Skip to main content

MnDOT to expand efforts to catch violators on MnPASS lanes

The enforcement beacons alert nearby State Troopers if someone doesn't have a valid MnPASS tag.

Enforcement along the carpool lanes in the Twin Cities has been a concern among those who pay to use them, and now a successful pilot program that helps law enforcement nab carpool lane cheaters is being expanded to more MnPASS lanes.

Over the past year, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has been testing enforcement beacons to help state troopers more easily identify when a vehicle doesn't have a valid MnPASS tag.

This new technology was tested on three locations on Interstate 35W and Interstate 35E, according to a MnPASS fact sheet. And MnPASS spokesperson Sue Gergen told BMTN the "technology worked well," so MnDOT is expanding the program throughout the MnPASS system.

MnDOT will spend $370,000 from the MnPASS budget (it typically comes from user fees) to add 24 more beacons along three freeways: 10 on I-35W, six on I-35E and eight on Interstate 394. The plan is to install them all by the end of the year. 

The goal of this new tool is to help reduce the number of MnPASS lane violations so the lanes function at their maximum capacity, the fact sheet says, adding that beacons have been found to improve the effectiveness of MnPASS enforcement, especially when it's dark, and improve trooper efficiency and safety.

How it works

The enforcement beacons read a vehicle's MnPASS tag when the driver passes under it. If the tag is valid, a blue light flashes. 

But if a tag isn't detected, the beacon flashes amber. This light visually alerts a Minnesota State Patrol trooper if they're nearby, and then the trooper can look to see if there is only one person in the vehicle. 

If that's the case, the trooper can then check to see if the driver's MnPASS tag is valid or if it wasn't turned on, which are violations that could result in a fine up to $300, depending on the county. 

MnDOT began testing this new technology to help catch MnPASS lane violators amid concern from MnPASS users. The violation rate for MnPASS lanes in 2019 was 15%, MnDOT says. During that year, the State Patrol's eight MnPASS lane troopers issued 4,808 citations and 1,486 warnings for MnPASS violations. 

Before the beacons, state troopers would have to visually identify vehicles that didn't have a MnPASS tag or two-plus people in the car. 

Next Up

argue-wertman booking photos

Charges: 2 teens responsible for violent carjacking spree across Twin Cities

They face a combined 31 felony counts, all tied to carjackings and related crimes.

rep nolan west mn house

MN rep. says he was 'assaulted' at activist group's public meeting

The Republican said a man grabbed his arms and yanked him from the room.

Screen Shot 2022-01-20 at 12.56.52 PM

What were the 'bizarre things' seen in Minnesota's sky?

The mysterious streaks were not UFOs and they weren't pieces of an asteroid.

icicles, freezing weather, cold weather

Booming noises in the night could be frost quakes

The loud sounds are most likely to happen during the middle of the night.

coronavirus, coronavirus test, covid-19

Free COVID testing site to open in St. Paul for 3 weeks

The federal testing site comes as demand for testing remains high.

Reyel Simmons photo 1 - complaint - crop

MN TikToker accused of faking federal agent life pleads guilty

He told his 10,000 followers he was a Homeland Security agent — authorities say it was a lie.


Report: Vikings request second interview with 2 GM candidates

Ryan Poles of the Chiefs and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Browns.

Amaya Battle

Hopkins takes on No. 1 team in the country on ESPNU Friday

The game will feature a pair of top recruits in the Class of 2022.

st. paul federation of educators - teachers

Educators in Minneapolis, St. Paul could strike amid contract negotiations

Teachers and support staff are demanding smaller class sizes, mental health support and better pay.

turtinen two harbors

MN mayor in hot water for hawking $400M underwater hotel plan

The city council called a special meeting to discuss the mayor's public comments.

police lights

Woman in critical condition after attempted murder, authorities say

A 33-year-old woman is in custody and facing possible charges.


mnpass - edit

MnPASS will become E-ZPass next month

E-ZPass is accepted in toll lanes in 18 other states.

State Patrol

As 4th of July approaches, troopers on lookout for 100 mph speeders

Drivers caught going above 100 mph have increased 149 percent compared to last year.

MnDOT: Expect holiday weekend delays on I-35

Labor Day weekend travelers on Interstate 35 between Duluth and the Twin Cities during Labor Day weekend will find two single-lane construction work zones.