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Analyzing and Mitigating Impact of Tolls at MTT and DTT

Analyzing and Mitigating Impact of Tolls at MTT and DTT

On December 5, 2011 VDOT signed an agreement with Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC) for construction of an additional two-lane tube at the Midtown Tunnel, rehabilitation of the Downtown Tunnel, and extension of the Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Freeway to I-264, to be financed in part by tolling the Midtown Tunnel (MTT), Downtown Tunnel (DTT), and MLK Freeway extension.

In response to the planned project, HRTPO staff began a multi-year study in FY 2013 to assess the impact of tolling by comparing the “before” and “after” traffic conditions.

In FY 2013, HRTPO staff used  the regional transportation model and found that MTT/DTT tolling may:

  • Cause traffic volumes to decrease at the tolled tunnels and their approaches
  • Cause traffic volumes to increase at other crossings and their approaches (e.g. I-64 High-Rise Bridge and Military Highway including the Gilmerton Bridge)

In FY 2013 and FY 2014 HRTPO staff videotaped, photographed, and gathered travel time data to document “before” traffic conditions at the locations identified above, to be compared in FY 2015 to “after” (i.e. post-toll) conditions. 

Tolling began at the DTT and MTT on February 1, 2014. 

During this year (FY 2015), HRTPO  staff has been conducting the following work:

  1. Gathering photo, travel time, and  video documentation of “after” travel conditions along affected corridors.
  2. Gathering “before” and “after” INRIX travel time/speed data along affected corridors.
  3. Gathering data from pertinent continuous count stations—Midtown Tunnel, Downtown Tunnel, Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, Gilmerton Bridge, High Rise Bridge, Dominion Blvd. Bridge, Western Freeway, and Hampton Blvd—to compare “before” and “after” traffic volumes.
  4. Preparing a report documenting data and analysis.

HRTPO staff plans to present a draft report at the January 7, 2015  Transportation Technical Advisory Committee (TTAC) meeting.

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