During the December 2014 quarter, the 495 Express Lanes marked its second year of operations. The 495 Express Lanes continue to provide the region’s travelers with faster, more reliable trips, options for carpools and bus riders and enhanced incident response. The 495 Express Lanes also launched a First-Time Forgiveness program in October to aid E-ZPass® customers who have issues on the Express Lanes.
The early completion of the roadway improvements from the 95 Express Lanes allowed the project to be opened to drivers on December 14, 2014. Tolls and the new rules went into effect on December 29 with the tolling and traffic management system operating well under real traffic conditions. The opening of the 95 Express Lanes introduced a major transition and new travel options for all I-95 drivers.
495 Express Lanes Traffic and Tolling
Average daily trips on the 495 Express Lanes for the December 2014 quarter increased 16.4 percent compared to the prior corresponding quarter, December 2013. There was an average of 45,120 workday trips for the December 2014 quarter – a 4.5 percent increase from 43,170 in the September 2014 quarter.
The average dynamic toll charged on the 495 Express Lanes during the December quarter was $3.06.
495 Express Lanes Traffic and Revenue Data (December quarter 2014)
* Preliminary information about the 95 Express Lanes will be available in February and regular usage updates will begin in April 2015
|495 EXPRESS LANES||DEC 14 QUARTER||DEC 13 QUARTER|
|Average Daily Trips||35,405||30,417|
|Average Workday Trips||45,120||37,969|
Note: There were four federal holidays during the December quarter (Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, the day after Christmas and New Year’s Day)
High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV 3+) and exempt vehicles make up approximately 10.4 percent of customers.
Safety on the Express Lanes
The Express Lanes Assist crews now provide service to 95 Express Lanes customers and continue to patrol the 495 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 149 travelers in disabled vehicles on the 495 Express Lanes during the December 2014 quarter. Since the 495 Express Lanes opened, Express Assist has aided approximately 1,091 travelers.
The vast majority of Express Lanes customers understand that using E-ZPass is the best way to travel on the 495 Express Lanes. In the areas near the 495 and 95 Express Lanes, more than 74,975 customers signed up for an E-ZPass in the December 2014 quarter. Drivers can avoid invoices and escalating fees by following these E-ZPass tips:
- Make sure their E-ZPass is correctly mounted in their car
- Make sure their E-ZPass account is linked to their license plate
- Make sure their E-ZPass account is in good standing with sufficient account funds
- Set their account up with auto replenishment to avoid having to remember their account balance
Carpoolers traveling with an E-ZPass® FlexSM should be sure to travel with the E-ZPass in the correct mode – only flipping the switch to HOV mode when they have three or more people in the car.
Travelers with questions about E-ZPass should contact the E-ZPass agency that manages their account. Travelers can learn more about E-ZPass on the Express Lanes website. Or, they may view additional information about the Express Lanes enforcement process. Travelers who take the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass can pay their toll and a small fee within five days of travel at ExpressLanes.com/missedatoll.
Although less than 0.1% of all 495 Express Lane trips end up in court, we continue to do all we can to minimize any traveler going to court, including the First-Time Forgiveness program which has helped nearly 800 travelers as of the end of December. It’s our continued goal to work with our customers by providing regular communications to avoid any confusion regarding the E-ZPass management issues and we urge travelers to contact us if they have questions about an invoice.