Reversible Lanes Traffic Gate Technologies

Resistance barrier gates on HOV

In areas with highly congested traffic, it can be beneficial for controlling agencies to switch the direction of traffic to allow for faster traffic movement. During peak traffic times, reversible lanes can make a massive difference to those needing to get home or get to work on time. These lanes are most often changed every day to keep up with daily trends in traffic direction. Traffic coming into a city may be more congested in the morning, and lanes leaving the city may be more crowded in the evening. Traffic gates make reversing lane directions a smoother and much safer process. This guide will expand on the strategy and proper implementation of reversible lanes. 


Related: Vehicle Gates Used in Managed Lane Applications




Reversible lanes are usually regularly scheduled daily lane changes that help to reduce traffic near cities. However, significant events such as games or concerts and emergencies can create a need for freeing up lanes in a certain direction. 

Reversible lanes can change all lanes of a road to move in the same direction, but some can free up just one lane by using mobile dividers. Road crews will ensure the safety of oncoming traffic by surveying lanes ahead of time and checking all gates and dividers are set up properly. In short, a four-lane highway with two lanes usually moving in either direction can be split in any combination to achieve easier flow. 

Regularly reversible lanes will need thorough collaboration from agencies and will need infrastructure to ensure everything will be working correctly. Automated signs, remote monitoring, and traffic gate technology will provide a secure way to conduct lane reversals. The city’s transportation management center will need to inspect lanes prior to changing them to remove any abandoned vehicles or other obstructions. Many cities have implemented these lane changes that take as little as 15 minutes to reverse to keep with traffic needs. 


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Using the reversible lane system can be the right choice for freeways and areas with extremely high levels of traffic and peak traffic times. Peak traffic times that are unbalanced with two or three times the traffic heading in one direction over another can justify setting up an automated and gated system. There are a few benefits to lane reversal systems: 

  • More efficient use of roadways and infrastructure
  • Faster traffic flow that gets drivers where they need to be
  • Can do away with the need for additional road construction 
  • Prevents congested or dangerous roads

City traffic at night


Related: Active Warning Gates For Use in Intelligent Transportation Systems


How to Implement


Planning needs 


Traffic and roadway authorities will have to conduct thorough planning to ensure drivers’ safe passage on reversible lanes. Engineers will need to survey and judge how the reversible lane will act, given a variety of factors and scenarios. The engineers will judge when the lanes should be best optimized to change and identify daily traffic congestion triggers. Authorities will need to designate roadcrews and decide if they have the required resources to carry out a lane reversal safely.


Policy needs 


City and agency officials will need to observe existing standards and guides for reversing lanes.

These authorities will most likely be an interagency team that could include the state transport authority, construction, or highway patrols. This team will need to coordinate to ensure proper communication, operations, and support are being carried out.


Equipment needs 


Agencies will have a variety of equipment needs that will be necessary to ensure a safe transition: 

  • Barrier equipment – This will include traffic gates or machines that will be used to set up and take down barriers.
  • Adequate Signage – Electric and static signs will communicate to drivers the lane status and access points.
  • Traffic Detection Equipment – Cameras, software, and sensors may need to be installed in order to facilitate triggers to reverse lanes and signal any incidents. 


Coordination needs 


To ensure that the public knows about any lane reversal projects, coordination between the media and roadway authorities must take place to communicate changes. Coordination with law enforcement will also be necessary as this may change emergency routes and enforce the new directions. 


Agency Resource needs 


A higher number of traffic management employees may be needed to monitor traffic trends, and engineers will need to gauge the effectiveness of signage. Agencies will need to make ongoing modifications to improve traffic and safety. 


Maintenance needs 


Periodic maintenance of automated lane reversal systems will include testing all components and safety measures to provide the best transportation experience possible. 


The Future of Reversible Lanes Traffic Gate Technologies


Reversible lanes seem like a common-sense approach to utilize roadways to their highest possible degree, but they can be challenging to implement correctly. 

Tools like automated traffic gates, remote-controlled LED lighting, and even AI could help with future lane reversal technology, preventing the need for costly new construction. Traffic gates are beneficial to stop drivers from entering lanes when they are not safe to do so.


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Warning gates for HOV Managed Lane

B&B Roadway Security Solutions has the needed equipment and experience for a variety of transportation needs. Our products include essential tools for setting up a reversible lane highway. Find an assortment of navigation lights, warning gates, resistance barriers, LED lighting, and other quality products that can help provide a safe and effective roadway transition. B&B Roadway solutions specialize in providing transport needs and equipment for managed lanes, bridges, HOV lanes, emergency roads, and more. With decades of experience since our founding in 1925, we can help consult on the equipment you will need for any roadway project. Contact us today at +1 (888) 560-2060.


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