Welcome to the 91 Express Lanes!
The 91 Express Lanes is a four-lane, 10-mile toll road built in the median of California's Riverside Freeway (SR-91) between the Orange/Riverside County line and the Costa Mesa Freeway (SR-55).
This unique toll road is an important element in ensuring that traffic flows more smoothly between Orange and Riverside counties. The 91 Express Lanes toll policy, known as congestion management pricing, adjusts toll rates based on the number of vehicles on the toll road to maintain a “free flow” commute at all times.
Motorists pay tolls through the convenient use of windshield mounted FasTrak™ transponders that automatically deduct fees from a prepaid account. Depending on the time of day, commuters reported saving 30 minutes on average on their drive time by using the 91 Express Lanes.
The 91 Express Lanes has contributed to major advances in the toll industry. This state-of-the-art facility boasts several firsts — the first privately financed toll road in the U.S. in more that 50 years, one of the world's first fully-automated toll facilities, and the first application of value pricing in America.
The 91 Express Lanes has been featured in national and international media. Since the project opened in 1995, transportation officials from 21 U.S. states and 23 countries have visited the 91 Express Lanes to study its advanced systems and operations. Many of the 91 Express Lanes’ achievements in technology, toll operations and customer service have been exported around the world.
The 91 Express Lanes was born from the need for congestion relief on the Riverside Freeway (SR-91) when no public funds were available to solve this critical transportation problem. The concept was unique — the private sector would take the risk and the state would get congestion relief at no cost to taxpayers.
The project was authorized as a toll road by the State of California legislature in 1989. Built at a cost of $135 million, the toll road opened in 1995. The California Private Transportation Company (CPTC) was the original owner of the 91 Express Lanes. An agreement with the State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) included a non-compete provision that created a 1.5-mile protection zone along each side of the Riverside Freeway. This zone prohibited improvements along the corridor and created mobility problems as the region and corresponding transportation demands grew.
To mitigate growing concerns over congestion, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) acquired the 91 Express Lanes franchise rights in January 2003. This eliminated the non-compete provision, clearing the way for future enhancements that will increase capacity and improve traffic flow along the SR-91 corridor.