Toll System so Complicated, even WSDOT education video gets it wrong

(UPDATE: WSDOT removed the video with the error.  The video had been published June 9, 2016, well after the change in the tolls.  The video to explain the signs was discussed in the May 17 meeting with WSTC and also posted June 9. But the second, and more important point of this article is still very relevant.)

People are very confused by the Express Toll Lanes on I-405 as reported in a survey conducted by WSDOT.  WSDOT’s answer for the public education plan is… to produce yet another video to be posted on youtube.  Really?!

WSDOT has now published a channel of 7 videos on explaining the 405ETL including one on How to Read the Signs on I-405 Express Toll Lanes and the latest one just published, “Do I need a Flex Pass on the I-405 Express Toll Lanes?” that incorrectly states you need a pass on the weekends.

So complex, even WSDOT can’t get it right.  And they actually expect drivers to get it right??   But wait, there is more…
WSDOT also has this interactive map:
and this website with numerous lengthy webpages explaining how to use the toll lanes:

Seattle is a gateway city to the Pacific Rim. You might expect some local residents to put the effort into studying all these materials, but it really leaves the majority of people guessing.  It is absurd to expect the millions of drivers in the Puget Sound region to review all of this.  It is even worse to think infrequent visitors from around the state, from British Columbia, and from around the country to get familiar with how to drive here.  This may come as a shock to WSDOT, but not all people have handy access to the Internet, like low income and elderly people.  There it is again: yet another barrier to widen the social inequity of the Express Toll Lanes.  Consider that people from China don’t even have access to youtube.   Yet it is practically a requirement in order to begin to understand how to use the highway we all paid for with our taxes.

If it takes 7 videos (with errors), a set of webpages the length of a small book, an interactive map just to understand them and a mobile app for pricing that you may pay (or may not pay, as prices can change at any moment. DON’T USE A MOBILE APP WHILE DRIVING!), then the system is inherently too complicated.

Legislators and WSDOT, REALLY? What the hell are you thinking?!

Please sign the petition at
and then contact your legislators and tell them.  Remember they are supposed to be working FOR you.

Posted in Uncategorized
7 comments on “Toll System so Complicated, even WSDOT education video gets it wrong
  1. Derrick Tan says:

    this is has been fought in all ways but Inslee does not care


  2. Marsha says:

    We need to go back to HOV lanes. They work better, are far less confusing and do a much better job of getting people into car pools, thereby limiting the number of cars on our roadways. The more cars, the more pollution!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Murchuda says:

    Why I don’t drive into Seattle…Choose any reason.


  4. Thom says:

    This is a post I put on the WSDOT FB page: There is a direct relationship between how good a process/program is and how many documents, videos or PowerPoint pitches you have to create to explain it. Given the amount of “explanation/informational” documents you have had to do for this ETL program it’s clearly a failure. Many of us still feel that tolls are nothing but a money grab that targets those that least can afford it and grants privilege to those that can. Come election time we will remember who did this and vote them out of office.
    Like · Reply · 9 · June 9 at 4:52pm

    Here is there response: WSDOT Thanks for the feedback, Thom. These videos are simply informational tools for folks who need/want a refresher.


  5. Who need a refresher?really? That’s an outright lie. Go watch the presentation WSDOT gave to WSTC where Patty Rubstello explains the problem and what they planned to do about it.


  6. Thom, can you share a link to the post? I want to respond there.


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