Slow assessment for FasTrak lights 

California Department of Transportation officials announced today that it could be months before they will be able to assess the effectiveness of accelerated metering lights for FasTrak users on the Bay Bridge, spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said.

Speeding up the lights in an effort to move FasTrak drivers onto the bridge faster than drivers paying cash began Tuesday and will continue for several months before Caltrans will announce official results and make

adjustments, Wonder said.

Commuters on Tuesday experienced the usual slowdown approaching the bridge, and the metering lights were turned on 15 minutes early because of traffic conditions, Wonder said.

However, in "anecdotal observations" from the first trial day, FasTrak users seemed to move onto the bridge faster than usual when the metering lights were turned on, Wonder said.

Successfully providing incentive to FasTrak users could encourage more commuters to purchase FasTrak passes, Wonder said. More drivers with FasTrak means faster toll processing and less congestion along the Bay Bridge corridor, she said.

The everyday Bay Bridge backup happens when the 22 lanes on the corridor changing into the five lanes that cross the bridge, Wonder said. If Caltrans removes the carpool lane, adds a FasTrak lane, and slows down the metering lights for cash-paying drivers while simultaneously speeding it up for prepaid customers, the commute may run more smoothly, she said.

— Bay City News

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