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Old 12-04-2017, 05:42 PM   #1
stellarfun
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$34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

The VA Dept of Transportation introduced dynamic tolling on I-66 in Northern Virginia this morning. Peak toll was $34.50.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.5bd582150cb3

As one driver quipped, 'It's a toll road for the one percenters.'
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Old 12-04-2017, 05:48 PM   #2
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

I give that VA tolling scheme about 2 months.
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Old 12-04-2017, 05:59 PM   #3
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

God, just raise the gas tax.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:53 PM   #4
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

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Originally Posted by meddlepal View Post
I give that VA tolling scheme about 2 months.
Note that previously, I-66 was HOV ONLY (general & truck traffic forbidden) in the rush direction, so this new toll, while expensive, compares to "infinity" (or whatever the cost of an HOV violation had been).

I-66, if you haven't driven it, is just 2 lanes each way and HOV-only at rush hours for much of its length--the fruits of a compromise struck with Arlington VA whose people staunchly opposed its construction through the center of town (atop the old W&OD rail right of way).

Kind of like the demands to build rail upgrades were the condition for building the Big Dig in Boston, Arlington VA cut its own deal before allowing I-66 to be new-cut through town: I-66 would never more than 2 lanes each way, perpetually HOV at rush hour (it was always, and remains, free and unrestricted outside of rush hours and directions...and often congested and slow/volatile at its unrestricted times).

I forget if they actually got some sort of agreement to add lanes (or lengthen merges). I believe the "new" lanes are mostly newly-tolled old lanes whose HOT plan is a plan to fit some SOVs in there--only as many as can be added without bogging down the flow of the HOVs-- and to raise $ generally for the PPP that's doing the upgrades.

I'd say the price reflects the fact that I-66 was already well-patronized--nearly congested--simply by the many HOV carpools that start pretty far out and have always relied on I-66 as a key selling point and "last 4 miles" before crossing the Potomac.

http://www.66expresslanes.org/about_...es/default.asp
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Last edited by Arlington; 12-04-2017 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:15 PM   #5
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

Should be more IMO.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:37 PM   #6
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

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Should be more IMO.
So the beauty is the toll is whatever the market-clearing price is to keep I-66 free-flowing. They expect it'll take 3 weeks of data (15 morning rushes and 15 evening rushes) to know exactly how prices at point of entry relate to downstream traffic that is heavy but not unstable.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:39 PM   #7
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

Keep in mind that 66 and the Beltway meet near the West Falls Church metro station that has a couple thousand parking spaces. You have the option to park and ride public transit in.
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:55 AM   #8
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

What will be interesting is to see how much traffic gets siphoned off to alternative routes, of which there are several, and toll free. Not the exact analogy, but if the Tobin was free and the tunnels charged $15, which route will drivers migrate to when coming in to Boston.
_____________________________________

Edited to add an update from the Washington Post.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local...=.c391e7175be7

Metro (subway) ridership was down slightly at the four stations most affected. There was no bailout traffic (at least in the morning), though it does appear there was bailout in the afternoon rush, because the peak fare was $9.
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Last edited by stellarfun; 12-05-2017 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 12-05-2017, 06:41 AM   #9
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

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What will be interesting is to see how much traffic gets siphoned off to alternative routes, of which there are several, and toll free. Not the exact analogy, but if the Tobin was free and the tunnels charged $15, which route will drivers migrate to when coming in to Boston.
Not sure why it would have that impact.

Before yesterday: HOV-2 only, single occupancy illegal

Yesterday: HOV-2 is free, single occupancy pays a toll.

So, the only people who pay a toll are people who were not allowed to use the road before yesterday. The idea is to allow a single occupancy vehicles to use the road, but a small enough number that it doesn't impact the speed of the HOV-2 vehicles. The toll is not displacing single occupancy toll payers because they were not allowed to use the road last week. It could displace HOV-2 vehicles if it allows enough single occupancy drivers that I-66 becomes the slower option. But that requires two things: (1) single occupancy drivers to irrationally pay money to take a slower route and (2) those in charge not being willing to raise the toll to the point where no single occupancy vehicle is going to take the road. By raising the toll to $34.50 on the first day, there is a major signal that, at peak, they will raise that toll as needed to keep traffic flowing for HOV-2 drivers.

