The Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) has issued a recent usage report for the Northwest Corridor (NWC) Express Lanes outlining its unprecedented success. Opened in September 2018, the express lanes extend along I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties and include 29.7 miles of tolled reversible express lanes. In just eight months of operation, more than 4.2 million trips have been registered posting travel speeds 30 percent faster than the general purpose lanes. As a result, the corridor’s rush hour has been reduced by more than one hour during both the morning and evening commutes, benefiting both Peach Pass motorists and drivers in the general purpose lanes.
The express lanes utilize a dynamic pricing system which increases the price during peak travel times and decreases the price during off-peak times in an effort to ensure reliable trip times. Users of the general purpose lanes adjacent to the express lanes have also benefitted. In April 2018 (before NWC opening), the average speed on I-75 northbound between I-285 and I-575 at rush hour’s peak was 20 mph. In April 2019 (after NWC opening) the average speed doubled to as much as 40 mph. Benefits of express lanes include more reliable trip times, more consistent travel speeds, and increased transit opportunities, all of which improve air quality. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, tailpipe exhaust is expected to be reduced by about 23.8 tons a year as 2.87 billion gallons of fuel are saved by reducing the waste of engines idling in traffic congestion.
“The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes has created compelling new commute options for motorists and transit users, who often described them as “life changing,” said GDOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry, P.E. “The project has also improved the quality of life for thousands who regularly travel the corridor, giving them time back in their day.”
The Georgia Express Lanes network will provide more reliable trip times throughout the Atlanta region for those traveling to and from work, sporting events, concerts and home. Georgia DOT is planning four more express lanes projects as part of the Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP), an $11 billion investment in statewide transportation infrastructure. Once completed, the growing metro Atlanta region will see a more connected transportation network benefiting both motorists and transit riders.
“The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes have brought significant congestion relief in our area and have shortened the commute times dramatically,” said Vice Chairman Connie Engel, Cumberland Community Improvement District in a recent testimonial video regarding the express lanes. “We think the addition of other express lanes that are under consideration in the Atlanta area is going to do wonders for the working people who are coming in and out all the time. We are eager to see the improvements these lanes will bring to our area.”
Further information on the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes is available on the Georgia DOT website at http://www.dot.ga.gov/DS/GEL/NWC and the Georgia Express Lanes network athttp://www.dot.ga.gov/DS/GEL. To access visuals of the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes and to hear other testimonials from members of the community like Connie Engel, use the following link to download media assets for use: http://bit.ly/2Hu2na0.