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San Mateo 101 Express Lanes Equity Study

The San Mateo County Express Lanes Joint Powers Authority (SMCEL-JPA) Board of Directors is committed to improving mobility options for historically underserved communities. The SMCEL-JPA is conducting an Equity Study to learn more about potential mobility improvements the San Mateo 101 Express Lane project can help address in these communities. The study will recommend an equity program designed to help with those needs.

About the Express Lanes Project

The San Mateo 101 Express Lanes Project will create 22 miles of express lanes on U.S. 101 from the San Mateo County/Santa Clara County line to I-380 in South San Francisco. The new express lanes will reduce congestion in the corridor, increase the number of people who can travel through the corridor, encourage carpooling and transit use, improve travel times, and more.

In mid-2021, the SMCEL-JPA will determine who will need to pay a fee to use the lanes and how much that fee will be. A portion of these fees will fund the equity program.

About the Equity Study

The Equity Study will take a multi-pronged approach to understanding the underlying issues facing underserved communities as a basis for recommending an equity program. Building off the work conducted through the US-101 Mobility Action Plan, which includes an extensive list of equity-oriented actions that address barriers to transportation, the Equity Study will take the next steps of evaluating equity options and strategies, including a pilot program that can evolve over time, in parallel with the phased implementation of the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes and in response to changing community needs.

SMCEL-JPA Equity Outcomes


The Equity Study Will

  • Identify historically underserved communities who use and/or live adjacent to the express lanes
  • Define metrics to assess the existing transportation conditions and equity program options such as average travel time by car and transit, travel cost, access to jobs, and barriers to transportation
  • Partner with local organizations, committees and individuals with established relationships in underserved communities to understand current conditions and needs
  • Compare metrics between underserved communities and San Mateo County’s general population to understand how transportation benefits are distributed
  • Identify and evaluate options to help address obstacles to mobility, gathering input through additional outreach to underserved communities, the public, and other stakeholders
  • Recommend an equity program intended to maximize benefits to underserved communities


Equity Study Timeline

SMCEL-JPA Equity Timeline 


Examples of Transportation Equity Programs in Other Regions

  • I-110 and I-10 Low-Income Assistance Plan, Los Angeles, CA: LA Metro’s Low-Income Assistance Plan offers eligible Los Angeles county residents a one-time $25 toll credit and an automatic waiver of the monthly account maintenance fee of $1. To be eligible, participants must be residents of Los Angeles County and meet the income threshold requirements.
  • Treasure Island Transportation Affordability Program, San Francisco, CA: The proposed program will subsidize transit passes and provide discounts to services like car and bike share that will make transit affordable and accessible to people living in below market-rate housing on Treasure Island.


Learn More and Get Involved

We need your feedback to complete the Equity Study. Here’s how you can get involved:

Virtual Community Meeting
On Tuesday, November 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., a virtual meeting was held to share more information on the Express Lanes and the Equity Study, and get public input on program options. To watch a recording of the presentation, click the link below.

Recorded Presentation
Presentation Slides
November 18, 2020

Board of Directors Meetings
Staff presented the guiding document and approach to public engagement to the SMCEL-JPA Board of Directors at their September 11, 2020 meeting, which was open to the public and held virtually via Zoom. Below is a link to the presentation and Guiding Document:


All SMCEL-JPA Board of Directors meetings are open to the public. We encourage you to attend these meetings to provide feedback on the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes Equity Study. Visit the calendar for meeting details.

Project Resources

Submit Your Comments and Stay Connected

Email us: equity@smcexpresslanes.org
Call us: 1-800-660-4287
Visit 101express.com for more information on the status of the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes construction and how the lanes will work.

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