I guess they did get rid of some exceptions for clean fuel vehicles/hybrids and Dulles airport drivers, so there may be a small shift there, but it makes sense. The number of clean fuel vehicles is rapidly rising and now is the time to pull of the band aid on that. And the silver line is giving an increasingly better option for getting to Dulles than driving, at least for anyone who would be using 66.
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:34 AM   #10
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

The Post states that there is an HOV EZPass transponder setting, but how do they verify that there are multiple people in a vehicle? How realistic does a manikin need to be to fool one of these cameras? Looking forward to the article about the first person caught with a blowup doll.

Anyway, I think the dynamic tolling is great, but would like to see a discount for ZEVs.
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:43 AM   #11
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

dwash, they expanded the hours when solo drivers are required to pay a toll; i.e., the previous prohibition against single drivers using I-66 was increased by 90 minutes. Hybrid cars with solo drivers were also allowed, not prohibited. This morning's peak toll was $40, and there was heavy congestion / backups at 5:30 AM by drivers seeking to avoid the toll.
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:18 AM   #12
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin7 View Post
The Post states that there is an HOV EZPass transponder setting, but how do they verify that there are multiple people in a vehicle? How realistic does a manikin need to be to fool one of these cameras? Looking forward to the article about the first person caught with a blowup doll.
Virginia has had HOV lanes for a long time, and the cat-and-mouse / cops-and-dummies game was well-advanced, even before the first HOT lanes went in on the Beltway (I-495) and I-95 (which feeds into I-395, the original HOV-3 system that works so well)

According to the WaPost:
Quote:
One of the goals of the HOT lanes projects is to reduce the number of cheaters in the lanes by requiring all travelers to have transponders that can be read by the toll gantries. In the 495 Express Lanes and the 95 Express Lanes, police have cutouts near the gantries where they can monitor which vehicles are claiming the free ride for carpoolers. They can observe how many people are aboard, chase the cheaters and ticket them. Thatís not going to catch all the cheaters, but so far, itís working to the satisfaction of the public and private partners who set it up. (The state police do these patrols under a contract with Transurban, the company that operates todayís HOT lanes.)



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Anyway, I think the dynamic tolling is great, but would like to see a discount for ZEVs.
The problem on I-66 is congestion and its very high costs in both emissions and, more significantly, wasted human time. Maybe a teeny tiny discount for ZEVs is appropriate (I say this as a ZEV owner), but any SOV vehicle that slows everyone else down potentially imposes a lot of extra emissions and wastes a lot of carpoolers' time.

An SOV ZEV might be a 100 MPGe per passenger at highway speeds. An HOVthat gets 30 MPG highway, is getting 60 MPGe/passenger at HOV-2 and 90 MPGe/passenger at HOV-3. On a 10mile trip, that's not such a huge ZEV win compared to letting the lanes get congested.

And apparently congestion...in the form of extra vehicles at 5:30am that gum things up early (at a cheap or free time) are the problem right now.
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:27 AM   #13
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Re: $34.50 toll for 10 miles of travel in Northern Virgi8nia

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Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
Virginia has had HOV lanes for a long time, and the cat-and-mouse / cops-and-dummies game was well-advanced, even before the first HOT lanes went in on the Beltway (I-495) and I-95 (which feeds into I-395, the original HOV-3 system that works so well)
Thanks. I guess that's a reasonable stopgap until they implement smarter image/video processing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
The problem on I-66 is congestion and its very high costs in both emissions and, more significantly, wasted human time. Maybe a teeny tiny discount for ZEVs is appropriate (I say this as a ZEV owner), but any SOV vehicle that slows everyone else down potentially imposes a lot of extra emissions and wastes a lot of carpoolers' time.

An SOV ZEV might be a 100 MPGe per passenger at highway speeds. An HOVthat gets 30 MPG highway, is getting 60 MPGe/passenger at HOV-2 and 90 MPGe/passenger at HOV-3. On a 10mile trip, that's not such a huge ZEV win compared to letting the lanes get congested.

And apparently congestion...in the form of extra vehicles at 5:30am that gum things up early (at a cheap or free time) are the problem right now.
MPGe is an imperfect measurement and generally understates the advantage of a ZEV in comparison to an ICE vehicle. Even ignoring that and using your numbers, in your comparison the ZEV still has a better MPG/e per passenger yet gets no discount compared to the 3 passenger ICE receiving a 100% discount.

If we throw away the math, I still think incentivizing ZEV adoption is worth any added congestion, which is this case translates into a higher toll for single occupancy ICE vehicles rather than actual congestion.

(Someone would inevitably argue that this is a subsidization of ZEVs and then we would have get into the societal costs of burning fossil fuels, but let's skip that.)
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