After several days of operation, the new Interstate 405 express toll lanes are working well. They began providing a fast and reliable trip immediately to drivers and transit users. Our traffic engineers are also keeping a close eye on I-405’s regular lanes to see how traffic is moving.
We’ve closely watched travel times during the morning and evening commutes the past few days and compared them to travel times from October 2014. We’ve taken their information and plotted them on the charts below. So far, the results are encouraging.
The morning commutes
- The solid black line shows the average weekday morning commute time in the regular lanes for October 2014. That’s our “baseline,” if you will.
- The black dashed line shows a very heavy commute drivers experienced once out of every 20 days in October 2014.
- The blue line shows the southbound commute for Monday, Sept. 28.
- The purple line shows Tuesday morning’s commute.
- The yellow line shows Wednesday morning’s commute.
Now, compare that to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
- On Monday, the blue line, the average commute time in the regular lanes peaked at 65 minutes right around the 7 a.m. hour.
- On Tuesday, the purple line, the southbound commute in the regular lanes was slower compared to October 2014. It peaked just below 75 minutes at 7:30 a.m. But, that also coincides with a collision that occurred at Northeast 70th Street. About 90 minutes later a second collision occurred near Northeast 108th.
- The commute on Wednesday morning showed travel times in the regular lanes were much lower than average.
The evening commutes
For the evening commute graph:
- The solid black line is our average weekday evening commute in the regular lanes in October 2014.
- The black dashed line represents the type of commute we experienced once out of every 20 days in October 2014.
- The green line and orange lines are Monday and Tuesday evenings commutes in the regular lanes, respectively.
The travel time of approximately 41 minutes each evening is right in line with our average commute times in the regular lanes last year. They are well below the high commutes we experienced one in every 20 days.
The I-5 diversion myth
We’ve heard a few things about the express toll lane system and how it’s affecting traffic on I-5. One persistent claim is that more drivers have diverted to I-5 in order to avoid the tolls and perceived congestion. The numbers show us that’s not the case. The traffic volumes have remained fairly steady on I-5 since tolling began.
Know before you go: familiarize yourself with the lanes
We know that change can be uncomfortable at times. Drivers can familiarize themselves with the express toll lanes beforehand by checking the top ten things you need to know about them.
There’s also this really helpful interactive map to help drivers figure out where they should enter and exit the toll lanes.
We’re still at the beginning of a learning curve. Everyday we’ve noticed that more drivers are using the express toll lanes. Other states that have instituted express toll lanes advise it takes six months to a year before traffic stabilizes into a new normal.
We’ll keep watching traffic closely, monitoring travel times and making adjustments as needed in order ensure we provide drivers with the choice of a reliable and predictable trip on I-405.