SANDAG, in collaboration with Caltrans, the cities of Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista, the County of San Diego, and other key stakeholders, explored the feasibility of adding Express Lanes (HOV), Toll Lanes, or other congestion management alternatives to State Route (SR) 78 to address regional and local travel demand within the corridor.
The SR 78 Corridor Study explored issues related to right-of-way constraints and operations including interchanges with I-5 and I-15. The study also evaluated the effectiveness of Express Lanes for preserving corridor mobility and estimated revenues that could be collected through user fees for the new Toll Lanes.
On May 18, 2012, the SANDAG Transportation Committee accepted the SR 78 Corridor Study and its findings and directed staff to provide them to Caltrans for consideration in the project development process.
The study examined two alternatives, including the addition of two new lanes on SR 78 (one eastbound, one westbound), auxiliary lane improvements, and transit and freeway connector projects consistent with the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). Additional transit serving California State University San Marcos, MiraCosta College, and Palomar College also was evaluated. Travel demand was analyzed for the years 2020, 2035, and 2050.
Alternative 1 analyzed the new lanes as Express Lanes (HOV), as per the 2050 RTP, where carpools and transit would access the lanes for free. Solo drivers who pay a fee also could access the Express Lanes.
Alternative 2 included the new lanes as Toll Lanes, where all drivers, with the exception of transit vehicles, would pay for access.
The findings of the SR 78 Corridor Study will be considered in the next stage in the project development process, which is the development of a Project Study Report (PSR). Caltrans will begin work on a PSR for SR 78 from I-5 to I-15 and a PSR/Project Development Study in FY 2013.