GA/I-85XLs continue steady gains in traffic, revenue
By Peter Samuel
Data for May - the eighth month of operation - show continued progress for Georgia toll authority in attracting more toll payers to the inside Express Lanes on I-85 on the northeast side of the Atlanta area. Average weekday trips were 17,585, a 4.6% advance on the previous highest monthly number - in March. Average tolls paid at $1.14 were up on April but in line with earlier months.
The percentage of trip 'non-tolled' was 14%, the lowest yet. Non-tolled trips cover vehicles eligible for the free ride by having three or more occupants.
Use of the tolled lanes tends to grow through the week and is consistently highest on Thursdays and Fridays. Weekends it is much lower, not surprising given that this is a radial or commuter route oriented to the central business district. But there is still usage at the weekends - 4,000 to 7,000/day.
The number of toll tags - 6C sticker tags brandnamed Peach Pass - on issue continues to grow. By the end of May nearly 166,692 were in use vs 158,270 at the beginning of the month - a gain of 8,422 or 5.3%.
The GA/I-85 Express Lanes are single inside lanes each direction to the left of six free lanes and only accessible at discrete points via those free lanes. They were formed out of poorly performing HOV2 lanes but got terrible publicity during their first several days of operation. Dynamic pricing is used to manage traffic to reasonably free flow volumes and except for the first several days last fall has worked well.
data for May 2012: