MnPASS (Pronounced "Minnpass") is the brand name associated with a series of high occupancy toll lanes (HO/T lanes) in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area of Minnesota and is also associated with the electronic toll collection (ETC) system used for those HO/T lanes. The lanes and the ETC system are owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Solo drivers who are registered under the MnPASS program and have a toll transponder are allowed to pay a toll to use the lanes during operating hours. Vehicles with two or more occupants, buses, and motorcycles may use the lanes for free without requiring a toll transponder.
There are three types of MnPASS transponders. The Sticker Tag is the default tag, is free, and is applied to the inside of the windshield. The Sticker Tag is not transferable and is always active.
The License Plate Tag is used for vehicles that have a metallic tint on their windshield that would prevent the MnPASS equipment from reading the tag. There is a United States dollar 15 one-time fee for the License Plate Tag, which otherwise functions the same as the Sticker Tag.
For a flexible option, there is also a Switchable Tag. The Switchable Tag allows users to switch between HOV mode (where using the lanes is free) and solo mode (where users must pay the toll to use the lanes). The Switchable Tag also has a United States dollar 15 one-time fee.
The initial minimum prepaid amount for a MnPASS account is United States dollar 25, plus the cost of an alternative transponder type if applicable.
Small commercial vehicles that are no more than 2 axles and weigh less than 26,000 pounds are eligible to register for a MnPASS account and transponder. Commercial vehicles with more than 2 axles or weigh more than 26,000 pounds are prohibited from having a MnPASS transponder, but may still use the MnPASS lanes when the lanes are free and open to all traffic.
Until August 2, 2021, the MnPASS system was not interoperable with other transponder-based toll systems, such as E-ZPass, I-Pass, or FasTrak. E-ZPass became interoperable with the MnPASS system starting on August 2, 2021, with MnPass rebranded as E-ZPass Minnesota. Existing MnPASS holders are allowed to keep their tags or trade them for E-ZPass tags, and existing MnPASS transponders continue to function on Minnesota toll roads (but not on other states' toll roads).
During MnPASS operating hours, tolls for the MnPASS lanes range from United States dollar 0.25 to United States dollar 8. The actual toll level depends on the volume of traffic. Higher volumes of traffic usually result in higher toll levels. Electronic sensors monitor the traffic density and tolls are changed every three minutes. The variable tolls are intended to keep traffic in the MnPASS lanes moving between 50 and 55 miles per hour. Outside of operating hours, there is no toll and the lanes are free (signed simply as "OPEN") and open to all traffic (regardless of whether they have a transponder or not) with one exception: the reversible MnPASS lanes on Interstate 394 between Highway 100 and Interstate 94 always has a minimum United States dollar 0.25 toll and thus are not open to solo drivers without a MnPASS transponder.
The Interstate 394 MnPASS lanes opened in May, 2005 and were the first such lanes in Minnesota. The lanes were converted from the previous high-occupancy vehicle lanes that were constructed with Interstate 394 in the 1980s and early 1990s.
West of the Xenia/Park Place interchange (just west of Highway 100, the MnPASS lanes function as concurrent flow lanes, utilizing the inside/left lane in each direction. These lanes are separated from the general purpose lanes only by lane striping, as are the Interstate 35W and Interstate 35E MnPASS lanes. The lane striping ranges from a single dashed white line where lane changes (and MnPASS lane access) is allowed to double solid white lines where lane changing is prohibited. The westbound MnPASS lane ends at the Interstate 494 overpass (continuing west of I-494 as a general purpose lane), while the eastbound MnPASS lane begins at the County Road 15 interchange on Highway 12 in Wayzata. These concurrent flow MnPASS lanes are tolled eastbound between 6-10am weekdays and westbound between 3-7pm weekdays. They are open to all traffic at all other times.
East of the Xenia/Park Place interchange, the MnPASS lanes transition to a pair of median-running reversible lanes that are physically separated from the general purpose lanes by a concrete barrier. These lanes extend to the edge of downtown Minneapolis before ending and merging into the Interstate 394 mainline at Interstate 94. Intermediate access to these reversible MnPASS lane is limited to Highway 100, the south frontage road at Highway 100, Dunwoody Boulevard/Van White Boulevard, and Interstate 94 in the direction of the Lowry Hill Tunnel. The lanes are open eastbound (towards downtown) from 6am to 1pm daily, and westbound (away from downtown) daily from 2pm to 5am the following morning. Hours may vary due to special events or maintenance activities.
There were a total of over 1.3 million tolled trips taken in the Interstate 394 MnPASS lanes in 2017.
The MnPASS lanes along Interstate 35W south of downtown Minneapolis were opened in stages between 2009 and 2011 and are a combination of new construction (south of Burnsville Parkway), conversion of the previously existing high-occupancy vehicle lanes (between Burnsville Parkway and 66th Street), construction related to the Crosstown Commons project, and conversion of a median shoulder into a priced dynamic shoulder lane. The lanes are concurrent-flow lanes using the inside/left lane in each direction. The northbound MnPASS lane begins at County Road 42 and extends continuously to 26th Street. The southbound MnPASS Lane begins just south of 42nd Street and extends to Cliff Road.
The northbound MnPASS lane is tolled weekdays between 6-10am and the segment north of Highway 62 is also tolled between 3-7pm. The southbound MnPASS lane is tolled weekdays between 3-7pm with the segment between 42nd Street and Interstate 494 also tolled between 6-10am. The lanes are open to all traffic at all other times.
Almost 950,000 tolled trips were taken in the Interstate 35W MnPASS lanes in 2017.
The future Orange Line bus rapid transitway is expected to heavily utilize the Interstate 35W MnPASS lanes.
The Interstate 35E MnPASS lanes are the first such lanes in the eastern half of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area. These are concurrent-flow lanes, using the inside/left lane in each direction. The lanes were opened from Cayuga Street (north edge of downtown St. Paul) to Little Canada Road in December, 2015 and were added as part of a full reconstruction project. In December, 2016, the southbound MnPASS lane was extended to begin at County Road 96, while a separate northbound MnPASS Lane was added between County Road E (north of Interstate 694) and County Road J (at the Ramsey/Anoka County line. The two northbound MnPASS lanes are tolled weekdays between 3-7pm, while the southbound MnPASS lane is tolled weekdays between 6-10am. The lanes are open to all traffic at all other times.
Approximately 440,000 tolled trips were taken in the Interstate 35E MnPASS lanes in 2017.
The Interstate 494 MnPASS lanes are yet to be constructed, but will be constructed between 2021 and 2023. Westbound there will be a MnPASS lane from MN 77 to I-35W, and eastbound from France Avenue to MN 77. The project is part of a major corridor study happening on Interstate 494.
As part of a massive reconstruction project on Interstate 35W in Minneapolis, the existing priced dynamic shoulder lane will be converted into a full MnPASS lane, and a new southbound MnPASS lane will be constructed, extending both lanes northward to 26th Street. Tentative completion is 2021.
MnPASS lanes will be added to Interstate 35W between County Road C in Roseville and Lexington Avenue/County Road 17 in Blaine in an upcoming project beginning in 2019 with completion expected in 2022.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is currently studying the Interstate 94 corridor between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul. No recommendations have come out of this study yet as of April 2018. However, the corridor is listed as a Tier 1 Corridor for MnPASS implementation by the Metropolitan Council, the region's Metropolitan planning organization.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is currently studying the Highway 169 corridor between Highway 41 near Shakopee and Highway 55 in Plymouth. MnPASS lanes are one of the options being considered.