Flex Lane honored with regional award for operations excellence

​​Release date: August 17, 2023

The Flex Lane received a regional America’s Transportation Award for operations excellence from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Since opening in July 2022, Wisconsin’s first Flex Lane is often recognized by local, state and now national organizations as an innovative approach to keep traffic flowing on one of the state’s critical urban highways.

“We are proud to accept this award and continually showcase the success of the Flex Lane and improved traffic flow on one of the busiest highways in Madison,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Craig Thompson said. “This award serves as a reminder of our agency’s commitment to improving our transportation system to enhance safety and mobility for Wisconsinites and visitors. I am grateful to the WisDOT staff and our consultant partners who helped deliver – and continue to operate – the Flex Lane.”

Located on the Madison Beltline (US 12/18) between Whitney Way and the I-39/90 interchange in Dane County, the Flex Lane has significantly decreased travel times during peak Beltline hours – up to a 45% reduction. It increases capacity without increasing the highway’s footprint. Preliminary analysis of crash data indicates more than a 20% decrease in total crashes along the Beltline over the first year of Flex Lane operations compared to pre-pandemic conditions.

“The Flex Lane continues to shine as an effective way to lessen traffic backups on the Madison Beltline. I want to commend the Wisconsin DOT on this award,” said Jason M. Fields, CFEI, CCRS, Madison Region Economic Partnership President and CEO. “A reliable infrastructure network is an important part of successful economic growth, especially in the greater Madison area. The Flex Lane builds on that dependability, and people and commerce can better rely on the Beltline now.”

“We congratulate the Wisconsin DOT in receiving this prestigious award for the Flex Lane,” Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett said. “Through the Freeway Service Patrol, our deputies assist motorists, clear road blockages and keep traffic flowing along the Beltline. We are proud to support this approach to alleviate traffic congestion and improve overall safety. We will continue to apply innovative and evidence-based solutions to roadway safety.”
Typically open during morning and afternoon rush hours, the Flex Lane uses the inside median shoulder as an additional travel lane. WisDOT staff continually monitor the Flex Lane to determine best practices based on the traffic performance data. Information on the Flex Lane can be found at wisconsindot.gov/FlexLane.
The Flex Lane will now be entered into the competition’s “Top 12” projects across the nation, which will be announced in early September. Sponsored by AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the America’s Transportation Awards competition recognizes projects and programs across the nation that make their communities better places to live, work and play. The awards focus on getting more out of the existing system; implementing new technologies and innovations; and projects that improve overall quality of life and enhance community development.

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov