WSDOT uses tolling as a means to help fund important transportation projects but also as a way to manage congestion.
Toll facilites map
Tolling can help manage congestion in several ways, for example:
- Dynamic tolling: High occupancy toll (HOT) or express toll lanes give drivers the option to use the lane for a more reliable trip and tolls adjust based on real-time traffic conditions.
- Variable tolling: Tolls on the SR 520 bridge are higher toll at peak periods and lower during off-peak times including midday, overnight and on weekends. Variable toll rates change based on a set schedule to pay for a new bridge and manage traffic.
Tolling and express toll lanes can help improve speeds for all lanes, including general purpose and the corridor is carrying more traffic more efficiently.
What are express toll lanes?
Express toll lanes give drivers the option to use high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes by paying a toll. Similar to the SR 167 HOT lanes, express toll lanes operate as an expressway within a highway while allowing toll-free trips for transit and vanpools.
How do express toll lanes work?
Express toll lanes give drivers the option to use the lanes for a more reliable trip and tolls are set based on demand and congestion. Dynamic tolling adjusts tolls based on real-time traffic demand and congestion. The result is improved speeds for all lanes, including general purpose lanes.
Why are we building express toll lanes?
Many of our existing HOV lanes, are already congested during peak-periods. The Federal Highway Administration performance goal for HOV lanes is to maintain speeds of 45 mph 90 percent of the time. Many of the HOV lanes on I-5 and I-405 are too congested and don’t meet this standard. Congestion means trips are unreliable for transit and carpools.
Express toll lanes are a way to operate our highways more efficiently and manage traffic demand with more commute choices. These strategies are part of the state’s Moving Washington strategy to keep people and goods moving through the next decade and beyond.
Benefits of express toll lanes
Express toll lanes can help ease congestion
- Operate efficiently: Express toll lanes move more people and offer a more reliable trip.
- Reduce traffic congestion: Improves mobility for all people in the corridor including transit, freight and drivers in the general purpose lanes.
- Manage demand to improve speed and reliability: Toll rates adjust based on real-time traffic conditions to maintain an average speed of at least 45 mph.
Fund future improvements through express toll lanes
- Provide for future improvements: Express toll lane systems can provide funding towards future improvements.
Where in Washington can I find express toll lanes?
SR 167 HOT lanes between Auburn and Renton
Success of SR 167 HOT lanes:
- Since the HOT lanes opened in 2008, peak-hour traffic speeds in SR 167’s general-purpose lanes increased by 20 percent to more than 50 mph on average.
- During weekday, peak-hour travel, HOT lane drivers saved about six minutes of travel time by paying an average toll of $1.75.
I-405 Express Toll Lanes from Bellevue to Lynnwood
WSDOT is currently building express toll lanes on I-405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood. The project builds a new lane adjacent to the general purpose lanes between NE 6th Street in Bellevue and SR 522 in Bothell. When complete, the new lane will be paired with the existing HOV lane to create express toll lanes. The HOV lane from SR 522 in Bothell to I-5 in Lynnwood would be converted into a HOT lane.
Future of express toll lanes
Long-range plans include connecting the SR 167 HOT lanes to I-405 Express Toll Lanes for a 40-mile express-trip.
Currently, WSDOT is studying the SR 167, SR 509 and I-5 Puget Sound Gateway Project which would build an express toll lane system on I-5 in phases. Phase 1 would convert the existing HOV lanes on I-5 to an express toll lane between SR 16 in Tacoma and I-90 in Seattle and additional phases would add a second express toll lane between SR 167 and SR 509.
How can I get more information?
WSDOT Toll Division