Monday, August 14, 2017

Support for the I-405 express toll lanes is growing

By Ethan Bergerson

When the I-405 express toll lanes opened nearly two years ago, it stirred up a lot of strong feelings. But we had learned from feedback about the SR 167 HOT lanes that public support would improve with time. Though some drivers continue to express frustration, over time we’ve heard more and more positive comments about the express toll lanes as well.

I-405 drivers tell us what they really think
We wanted to hear directly from customers, so we visited the Bellevue Good To Go! customer service center to talk to I-405 drivers and ask what they thought about the express toll lanes.
We heard a mix of opinions. Some customers said the express toll lanes worked great and they liked having the option, and others said they didn’t see the benefit and only used them when they really needed to get somewhere on time.

Surveys show growing support for express toll lanes
We also conducted a survey in June 2017 to help us find out what people are thinking about the express toll lanes. The survey represented drivers who have used any part of I-405 in the past year and who lived throughout Snohomish and east King county. About half of respondents said they had used the express toll lanes, and half had not. It used a diverse online panel and had a ±4.8% margin of error.

Sixty percent of people told us that they like having the option to use the express toll lanes for a faster trip. This represents a complete flip in opinion compared to the surveys we did when the express toll lanes were brand new. When we asked people what they thought of the express toll lanes in January 2016, three months after they opened, 77 percent of people told us they did not support the project.

Today, two-thirds of those surveyed agree that the express toll lanes help reduce congestion in the regular lanes, a complete change from January 2016 when 77 percent of people we surveyed thought the opposite.

The answers to these questions were consistently positive among people of all incomes, ages, and genders.

People who dislike the express toll lanes still feel as strongly as ever
Despite the growth in popularity, there are still people who feel as strongly as ever that the express toll lanes are a bad idea.

Not everyone who liked having the option to use express toll lanes loved every aspect of them.  For example, only a third of people agreed that tolls are an effective way to reduce congestion, which shows that a lot of people still have mixed feelings about these lanes.

Please continue to let us know how you feel about the express toll lanes. Your feedback – positive and negative – is important to us and helps us make improvements to the system.

Updated Aug. 25, 2017 to correct that the January 2016 survey found 77 percent opposition to express toll lanes, not 87 percent.


NTC said...

One sided article.

R Rogers said...

Fake news

Freeway disgust said...

Agreed, one sided no doubt.the cost of using those lanes can be outrageous.not in the realm of possibility for a lot of people. Look at all the wasted lane space. There could be another lane there and have them all free. We did already pay for the highway roads years ago

Freeway disgust said...

Agreed, cost is outrageous. There's enough room for 2 more lanes in some of those areas. Wasted road space on roads we have already payed for long ago

405 is bad for low income users and ONLY HELPS THOSE WITH MONEY said...

I will not take 405 unless absolutly necessary (I'd rather drive I-5 through Seattle as it is much faster). Every time I have taken 405, if you are not in the HOT lanes you are going so slowly! It breaks my heart that if you have the money, your time is apparently more valuable, but the single mom barely getting by, that is trying to get home to her kids... she is just out of luck )-:

Nick said...

Agree that the article shows bias. The negative part is in small print at the bottom... I would like to see the WSDOT be fair and honest rather than try to distort survey results.

Unknown said...

Complete joke and just the usual propaganda from the Extortion Kings at W$DOT. This debacle is failing each and every metric that would make it a supposed 'success' and that should automatically trigger its removal after the two year trial period, per the original agreement. Anybody think that is actually going to happen? It won't because W$DOT is the SINGLE MOST CORRUPT entity in the state of Washington.

Lastly, anybody else notice that once they opened the shoulder lane on 405N as you approach 5 that that the back up is now MILES long each and every day? This used to be the one stretch of 405 that actually moved. No longer. Typical W$DOT incompetence.

WSDOT said...

NTC, R Rogers and Nick: Although we focused on the majority opinions, we acknowledged the negative feedback as well.

Freeway disgust: The average toll for a peak period, peak direction trip is $3.29. We cannot pay for the highways once and never improve them.

405 is bad...:Research shows that people of all income levels use express toll lanes.

Unknown said...

WSDOT: Can't pay for the highways once and never improve them? Tell me again why we are paying one of the highest gas taxes in the entire nation if not to improve roads? You feel that resorting to extortion is a justifiable means to do that? The only thing you are doing with the Extortion money is putting in MORE Extortion lanes!!!!

Average toll for peak period is $3.29? LOL, tell that to someone coming from Snohomish county!! It is TEN DOLLARS each and EVERY day!!!!

No comment on the shoulder lane disaster on NB 405? Yeah, didn't think so.

Unknown said...

This is fake news. The extortion toll lanes were forced onto the public with deception, propaganda and straight out lies. They have been one of the biggest mistakes in transportation history and one of the biggest ripoffs of the public in recent memory. The extortion toll lanes have made traffic much much worse and everyone knows this. They continue to send cars onto streets and neighborhoods where they have never been before. We would all be better off if the extortion toll lanes were suspended ASAP. We need the general purpose lanes we were originally promised in the master plan. It is shameful that WSDOT is trying to add an extortion toll lane on I405 from Renton to Bellevue instead of 2 additional general purpose lanes as we were originally promised. Adding an extortion toll lane from Renton to Bellevue instead of a general purpose lane will cause a traffic catastrophe. We are not going to let that happen! No toll lane on I405!

Unknown said...

It's time to admit that this experiment has been a complete failure and suspend the extortion toll lanes ASAP! You have a responsibility to the public to do what's right.

Per-Ola said...

Of course we "love" the toll lanes. What we DO NOT love is the outrageous cost for them, the fact that they really are a lane for the few that can shell out yet another $20/day to get "ahead" (many families do not have that option in an already tight budget).
Toll lanes are regressive, punishing those who can't afford them to sit in traffic, and who maybe needs them the most (longer commutes due to cost of housing, often driving older cars with higher cost for gas, etc).

RossB said...

I think a lot of people forget that the lanes are free for those on a bus, or a three person carpool. The buses are much faster, which has lead to more people riding them. If you got rid of the tolls and just make the lanes HOV 2, then it would be like I-5, and no faster than any other lane. Once you do that, people stop bothering with the bus which means that you add to the congestion. If you made the lanes HOV 3 (like 520) it would be great for the buses, but it wouldn't raise any money. The HOT lanes allow those that are in a hurry -- like someone who needs to pick up their kids from daycare -- to pay extra when they need to, while making the buses much faster. Overall, the busiest parts of the corridor are now transporting 20% more vehicles, or 30% more people, than before.

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