It's been more than six months since we opened the I-405 express toll lanes, and we have some new information to share. While we've always said it will take up to a year for traffic to adjust, here's what we've seen after six months and how express toll lanes are measuring up so far:
Providing a reliable trip: Speeds at 45 mph or faster 90 percent of the time during peak periods
- 92 percent of the peak period traffic (3-7 p.m.) that sees speeds in the northbound express toll lanes at 45 mph or faster. This is compared to 44 percent for 2015 before express toll lanes opened.
- 90 percent: of the peak period traffic (5-9 a.m.) that sees speeds in the southbound express toll lanes at 45 mph or faster. This is compared to 78 percent for 2015 before the express toll lanes opened.
- 34,000: Average weekday number of tolled trips in the express toll lanes.
- 14,000: Average weekday HOV trips, representing 29 percent of all trips in the express toll lanes.
- 10 percent: Increase in King County Metro ridership on I-405 routes.
Moving more vehicles
- Express toll lanes are now moving more vehicles throughout the entire corridor than the previous HOV lanes were last year.
- 40 percent: More vehicles in the northbound express toll lanes near SR 522 are moving during the peak hour than the same time last year.
What drivers are paying
- 84 percent of drivers continue to pay $4 or less per toll.
- 78 percent of weekday express toll lane users have a Good To Go! pass.
- 30: Locations on arterial routes parallel to I-405 that WSDOT has been monitoring for increased volumes and travel times. Interim data collected in February 2016 showed very similar trends compared to before tolling. Most agencies have reported no noticeable local changes.
While the numbers are encouraging, we know that some drivers have been impacted negatively. There are drivers whose trips, especially between SR 522 and SR 527, have seen slower speeds since express toll lanes opened. We are working to expedite several adjustments, especially those to the northern section of the corridor, so that travelers will see improvement as soon as possible. This includes adding capacity through hard shoulder running.
Since opening the express toll lanes, we've made some system adjustments to improve trips on I-405 in the express toll lanes and the general purpose lanes (full list).
Recent improvements include:
- Changing the express toll lanes hours of operation from 24/7 to Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Since changing the hours of operation we've seen less congestion on the weekends.
- At the SR 520 interchange, lengthened access point and changed from weave lane to skip stripe to provide more open access to the express toll lanes. This lessened general purpose lane congestion in the SR 520 interchange area during afternoon commutes and weekends.
- Last weekend, crews completed work at NE 160th Street, which included:
- NB I-405 added additional signage to clarify the access point to provide drivers more time to exit to SR 522.
- SB I-405 lengthened the access point to allow drivers to enter the express toll lane sooner.
Our next quarterly financial report is due out next month. We'll also be out on the road making additional adjustments northbound at NE 85th Street. We will continue reporting out on express toll lanes performance, and we always welcome your feedback.