Managing Traffic Day-to-Day
The Golden Gate Bridge is a vital transportation link between the City and County of San Francisco and Marin County to the north, and managing lane configurations on the Bridge is critical to keeping traffic flowing.
The Bridge's moveable median barrier is typically positioned to allow three lanes of southbound traffic and three lanes of northbound traffic during weekday non-commute periods and on weekends. During weekday commute periods, the barrier is usually shifted to four lanes southbound into San Francisco in the morning and to four lanes northbound during the evening commute. The barrier is moved by teams of two Bridge workers driving a “zipper” truck. The truck picks up the barrier on one end and offsets the barrier by about ten feet on the other end. The lane change operation typically takes about thirty minutes to complete.
Traffic Management Projects Over the Years
As a fixed, six-lane roadway, the Golden Gate Bridge cannot be easily expanded to accommodate traffic growth. Instead, the Bridge has been the site of a number of nationally-recognized and innovative projects designed to improve the flow of traffic.
Moveable Median Barrier (2015)
The Golden Gate Bridge became safer for drivers when the District installed a new Moveable Median Barrier (MMB) to virtually eliminate the possibility of a head-on collision.
Visit the Moveable Median Barrier page for more information.
All Electronic Tolling (2013)
The Golden Gate Bridge converted to all electronic tolling on March 27, 2013. All motorists crossing the Bridge in the southbound direction (into San Francisco) now either pay their Bridge toll using FasTrak or one of three Pay-By-Plate electronic options.
For more information on toll rates and payment options, visit our Tolls & Payment section.
The Golden Gate Bridge introduced the FasTrak electronic toll collection system on July 13, 2000.
Golden Gate Ferry & Transit Systems (1970 & 1972)
The Golden Gate Ferry system launched on August 15, 1970, and was followed by the Golden Gate Transit bus system on January 1, 1972. These public transit systems were started as traffic management solutions to growing congestion on the Golden Gate Bridge.
One-Way Toll Collection (1968)
The Golden Gate Bridge converted to one-way toll collection on October 19, 1968. This conversion meant that tolls were collected in the southbound direction only (heading into San Francisco).
The Bridge was the first in the world to offer one-way toll collection. The system proved so successful that is has since been instituted on many bridges throughout the world.
Reversible Lanes (1963)
Reversible lanes were inaugurated on the Golden Gate Bridge roadway on October 29, 1963, greatly aiding the flow of traffic during the heavy morning and evening commute hours and during weekend tourist periods. At any given time, the number of lanes northbound or southbound are adjusted.