Year one of the Transform 66: Inside the Beltway project, to add dynamic tolling to the I-66 corridor, is behind us. But the work continues, with the goals of reducing congestion, increasing travel speeds, improving transit options, and transforming commutes for the better. We take a look at some of the highlights of the past year as well as upcoming projects for year two.
The Year in Review
In 2018, the Transform 66 project moved more people through the corridor, increased options for residents around the I-66 area, improved transit service, and reduced overall congestion. The 10 multimodal projects across the corridor have highly contributed to these results.
- On July 10, 2017, Stone Ridge Enhanced Transit park and ride lot began serving customers. The new lot tripled the capacity of the original parking lot, and the location nears full capacity on a regular basis.
- In late 2017, ahead of the active tolls, Arlington County launched a transportation demand management program—Commute66—to raise awareness about I-66 changes, and to reach residents and employers along the corridor to communicate the benefits.
- On December 4, 2017, the Fairfax Connector started operations between the Government Center and downtown Washington, DC, with strong ridership throughout the year.
- On December 12, 2017, an express bus service connecting Gainesville with the Pentagon also became operational and is one of OmniRide’s most successful routes. Ridership received a boost when half-fares were introduced in July.
- On June 25, 2018, Metrobus 2A peak period service expansion began between Washington Boulevard and Dunn Loring. Improvements were made to the bus stop as well as the bus shelter, which has helped increase bus speed along the route.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) has extended funding for these projects and more into FY2019 to continue to positively impact the region through its next phase of growth. In addition to projects already underway, NVTC has identified the following as major projects for FY2019:
- Flexible Vanpool Program through PRTC/OmniRide
- Bicycle Parking Improvements at the Manassas VRE station
- Metrobus Route 3T extension and service expansion in the city of Falls Church
- Capital Bikeshare expansion in Vienna/Merrifield
- CUE access and technology improvement in the city of Fairfax
- On-demand commuter lot shuttles in Prince William County
- Intelligent Transportation System Enhancements installation in Arlington County
Download the I-66 Commuter Choice Annual Report to find out more.
2018 Travel Reports
According to VDOT’s monthly reports, travel speeds have been steadily increasing month to month. In August 2018, speeds on I-66 averaged 56.2 miles per hour, compared to 52.7 miles per hour for the same time period in 2017. Furthermore, throughout the first six months of active tolls, 43% of trips used E-ZPass Flex and avoided paying the tolls, enjoying a faster commute and free use of the express lanes.
While these numbers are encouraging, the work is not yet done. As the project to transform the corridor moves forward, the goals remain the same: Move more people along the corridor, reduce roadway congestion, increase travel options, enhance transportation connectivity, and improve transit service.
As we move into year two of the Inside the Beltway project, it’s worth rethinking the long commute. If you’re looking for ways to avoid the dynamic tolls and take advantage of the new incentives, but don’t know where to start, you can contact us to request a new commute.
If your business or property is ready to help your employees or residents travel I-66, download our I-66 Incentives Guide to better understand how you can positively impact commutes.
Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com for Arlington Transportation Partners