Single-occupant drivers using the Interstate 66 Express Lanes inside the Capital Beltway spent, on average, $12.72 per round-trip for the privilege, according to new data set to be presented to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.
The average price for eastbound trips was $8.28, with the average price for westbound trips $4.44 during the period from Dec. 4 (when the Express Lanes project opened) to April 30.
The system uses “dynamic tolling” to adjust prices up and down depending on the amount of traffic during rush hours (5:30 to 9:30 a.m. eastbound, 3 to 7 p.m. westbound). There is no upper limit to the toll rate that can be imposed on single-occupant vehicles, while those with two or more occupants travel for free.
In April, the average round-trip cost for single-occupant vehicles was $14.13 ($9.27 eastbound and $4.86 westbound) and 0.3 percent of the 676,840 toll trips cost $40 or more, according to new data.
For the month of April, travel speeds on I-66 eastbound during the morning commute averaged 51.3 mph, compared to 46.7 mph a year before, while travel speeds in the evening commute westbound averaged 55 mph, up from 47.9 mph a year before.
According to regional transportation officials, drivers on most arterial roadways in the I-66 catchment area – including Routes 7, 29 and 50 – did not see reduced travel speeds in April compared to a year before due to traffic spillover. One exception: There were reduced speeds on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.