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Fact vs Myth: Dynamic Toll Amounts

Fadi Seikaly
Fadi Seikaly February 27, 2018 Fadi is the Marketing Director at The Destination Sales & Marketing Group. He avidly consumes podcasts during his Metro commute. Car free for almost 10 years, he enjoys running outside and biking around Pentagon City and Crystal City during his free time.
ATP Takeaway: Rush hour tolls may impact your daily commute. Learn how to how to plan for dynamic tolling and how to better understand the average I-66 toll cost.

With the new dynamic tolls on I-66, a lot of commuters have been asking about the average price of a commute. We’ve taken a deeper dive into the reported numbers from Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in order to give you a better picture.



Dynamic Tolls on I-66

Since December 4, solo commuters traveling along I-66 have been charged a toll for eastbound travel from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. and westbound travel from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. The toll amounts are dynamically based on the volume of cars on the road. This method of tolling increases the average commute speed and aims to reduce congestion on the interstate.

At this point, the conversation has centered on the high toll amounts commuters are paying to access the I-66 Express Lanes during peak travel times. VDOT released actual numbers for January 2018 toll performance on I-66.

Cost of the commute

  • Average eastbound price: $8.07
  • Average westbound price: $4.30
  • Average round-trip price: $12.37
  • HOV2+ round trip price: $0 (free with an E-ZPass Flex)

Highest toll amounts

During the first four days of tolls being active, there were a nominal number of solo drivers that paid above average prices for their travel along the I-66 Express Lanes. VDOT released the following data to shed light on the drivers who had to pay the highest amounts:

  • 28 people paid $40 on December 5, for morning eastbound travel
  • 39 people paid $34.50 on December 4, for morning eastbound travel
  • 28,021 vehicle trips were made during these two periods of eastbound travel

These two toll amounts were paid by a small percentage of drivers commuting along I-66. The total number of vehicle trips on I-66 during the two times was 28,021, meaning only 0.24% of vehicles paid at or above the $34.50 toll amount.

Throughout January 2018, the numbers from VDOT confirmed the positive trend, as 461 trips out of the 594,381 total trips paid a toll of $40 or more—0.08% of all Express Lanes commuters. The average price for a full round trip on the I-66 Express Lanes (peak time on both directions) was $18.06.

Lowest toll amounts

What about the least amount solo drivers had to pay? On December 4 and December 5, there was additional data on the number of vehicles and the toll amounts:

  • 4,800 people paid less than $10 on December 5 for morning eastbound travel
  • 4,580 people paid less than $10 on December 4 for morning eastbound travel
  • 28,021 vehicle trips were made during these two periods of eastbound travel
  • 33.47% of commuters paid less than $10 for a toll–that’s 9,380 people who paid less than $10.

More importantly, the numbers show that 43% of all vehicles were carpools traveling with an E-ZPass Flex, which meant their commute was free.

The Bottom Line

Although a very small number of vehicles paid a toll price of over $40, on average commuters have been paying a much lower toll price - more importantly, as a result, traffic flow is better for all commuters.

Adjusting to change is tricky, but we are here to help. Visit Commute66.com to learn more, and stay up to date on all the latest developments.



Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Commute, Commute66, I-66


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