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Express Lanes Feature 

495 Express Lanes: Drivers Share First Impressions

Feb 20, 2013
 

Since the 495 Express Lanes opened on November 17, 2012, they have provided Northern Virginia drivers with a faster, more predictable trip.  In December 2012 and January 2013, the Express Lanes team conducted an independent research study of 1,760 frequent Capital Beltway drivers in the Greater Washington, D.C. area.  The research reveals drivers’ overall impressions, experiences and opinions of traveling on the Beltway and the 495 Express Lanes in its first two months of operations.




The survey found:

Traffic congestion is area residents’ biggest concern:

  • 64 percent of frequent Beltway drivers cite traffic congestion as the biggest problem they face living in the Greater Washington, D.C. area
  • Traffic congestion is a bigger concern than the economy (11 percent), the housing market (7 percent) and unemployment (4 percent)

Top reasons travelers had used the Express Lanes*:  

  • “Needed” to reach a destination on time (71 percent)
  • Mainline Beltway congestion (45 percent)
  • Interest in a reliable trip (22 percent)
  • Interest in getting on or off the Express Lanes at one of the new entry/exit points in Tysons or Merrifield (16 percent)

*Respondents asked to select all that apply

All drivers must have an E-ZPass® or E-ZPass® FlexSM to use the Express Lanes, but some drivers are missing out on a faster, more predictable commute:

  • 46 percent of frequent Beltway travelers said they still do not have an E-ZPass

Express Lanes users give the new travel option high marks:

  • 75 percent of travelers who have tried the Express Lanes said they are likely to use them again
  • Nearly 7 in 10 Express Lanes users would recommend the Express Lanes to their friends, family and colleagues

While the majority of drivers who have used the Express Lanes are likely to use them again, there are some barriers to first-time use:

  • 41 percent of drivers who have not taken the lanes say being unclear about getting on the Express Lanes plays a role in why they haven’t tried the lanes  
  • 46 percent of drivers who have not taken the lanes say being unclear about getting off the Express Lanes plays a role in why they haven’t tried the lanes

Express Lanes users save time:

  • 82 percent of Express Lanes users estimated a real time savings on their trip

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