Operations | Plans + Projects | Our Work


The era of large-scale freeway construction and expansion in the Bay Area has mostly ended due to a lack of available real estate, funding shortages and environmental concerns. As such, MTC focuses on improving the operational efficiency of the existing freeway network.

Express lane

MTC coordinates a number of programs that seek to improve congested conditions on the Bay Area’s most congested freeways through the Freeway Performance Initiative. Additionally, MTC partners with Caltrans to operate the Incident Management Program, responding to collisions and other roadway incidents to keep traffic flowing and to mitigate potentially dangerous conditions.

In recent years, congested conditions on the Bay Bridge and in the Transbay tube have become increasingly acute. MTC analyzed options for accommodating the demand for cross-bay travel in 2017’s Core Capacity Transit Study, and this subject is central to the Crossings Perspective Paper, released in November 2019. Through Bay Bridge Forward, MTC is investing $40 million on near-term solutions to congestion on the Bay Area’s most congested freeway corridor.

MTC manages a network of lanes that is free for carpools, buses, motorcycles and other eligible low-emissions vehicles. Solo motorists – who choose to pay a toll – can use express lanes too. When complete, there will be 600 miles of express lanes throughout the Bay Area, with lanes already open on several corridors.

Check out this map of current and future express lanes.