2015 was a record-breaking year for toll road, bridge and tunnel usage according to an analysis report from the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), published earlier this month. The National Toll Facilities Usage Analysis, found that drivers’ use of toll roads increased by seven per cent between 2014 and 2015, a record-breaking rate of growth that puts tolling usage on pace to double in less than 10 years.
Earl J “Buddy” Croft III, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) and President of IBTTA commented: “From the research, it’s clear that not only are more people traveling on our roads and bridges, but that toll road use has increased significantly. Clearly, drivers recognise the benefits of toll roads — the ease of use provided by electronic payment methods, the trip time-saving benefits and the improved safety that a well maintained toll facility provides.”
The Analysis was compiled by collecting data from 31 toll-operated facilities across the country in February 2016. That information shows that drivers on the 31 toll facilities surveyed took 5bn trips with toll transactions in 2015 – an increase of 328 million or seven per cent from 2014 to 2015.
All but one of the 31 toll facilities in the survey reported an increase in traffic volume. About two-thirds (23 of 31) of the toll authorities said they had record-breaking years in 2015 – recording the largest traffic volume in their history.
Approximately one-third (10 of 31) of the facilities in the national survey reported double-digit percentage increases. Those with the largest increases include:
- Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority, FL: 25%
- North Carolina Department of Transportation: 25%
- Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Austin: 23.4%
- Georgia’s State Road and Tollway Authority: 19.6%
- Washington State Department of Transportation: 16%
- I-15 Express Lanes, San Diego: 15%
- 495 Express Lanes, Northern VA: 15%
- Northwest Parkway, Broomfield, CO: 13%
- E-470 Public Highway Authority, Aurora, CO: 12.4%
- Central Florida Expressway Authority: 10%
“One of the more interesting findings is that while the Northeast U.S. has the longest history with toll roads, 10 toll authorities in the South and West showed the largest increase in trips and transactions,” said Patrick D. Jones, Executive Director and CEO of IBTTA.
The findings parallel recent US Department of Transportation data (February 22, 2016) that showed Americans drove 3.1 trillion miles last year, making 2015 the most heavily travelled year in US history. In 2014, Americans drove 3 trillion miles. This represents a 3.3% increase in traffic from 2014 to 2015.
“Despite often hearing and reading that people are driving less, the latest traffic volume numbers from the USDOT provide us with a reality check,” said Croft. “It’s clear that both traffic and travel are up.”