D.C. HOT Lanes Still Struggling to Attract Customers

A year after $2 billion high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes opened along the Capital Beltway in Northern Virginia, traffic volume remains below projections.

1 minute read

October 25, 2013, 9:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


"The 495 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia—14 miles of EZ Pass-only toll lanes where HOV-3 vehicles ride free—are still struggling to attract drivers nearly one year after opening," reports Martin Di Caro. "Traffic volume on the new highway is below expectations, according to information reported to the Australian Securities Exchange."

"When asked why it remains a challenge attracting motorists to a congestion-free toll road in one of the most congested corridors in a region known for its bumper-to-bumper jams, [Michael McGurk, a spokesman for Transurban, an Australia-based road building conglomerate] said many drivers are still learning about the Express Lanes."

“'From this last quarterly report, we learned that 40 percent of Beltway travelers don't have an EZ Pass, which means they're not in a position to even take advantage of this roadway,' said McGurk, who has said a new toll road usually has a ramp-up period of three years before usage peaks."

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