Ramp meters, or traffic signals on freeway on-ramps, work.
Ramp meters not only reduce freeway congestion, but they cost just a fraction of a typical widening project — and can be installed comparatively quickly.
Our Freeway Performance Initiative aims to install metering lights on some 300 freeway on-ramps around the Bay Area.
Similar to traffic signals on a busy street, ramp meters manage the flow of traffic entering a freeway, which:
- Makes merging easier
- Reduces potential for accidents
- Reduces freeway congestion by smoothing out traffic flows
- Delivers more consistent and reliable travel times
- Improves air quality
MTC works closely with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), county congestion management agencies and city governments to fine-tune ramp-metering projects to the unique demands of various freeway corridors.
Freeway travel times dropped sharply after the installation of ramp meters in many parts of the Bay Area:
- Alameda County /I-580/ Foothill Road to North Flynn Road
Down 37 percent
- San Mateo County /U.S. 101/ San Mateo to Palo Alto
Down 30 percent
- Solano County /I-80/ Red Top Road to North Texas St.
Down 25 percent
- Sonoma County /U.S. 101/ Petaluma to Windsor
Down 9 percent