This is hogwash and lazy reporting. The number of toll transactions is NOT the same thing as the number of cars per day, nor is it the same as unique drivers per day. Just as a web site can boast thousands of hits per day, what advertisers really use to judge the site’s effectiveness is UNIQUE visitors per day. So this notion that somehow 7,000 transactions means 7,000 unique drivers is fallacious. A toll transaction is one time under a toll gantry. So on a 5-mile trip, one car can post 3-5 toll transactions (one every few miles or so). Then they post an equal number on their return trip, so one driver can post around 10 toll transactions per day for one round trip on just a 5-mile toll road.
Yet these business reporters seem to think they can talk-up the DFW toll roads as a success (as if they’re somehow well-liked) by printing whatever the private company says without one word of scrutiny. They should also compare how many drivers are using the toll lanes versus how many drivers are on the free lanes. That’ll give us a breakdown of what percentage of drivers on these multi-billion dollar tollways (built with tax money) are actually benefiting from the new capacity (for a hefty price tag). I’d also be instructive to know what the average cost per trip is during peak hours.
See how many drivers are paying tolls to drive on I-635, I-35E
By Nicholas Sakelaris
Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal
August 15, 2014
The managed toll lanes on the LBJ Express attract about 20,000 drivers per day on the two phases that are open, according to the contractor.
The first phase on Interstate 635 from Preston Road to Greenville Avenue records about 7,000 transactions per day. The TEXpress Lanes there opened in December and were the first managed toll lanes in North Texas.
Phase two on Interstate 35E just opened last month but is much more popular, with 13,000 vehicles a day paying the toll.
The final phase of the LBJ Express will open in late 2015 on Interstate 635 from the junction with I-35E east to Preston Road. This portion will take much longer to build because the lanes are in a trench below ground.
These managed toll lanes are becoming increasingly popular on North Texas highways as a way to fund improvements to existing roads. Drivers pay to avoid traffic jams, entering the managed toll lanes that come with a minimum 50 mph speed.
The other major project that has one right now is the North Tarrant Express from North Fort Worth to Euless.
The DFW Connector’s TEXpress Lanes on State Highway 114 in Grapevine have a much lower traffic count, about 150,000 transactions in the first month since tolling began July 7.
Tolls are a hot topic in transportation right now. See what Victor Vandergriff, Texas Transportation Commissioner, said about tolls when he visited Dallas Thursday.