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3.0 Signing, Markings and Channelization

3.2.1 State-of-the Practice

Fixed panel static signs are in predominant use, although several agencies have used changeable message signs when the lane is multi-mode or equipped for multiple payment types (e.g., “Change – Receipts”, “Exact Change” and “E-ZPass Only”), thereby allowing lane operation changes based on traffic demand and equipment operational status. A changeable message sign can also be used to display the current operation state of the lane, using both text (“Lane Closed”) and a symbol (red “X”). Flashing beacons or warning lights are often installed on both sides above or below the canopy sign to distinguish non-stop ETC dedicated lanes within the conventional toll plaza. The flashing lights are visible well before the canopy signs become legible so the ETC user has more time to maneuver to get into the correct lane. In addition, some agencies as part of their ETC retrofit have installed small, separate sign panels displaying the agency’s ETC logo above the manual and automatic lanes to indicate the lane is equipped to support ETC. Where lane payment types are not changed and toll lanes supporting the same payment types are grouped together, the use of fixed, static sign panels with a unique background color have proved to be very effective in improving operational efficiency for toll roads such as the New York State Thruway and the Harris County Expressway (See Exhibits 3-4 and 3-5).

New York State thruway plaza photo
Exhibit 3-4 – New York State Thruway Conventional Plaza Lanes


New York State thruway plaza photo
Exhibit 3-5 – Harris County Expressway Express Lanes and Conventional Plaza Lanes


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