495 Express Lanes Usage Update – October 2013

Oct 9, 2013

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The 495 Express Lanes have been open approximately ten months, providing the region new options on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway. Customers continued to choose the 495 Express Lanes when traveling on the Beltway, even during the summer vacation period.

The average dynamic toll charged increased from $1.71 in the June quarter to $1.86 for the September quarter. The maximum dynamic toll charged during the quarter was $8.90 to travel the full length of the Express Lanes, compared to the June quarter maximum of $7.55.

On September 12, 2013, the 495 Express Lanes achieved a record 47,303 trips for the day.

Traffic and Revenue Data (September Quarter 2013)

Average Daily Trips 21,008 28,905 30,518
Average Workday Trips 26,294 34,974 37,574

Note: There were two holidays during the September quarter (Independence Day and Labor Day).

Consistent with other express lane facilities, the 495 Express Lanes are still within the expected ramp-up period with both usage and pricing expected to increase progressively over time.

HOV Travel
High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV 3+) and exempt vehicles make up approximately 9% of users.

Safety on the Express Lanes
The 495 Express Lanes Assist crews have been patrolling the Express Lanes to help travelers in case of an incident. They also patrol the Express Lanes for debris, to keep the Express Lanes safe and clean for customers.  Express Assist aided more than 100 travelers in disabled vehicles during the September quarter of 2013. Since the Express Lanes opened, Express Assist has aided more than 400 travelers. 

E-ZPass Update
There has been an increase in E-ZPass adoption over the last 18 months, but approximately 40% of Beltway travelers report not having an E-ZPass.

Using the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass can result in invoices and escalating fees. Ignoring multiple toll invoices results in a traveler’s information being sent to a debt collection agency and then potentially to the court system. To avoid escalating fees and court, it’s best to pay invoices in a timely fashion.

Using E-ZPass is the best way to travel on the 495 Express Lanes. Travelers can learn more about E-ZPass at 495ExpressLanes.com/using-ezpass

If you travel on the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass, you can pay your toll and a small fee right away at 495ExpressLanes.com/missedatoll

Customer Care and Feedback
The Express Lanes Team is receiving feedback from customers on social media channels, through emails and calls to the customer service center. The feedback varies, but comments have included, “I'm very pleased with the 495 Express Lanes. They're there when I need them, or when I simply want to travel in a more free-flowing, less stressful environment.” and “Let me first say I love the Express Lanes.  If there is an exit where I'm headed, I will always choose the Express Lanes over the main lanes.”

495 Express Lanes Customer Care
Travelers have made use of the 495 Express Lanes Customer Service Center via email, chat or by phone. In the September quarter, customers contacted the customer service center about several topics, including:

  • Missed a toll inquiries
  • Disputes of toll invoices
  • Questions regarding E-ZPass
  • Questions about using the Express Lanes

Ideas Campaign
The 495 Express Lanes on September 26, 2013 launched a campaign to gather feedback from Beltway drivers about the Express Lanes. The campaign was developed in response to the valuable comments drivers have sent over social media and customer service center channels since the Express Lanes opened. The ideas campaign encourages feedback and offers a dedicated channel for drivers to submit advice. Both customers and non-customers are encouraged to provide ideas via the campaign by visiting 495ExpressLanes.com/ideas. Feedback and comments can cover any area related to the 495 Express Lanes, including E-ZPass, driver education and roadway markings. The campaign will accept ideas until October 25. 

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