During the December 2013 quarter, the 495 Express Lanes marked its first full year of operations. In its first year, the Express Lanes delivered on the promise of faster, more reliable trips, new options for carpools and bus riders, and enhanced incident response. The Express Lanes also attained an important operational milestone during the December quarter – 1 million unique Express Lanes customers served.
Traffic and Tolling
Average daily trips for the December 2013 quarter increased 63.6% compared to the prior corresponding quarter, December 2012. The 495 Express Lanes were opened on November 17, 2012 in the prior corresponding quarter. A portion of the December 2013 quarter contained the Federal government shutdown in October 2013, which negatively impacted traffic volumes during the period. There were 41,327 average workday trips for the month of December – excluding the Christmas and New Year’s vacation weeks – a 4% increase from the month of September.
The average dynamic toll charged during the December quarter was $2.32. The maximum dynamic toll charged during the quarter was $9.75 to travel the full length of the Express Lanes.
On December 19, 2013, the 495 Express Lanes achieved a record 46,975 trips for the day.
Traffic and Revenue Data (December Quarter 2013)
|495 EXPRESS LANES||SEPT. 13 QUARTER||DEC. 13 QUARTER|
|Average Daily Trips||30,518||30,417|
|Average Workday Trips||37,574||37,969|
Note: There were three holidays during the December quarter (Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day)
High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV 3+) and exempt vehicles make up approximately 9% of customers.
Safety on the Express Lanes
The 495 Express Lanes Assist crews continue to patrol 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 approximately 104 travelers in disabled vehicles during the December quarter of 2013. Since the Express Lanes opened, Express Assist has aided approximately 525 travelers.
The operations teams for both the Express Lanes facility and on-road activities continued their focus on safety with 28,274 hours in the December 2013 quarter with zero lost-time work hours. Since opening in November 2012, the team has achieved 142,549 hours with zero lost-time work hours.
Using E-ZPass is the best way to travel on the 495 Express Lanes. It’s important E-ZPass customers make sure to properly mount their E-ZPass transponders, ensure they have sufficient funds in their accounts and that their E-ZPass transponders are properly linked to their license plates. Otherwise they may end up with toll invoices and fees.
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.
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, within five days of travel, at 495ExpressLanes.com/missedatoll.
Customer Care and Feedback
The Express Lanes Team continues to receive feedback from customers on social media channels, through emails and calls to the customer service center. The feedback varies, but comments have included, “My carpoolers and I absolutely love the new Express Lanes” and “I use them every day to go to either my office in Tysons Corner or to take my daughter to school in Oakton.”
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 December quarter, customers contacted the customer service center about several topics, including:
- E-ZPass questions
- Questions about using the Express Lanes
- Missed a toll inquiries
- Payment of toll invoices
One Year Anniversary
The 495 Express Lanes opened one month early on November 17, 2012, with the dynamic tolling system, variable messaging signs and operations center functioning well under real traffic conditions. The Express Lanes marked the occasion of the one year anniversary with a Year in Review report that highlights key milestones from this year including Express Lanes usage statistics (tolling/traffic data) and customer demographic information.