HOT Lanes Slow to Catch on With Users
"The poor revenue performance of express tolls, while perhaps not universal, has certainly formed a disturbing trend," writes Jaffe. "According to news reports, Virginia's new HOT lanes on Washington, D.C.'s Beltway lost $11.3 million in their first six weeks, Houston's I-45 and U.S. 59 express lanes haven't covered their costs, and Atlanta's I-85 tolls fell short of the lowest fiscal forecasts. The most egregious offender may be SR-167 in metro Seattle, whose actual earnings fall consistently and astonishingly below revenue expectations..."
Austin Gross, who's studying SR-167 for his doctoral dissertation in economics at the University of Washington, has looked into the reasons why Seattle's HOT lanes have failed to meet expectations. "Gross says there are a multitude of reasons SR-167 hasn't met its revenue goals, but broadly speaking his work reduces things down to two main conclusions: poor traffic planning and a lack of driver familiarity with HOT lanes," explains Jaffe.