Learn the Lanes

Life doesn’t stop moving, so you shouldn’t either. The Express Lanes make driving simple, predictable and free depending on your style of traveling. That’s why our customers have driven more than a billion miles with us. All you need is an E-ZPass® or E-ZPass® Flex.

Benefits of driving the Express Lanes

We can tell you all about the benefits of riding the more than 40 miles of our Express Lanes, but it’s best if you test drive them for yourself. Before hitting the road, here are several perks of driving with us:

Free travel options

All you need is three or more people in your car with your E-ZPass® Flex set to HOV mode. Not to mention, motorcycles ride toll-free and don’t need an E-ZPass®.

Comfortable cruising

Get where you need to go faster and safer on our Lanes. Enjoy a more predictable trip knowing you’ll be moving at least 45mph on the 495 Express Lanes and 55mph on the 95 Express Lanes 99% of the time.

Safety service on standby

Help isn’t far behind with our Express Assist safety service patrol. It’s our way of lending a helping hand if you run into some bumps while driving on the Express Lanes. You can count on Express Assist to arrive on average in less than 10 minutes to help you out.

New interchanges to choose from

We’ve added new interchanges along the Beltway and I-95 to pave the way for easier driving with more exit options for our customers. View all of your interchange options when driving the Express Lanes.

How dynamic pricing works

The Express Lanes give drivers the option for quicker traveling. While this comes with a price tag (unless you qualify for free travel – more on that under “Travel for free”), it also manages free-flowing travel. This is made possible by our dynamic pricing system.

It’s all about supply and demand

That means we’re able to maintain free-flowing travel by basing toll prices on the number of cars on the road. Don’t forget, we have many entry and exit points, so you can make the call on how long you you’d like to travel along the Express Lanes.

Stay up to date on pricing

We’ll keep you in the loop on the rates of the road with overhead signs. And even before hitting the road, you can plug your entry and exit points into the Express Lanes mobile app for an approximate cost of your trip.

Travel for free

We’re all about keeping your wheels turning. And depending on how you travel, you can ride for free. The simplest way? To play fair or you pay the fare.

We launched the Fair Travel Program in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Virginia State Police to help drivers understand that HOV rules are always in motion on the Express Lanes. Claiming to be HOV when you’re not can increase toll prices for drivers who are paying and playing fair.

That said, it pays to be honest. And in return, you can ride for free in 3 ways.

1 + 2 = Free

Hop in the pool, the driving is great. Whether you’re in a vanpool or carpool, all you need is 3 or more people to drive the Express Lanes for free. And for our sluggers? Same rules apply. If you have a headcount of 3 or more people in your car, you can ride the Express Lanes for free at any time with your E-ZPass® Flex set to HOV mode.

A bus load of free travel

Buses already equipped with an E-ZPass® welcome passengers on board for the price of a standard bus fare.

Moving on motorcycles

You don’t need an E-ZPass® to take a trip with us, but if you already have one in place on your motorcycle, we still won’t charge you a toll.

Express Lanes signage

Seeing purple signs? That means you’re heading in the direction of our Express Lanes. The purple signs with the E-ZPass® logo and "EXPRESS ONLY" share:

  • Where to go
  • The rules of the road
  • Road conditions
  • Weather alerts

95 Express Lanes pricing signs

The 95 Express Lanes have multiple pricing zones and decision points for drivers. The pricing signs before a 95 Express Lanes entrance show the cost to travel to a maximum of three upcoming exits. When you enter the 95 Express Lanes, you lock in your toll rate until you see another pricing sign along your drive. When you see a new 95 Express Lanes sign, you can decide if you want to pay the toll to keep on traveling or exit onto the regular lanes.

495 Express Lanes pricing signs

You will see pricing signs before all entrances to the 495 Express Lanes. The signs show current toll prices for up to three 495 Express Lanes exits from where you enter. Here’s the signage breakdown:

  • The first and second exits displayed on the signs share the cost to travel to 2 popular destinations from your entry point
  • The third exit displayed on the signs will show the cost to travel to the farthest point you can travel to in the 495 Express Lanes from that entry point

Riding the reversible Lanes

The 95 Express Lanes are reversible. That means cars will be able to drive in either direction depending on the day and time of day.

A simple way to remember which direction our reversible lanes are heading? Think about the weekday morning and evening commutes. Our Lanes point north in the morning to help many of our customers heading into D.C. and then point south in the evening for their return trip.

Tips for a safe trip

Before heading out on the reversible 95 Express Lanes, here’s what you need to know:

  • Keep an eye out for on-road signs since some entry points close or open before others
  • If the gates at access points are up, you’re good to go
  • For your own safety, don’t enter or exit a 95 Express Lanes access point that’s closed or is about to close

Construction at night

We’re working on the I-395 HOV and 95 Express Lanes at night so we don’t hold up drivers traveling at peak times. During these late hours, gate transition times will temporarily increase. We’ll return to a normal gate transition schedule as we wrap up construction.

Approximate schedule

The 495 and 95 Express Lanes run around the clock. Because the 95 Express Lanes are reversible, the northbound and southbound directions follow an approximate schedule. Remember to look for updates on our social media channels, on our website and the 95 Express Lanes signs to know which direction the Lanes are pointing.

When the 95 Express Lanes are open

Weekdays:

  • Closed for reversal – 12am to 2:30am (except on Monday)
  • Open northbound – 2:30am to 11am
  • Closed for reversal –  11am to 1pm
  • Open southbound – 1pm to 12am

Saturday:

  • Open southbound – 12am to 2pm
  • Closed for reversal – 2pm to 4pm
  • Open northbound – 4pm to 12am

Sunday:

  • Open northbound – 12am Sunday to 12am Monday

 

Express Lanes FAQs

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