Based on algorithms – a pay scale depending on home many drivers are using the road – Tel Aviv’s “Fast Lane” which was opened for use in early 2011 and designed to reduce traffic flow from super congested Highway 1 is now being termed as a big success according to local newspapers. The one lane bypass, which is actually a toll lane, is now being used by hundreds of cars daily. These users pay tolls ranging from about $5 to $15 US depending on the time of day. A great feature is that it includes free parking and a shuttle bus to inside the city.
Highway 1, the main highway artery heading into Tel Aviv from both Ben Gurion Airport and cities like Jerusalem and Modi’in is one of Israel’s most congested highways. Traffic on this highway during morning rush hours is literally bumper to bumper, while the fast lane enables drivers to bypass this section and reach Tel Aviv in only a few minutes.
For drivers entering the city daily to work, and those on company business, paying the toll is usually reimbursed by employers. For self employed persons, the fee is an allowable travel expense.
The fast lane also includes the option for drivers parking their cars in a large parking lot at the lane’s entrance and then taking a shuttle bus into the city. This option in itself eliminates hundreds of cars being on the highway going into Tel Aviv and on city streets as well; thereby reducing some of the city’s pollution in a city where free radicals can cause brain damage to joggers and bike riders .
The fast lane is part of other projects currently underway to reduce traffic congestion on Israel’s streets and highways. The Cross Israel Highway, otherwise known as Highway 6, is helping to reduce traffic congestion for cars traveling on the coastal highways. Known in Hebrew as Kvish Shesh, it is the country’s first toll road.
Another idea to reduce Tel Aviv traffic congestion during morning rush hours was a decision to ban large trucks going into the city during the rush hours. This ordinance was to have gone into affect in 2010, but as yet has not due to many objections. A light rail line, similar to the one now in Jerusalem, is being planned for Tel Aviv. If completed, it hopes to further eliminate pollution and traffic congestion; especially that caused by too many city buses in use.
The “park and ride” option currently in use with the Fast Lane is also in use by cities in other parts of the world.
The idea for the fast lane is the brainchild of Nitzan Yotzer, head of operations at the government company Trans-Israel Highway, which is also the supervisory authority for Highway 6, the fast lane, and the Carmel Tunnel as well (Israel’s first toll tunnel).
Nitzan told Haaretz: “The infrastructure in the greater Tel Aviv area can’t keep up with the growing volume of traffic.”
More on Tel Aviv traffic congestion:
Tel Aviv’s Fast Lane for Safety and the Environment
Free Radicals Attack Your Brain on Bikes in Polluted Cities
Tel Aviv Will Ban Trucks During Morning Rush Hour to Reduce Congestion