New high-occupancy toll lanes will open along a stretch of the Queen Elizabeth Way in the fall as part of a pilot project aimed at improving traffic flow, Transportation Minister Stephen Del Duca has announced.

The lanes, which replace existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, will be placed between Trafalgar Road in Oakville and Guelph Line in Burlington as of Sept. 15.

Vehicles with two or more occupants will still be allowed to travel in the lanes for free but now single drivers will have the option of purchasing a permit to use them.

Approximately 1,000 permits will be made available through a draw every three months and those chosen in the draw will be able to purchase one for $180 or $60 a month.

Applications for the first draw will be accepted on the ServiceOntario website from Aug. 1 to 21.

“HOT lanes have the ability to help the whole highway system move faster by relieving pressure from regular lanes and by providing an option for motorists who are willing to pay a small fee,” Del Duca said on Wednesday. “We are providing drivers with one more choice to consider that will help their commutes move more smoothly.”

Del Duca said that the only change drivers will notice on the QEW is new signage informing them about the HOT lanes.

The Transportation Minister, however, said the province will seek out innovative new technologies that can be used to monitor compliance and traffic flow.

“We have an enthusiastic and world-leading Ontario-based cluster of technology companies that are partnering with governments around the world to develop and implement exciting technologies that significantly reduce the need for traditional infrastructure on tolled roadways,” he said. “That is why we are using the QEW pilot as an opportunity to work with and grow this industry.”

The QEW pilot project is expected to last for four years and Del Duca said his government sees it as the first step towards introducing a “network of fully electronic HOT lanes across the region.”