HOV / HOT (Express) Lanes Overview

Overview

HOV stands for High Occupancy Vehicle. HOT stands for High Occupancy Toll. Both refer to a barrier-separated lane that runs down the middle of I-45, Hwy. 59 and Hwy. 290. The lane runs in one direction, but it’s reversible depending on the time of day. In the mornings, vehicles travel toward downtown Houston. In the afternoons, they travel away from downtown. Lane usage, and whether or not a toll is required, depends on the freeway you’re using, time of day and total number of people in your vehicle.

METRO operates HOV / HOT express lanes on I-45, Hwy. 59 and Hwy. 290.

Lanes are in operation seven days a week and closed on holidays. Weekend operations follow the same schedule, occupancy requirements and tolls as weekdays.

For real-time traffic reports, please visit the Houston TranStar website.

HOV / HOT (Express) Lanes Interactive Map

Ramp Types

  • One-Way Ramp - Operates as an entrance in the morning and an exit in the evening.
  • Two-Way Ramp - Operates as both entrance and exit, mornings and evenings. Pay attention to directional signs to safely follow traffic flow.
  • Cross Ramp - Allows access to/from both sides of the freeway. Pay attention to directional signs to safely follow traffic flow.
  • Slip Ramp - Allows you to merge into or out of freeway traffic.
  • Wishbone Ramp - Provides access to/from feeder roads on either side of the freeway in the direction of traffic flow.

Laws of the Lanes

  • Carpools, motorcyclists and METRO STAR Vanpool vehicles ride for free.
  • Solo drivers have the option of paying a toll to use the lanes.
  • Trailer towing is prohibited.
  • No trucks with more than two axles or a gross weight capacity of one ton or greater.
  • No bicycles (motorcycles permitted).
  • No pedestrians.

     

HOV / HOT (Express) Lanes Schedules
Location Day Time Direction HOV Free

I-45 North
North Freeway

Monday - Sunday

5 - 11 a.m.
1 - 8 p.m.

HOT (Express) Lanes Schedule >>

Inbound
Outbound

2+
2+

US 59 North
Eastex Freeway

Monday - Sunday

5 - 11 a.m.
1 - 8 p.m.

HOT (Express) Lanes Schedule >>

Inbound
Outbound

2+
2+

I-45 South
Gulf Freeway

Monday - Sunday

5 - 11 a.m.
1 - 8 p.m.

HOT (Express) Lanes Schedule >>

Inbound
Outbound

2+
2+

US 59 South
Southwest Freeway

Monday - Sunday

5 - 11 a.m.
1 - 8 p.m.

HOT (Express) Lanes Schedule >>

Inbound
Outbound

2+
2+

US 290 West
Northwest Freeway

Monday - Sunday

5 - 6:30 a.m.
6:30 - 8 a.m.
8 - 11 a.m.
1 - 8 p.m.

HOT (Express) Lanes Schedule >>

Inbound
Inbound
Inbound
Outbound

2+
3+
2+
2+

Katy Freeway Managed Lanes & I-10 West and US 59 South Diamond Lanes

The Katy Freeway Managed Lanes are operated by the Harris County Toll Road Authority. Learn more about the Katy Freeway Managed Lanes

Diamond Lane Schedules and Occupancy Requirements
Locations Days & Times Direction Required Number of People in Vehicle

I-10 West

365 days &
24 hours

Inbound
Outbound

2+

US 59 South

365 days &
24 hours

Inbound
Outbound

2+

Report Violations on Katy Managed Lanes and Katy Diamond Lanes to:
Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA)
Communications Department
713-587-7806
katymanagedlanes@hctra.org

Report Diamond Lane violations on 59S between Sugar Creek and the Grand Parkway to:
Sugar Land Police Department
Traffic Division
281-275-2500
www.sugarlandtx.gov/police (use online complaint form)

Report Diamond Lane violations on 59S between Sugar Creek and Beltway 8 to:
Stafford Police Department
281-261-3950

HOT (Express) Lanes

What are METRO HOT (Express) Lanes?

Simply put – awesome. METRO HOT (Express) Lanes allow drivers without passengers to use the HOV Lane system by paying a toll, using an authorized toll tag – cash not accepted. METRO HOT (Express) Lanes currently accepts the following toll tags:

  • Harris County EZ TAG
  • TxTAG Toll Tag
  • Dallas NTTA Toll Tag

Questions? Call HOT (Express) Lanes Customer Support at 281-875-3279.

METRO HOT (Express) Lanes Corridors:

  • I-45 South
  • I-45 North
  • US 59 South
  • US 59 North
  • US 290
METRO Bus on HOV graphic

Tolls for METRO HOT (Express) Lanes

Tolls are based on the time of day and congestion level for each of METRO’s HOT (Express) Lanes corridors. The toll rates for specific corridors are prominently displayed at each entrance to the lanes.

HOV / HOT Access ramp graphic

Benefits of METRO HOT (Express) Lanes

  • Provides new options for commuters
  • Increases safety and promotes quick response to accidents and issues in the lanes due to additional camera monitoring
  • Improves air quality by reducing traffic congestion
  • Better utilizes existing HOV Lanes
  • Offers increased enforcement of the HOV Lane system

Using the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes

  1. Toll tags only – NO CASH
    METRO HOT (Express) Lanes users can use Harris County EZ TAG, TxTAG or the Dallas NTTA Toll Tag.
  2. Drive the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes
    Drivers without passengers enter the METRO HOT (Express) Lane via existing HOV Lane entrance points. Entry and exit points vary by corridor view map for locations.
  3. Paying your toll
    Drivers without passengers must have a toll tag. Signs at the entrance display the price for single-occupant vehicles to use METRO HOT (Express) Lanes.
  4. Declaring METRO HOT (Express) Lanes status
    Clearly marked in each METRO HOT (Express) Lane are verification lanes where drivers must declare whether or not they have passengers. At these verification points, the HOV lane will briefly split to two lanes – all METRO HOT (Express) Lanes users must declare single-occupant status by moving to the lane marked "TOLL ONLY.” Vehicles driving through this lane will automatically be charged the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes toll – even if they have multiple passengers.