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I-495 Express Lanes Survey Shows Reduced Trip Times

Survey results also reveal barriers preventing commuters from using the lanes, which opened in November 2012.

More than 80 percent of I-495 Express Lanes users reported reduced trip times, according to the results of a survey of more than 1,700 frequent Capital Beltway drivers conducted by Express Lanes management.

Eighty-two percent of users of the Express Lanes polled in the survey “estimated a real time savings on their trip,” according to the results released Wednesday.

The lanes opened in November 2012 on the Virginia side of the Beltway promising easier but pricier trips to commuters. All drivers must have an E-ZPass or E-ZPass FlexSM to pay the fares to use the Express Lanes.

The survey also revealed some of the barriers preventing people from using the lanes: 46 percent of travelers polled said they don’t have an E-ZPass.

Figuring out how to get on and off the lanes seems to be the main reason why drivers aren't using the lanes. Forty-one percent of drivers polled who have not take the Express Lanes said the lack of clarity about how to get on them plays a role in why they haven’t tried to use them. Forty-six percent of drivers polled said the lack of clarity of about how to get off the lanes has played a role in why they haven’t used them. 

To help drivers understand how to get on and off the lanes, interchange videos are now available on the Express Lanes website. The videos give drivers a behind-the-wheel view of how to get off and on the Express Lanes.

The top reasons travelers used the Express Lanes included:

  • “Needed” to reach a destination on time
  • Mainline Beltway congestion
  • Interest in a reliable trip
  • Interest in getting on or off the Express Lanes at one of the new entry/exit points in Tysons Corner or Merrifield

Have you used the I-495 Express Lanes? Have they reduced your commute time? What do you think of them? Tell us in the comments.

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