illegally driving in a HOT lane or crossing the solid double-white lines is $124. Drivers may report HOT lanes violators online or by calling 1-877-764-HERO.