Tysons, Va. -- Transurban, the operator of the 495 and 95 Express Lanes, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Virginia State Police today announced the launch of the Fair Travel Program to educate high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) drivers who use the 495 and 95 Express Lanes on the proper use of E-ZPass and E-ZPass Flex transponders and HOV requirements. The program will include customer education and enhanced enforcement on the Express Lanes.
“We are committed to ensuring a fair, safe and reliable travel experience on the Express Lanes for our customers,” said Leigh Petschel, Vice President of Operations at Transurban. “Through the Fair Travel Program, we want to remind our customers of the HOV rules on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes, as well as offer tips on how to correctly use the E-ZPass Flex.”
The program will launch prior to the opening of VDOT’s I-66 inside the Beltway Express Lanes project, as a way of helping new E-ZPass customers familiarize themselves with the E-ZPass Flex and the differences from the standard E-ZPass transponder.
Enhanced enforcement of HOV violations is an additional component of the program because violators who falsely claim to be HOV on the Express Lanes can contribute to increasing toll prices for those drivers who do comply with HOV regulations and choose to pay to use the Express Lanes. Troopers issued 43 citations during a recent enforcement blitz initiative conducted in the Express Lanes.
Key elements of the program will include:
- Educational emails issued to E-ZPass Flex customers
- Letters to customers who travel in HOV mode on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes
- Social media campaign advising on how to properly use E-ZPass and the rules of the road
- Advisory messages on dynamic message signs along the Express Lanes corridor
- Increased Virginia State Police presence in the Express Lanes with focus on HOV enforcement
- Enforcement system improvements, including new cameras and deploying handheld E-ZPass readers to aid Virginia State Police troopers while enforcing violations and providing patrol to promote highway safety
- Educational materials for troopers to provide to drivers who are stopped for related infractions
“Virginia is a leader in offering innovative transportation solutions such as managed express lanes to provide travel options, promote carpooling and transit use, and improve regional mobility,” David Caudill, Tolling Division Administrator at VDOT. “The success of express and HOV lane facilities depends upon motorists correctly using their E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex and following the HOV rules. The Fair Travel Program will support awareness about HOV rules and promote compliance on the Express Lanes.”
“Troopers not only patrol the Express Lanes each day to keep drivers safe and respond to incidents, but to also detect and deter violators,” said Captain James E. De Ford Sr., Virginia State Police Fairfax Division Commander. “With more than 80,000 vehicles coming and going daily, this program will reinforce to violators that our troopers are on the road and able to ensure drivers are correctly using the Express Lanes.”