Reversible Lanes

Reversible Lanes

General Description:

Reversible lanes allow one or more lanes on a facility to shift direction throughout the day to accommodate traffic patterns such as morning and evening peaks.  There must be a large directional flow during peak periods to make this a viable solution.  By utilizing additional lanes in the direction that demands more capacity, congestion can be reduced and overall capacity can be increased.  Lane Control, signs, and special pavement markings are used to inform motorists of lane direction and movements.


Effects of Solution:


     Increase Passenger Throughput

     Increase Roadway Capacity (Allows lanes to be used more appropriately)

     Manage System Efficiency (Results in most efficient lane usage)

     Reduce Local Demand


The use of reversible lanes allows the roadways capacity to increase directionally during peak periods.  This is an efficient use of the current system.


Examples of Implementation:

Rock Creek Park (Potomac Parkway)


Cost/Financial Information:

(Cost/financial information is estimated, and will vary based on size and scope of project, number of units, etc.)


Proper lane control, pavement markings, and signs must be used to direct motorists.  Cost information is found on the Lane Control and Pavement Striping Techniques fact sheets.


Additional Resources:

A Toolbox for Alleviating Traffic Congestion and Enhancing Mobility, available for order at:


Federal Highway Administration: Flexibility in Highway Design, available at: