Carpools way down on I-405 Express Toll Lanes

(Updated 5/30/2016 9:30 PM) ( sign the petition )
Here is the latest data taken by regarding HOV and SOV usage in the 405ETL (HOT lanes).  The following numbers were taken on Thursday, May 26 from 7:15 AM to 8:20AM. The overall percentage of Single Occupancy Vehicles (SOVs) for the hour was 75%.  Only 25% of the traffic in the ETL was HOVs/buses/motorcycles.

Traffic Count 20160526 graph

Vehicles in ETL at 195th St. 7:15 – 8:20AM May 26, 2016

Keep in mind that this compares to 100% carpools prior to the ETL.  The Passengers Per Vehicle (PPV) ratio when it was an HOV lane was about 2.2 PPV.  Now that it is a HOT lane, it operates at about 1.2 PPV.  Meanwhile, there has been NO INCREASE IN VOLUME.  (See slide 8 of their presentation). So they are actually moving fewer people than before.
(Note the drop in flow during a WSP stop at 7:18 AM on the inside shoulder as captured in the photo below.)


I-405 at 195th St NE; May 26, 2016, 7:20 AM

Carpool usage in the 405ETL is way below what they expected, even after giving away 10,000 FlexPasses*. Why are people at WSDOT the only ones surprised by this?  In the Everett Herald article “Fewer registered carpools in I-405 toll lanes than expected” it refers to WSDOT’s quarterly financial report to the WSTC where most people now using the #405ETL choose to pay the toll than try to get a 3 person carpool.  This is no surprise. I predicted  this and documented reasons why 3 person carpools fail . The 2 person carpools were forced out of the HOV lane and replaced with those SOVs who can – and will – pay.  I reported on the  Texas A&M University research that proved carpools would decline with HOT lanes.  Their research even included SR167.  WSDOT’s report then comes as no surprise: The number of SOVs per day on SR 167 have steadily risen by 300 trips per day every year and are now at 4,800 per day  What WSDOT omits from their report is the decline in carpools.

SR167carpool decline

Taken from WSDOT May 17, 2016 toll report to WSTC

Click here to watch the video of the full report presented by WSDOT to WSTC. Jump to timestamp 1:28:25 to see the financial report.  But you may want to watch the full report about the I-405 tolls which starts at stamp 35:25.  The full agenda and links to the slides being presented can be found here, agenda items 7 and 8.

Please sign the petition here and share it with everyone you can. Our goal is to reach 40,000 by August.

Up next: Is WSDOT misrepresenting the data?!

* – Taken from Slide 10 of the presentation

Posted in Uncategorized
6 comments on “Carpools way down on I-405 Express Toll Lanes
  1. Sharif R Hamid says:

    Keep up the good work!


  2. Janet Nelson says:

    thank you! So very interesting! I appreciate every bit of news on 405! Will send to My address book. Janet

    Sent from my iPad



  3. Marsha says:

    It’s all about how much money the state can make on this project. It is NOT about moving traffic. Traffic is much worse now. The thing we don’t hear is how much of that money the state gets from the tolls actually is kept by the state and how much the tolling company gets. I understand the state gets 25%, tolling company gets 75%.


  4. Actually we do hear. But what you hear won’t make you any happier. The quarterly financial statements can be found here:
    View the document link “3rd Quarter Fiscal Year 2016 (pdf 306 kb)”
    You will find that half of the money collected so far goes to operating the tolls. But they have not yet realized all of the costs. The next statement will reveal the full expenses. The breakdown is that they esitmate 54 cents of every toll collected goes to operations. That cost is fixed, but considering most of the tolls collected are $0.75, it isn’t a good deal.


  5. Jeff says:

    One thing I have noticed is that the VAST majority of cars that are , according to the indicator light placed above the plate reader structure, stating that they are 3 person carpools are NOT. They are just sliding their GTG pass over to car pool setting and running the risk.


  6. Absolutely. This is especially true during the winter when it is dark during commuting hours.


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