Commute Options Could Increase HOT Lane Efficiency

April 30, 2013

The State Road and Toll Authority (SRTA) recently released usage data for their I-85 express lanes system, which utilizes a variable based toll to offer a consistent and reliable trip for motorists and transit patrons on the majority of I-85 in Gwinnett County. Tolls fluctuate throughout the day to ensure that traffic flows steadily throughout the facility, while patrons of transit and registered carpools/vanpools of 3 persons or more can use the system for free.

The chart below shows the average weekday assessed toll and the percentage of facility trips which were free (mostly carpool/vanpool/transit riders) since the I-85 express lanes project opened in October 2011.

SRTA toll

The data illustrates a pair of interesting trends:

  • After nearly a year and a half of operation, the average daily toll collected has increased nearly 28 percent, from $1.19 in October 2011 to the current rate of $1.52
  • During the same time period, the share of toll lane users who are not charged a toll (namely carpools of 3 or more and transit patrons) has steadily decreased from a high of 23% when the project began operation a present day low of  13 percent

These trends are important to keep an eye on since an increase in non-tolled trips helps to maximize the efficiency of the facility. A higher percentage of non-tolled trips could help increase the reliability of a facility with finite capacity and decrease costs for all toll paying I-85 commuters. Georgia Commute Options offers resources that make carpooling or transit on the I-85 corridor (or any corridor) easier than ever. GCO representatives can refer commuters interested in carpooling or vanpooling to over 50,000 other commuters who are interested in sharing their ride with others. Through the Guaranteed Ride Home program, carpool or vanpool users who have an emergency can take advantage of free, on-demand trips back to their home or car.

To learn more about these programs and more, visit the Georgia Commute Options website at

Addressing Pedestrian Safety, DeKalb to Demonstrate New HAWK Signals

April 17, 2013


DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis and the DeKalb Board of Commissioners are hosting a pair of interactive crosswalk safety demonstrations which will showcase newly installed High-intensity Activated crosswalk (HAWK) signals. HAWK signals can be activated by pedestrians to temporarily stop traffic on busy roadways, thereby increasing safety by providing a protected pedestrian crossing.The DeKalb County Public Works – Transportation, Planning & Engineering Division and the DeKalb County Police Department will share details about the state mandated rules requiring vehicles to stop at HAWK pedestrian signals. The public is invited to attend one of two HAWK demonstrations:

Wednesday, April 17th – 3PM (TODAY)

HAWK pedestrian signal at Candler Road and South DeKalb Mall
(2801 Candler Road, Decatur, GA 30034)

Wednesday, April 24th – 3:30PM

HAWK  signal at Buford Highway and Pinetree Plaza Shopping Center
(5200 Buford Highway, Doraville, GA 30340)

Public Meeting Scheduled for Proposed Town Center Bridge

April 12, 2013


The Skip Spann Connector (formerly known as the Busbee-Frey Connector) is a proposed project that would result in a new bridge over I-75 that connects Frey Road to Busbee Drive just north of Chastain Road near the Town Center activity center in Cobb County. The project scope includes a roundabout  at the intersection of the  proposed new roadway and Busbee Drive. The Cobb County Department of Transportation invites the public to attend an upcoming Public Information Open House (PIOH) meeting scheduled on Tuesday, April 16th from 5  to 7 PM at Kaiser Permanente TownPark, 750 TownPark Lane, Kennesaw. Staff will be on hand to answer questions, provide detailed project information and collect feedback from the public.

Open House Scheduled for Lifelong Mabelton Catalyst Project

April 3, 2013


The Cobb County Department of Transportation will hold an open house for the Walker Drive project tomorrow. The project will extend Walker Drive to Church Street and create a town square near the entrance to Mableton Elementary School. This proposed improvement is part of the Mableton Form Based Redevelopment District and the ARC sponsored Lifelong Mableton Initiative. This key project will reinforce the Mableton community’s long term goal of creating a highly accessible town square that accommodates all citizens  regardless of age.

The open house will be held tomorrow (April  4th, 2013) from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Mableton Elementary, 5220 Church St, Mableton, GA. The public is invited to attend anytime during these hours to review the proposed plans for this project. There will be no formal presentation. Visit the project website for more information on the project and the Mabelton community.

Helpful Twitter Feeds for the Atlanta Commuter

April 1, 2013


Apparently, reports of Twitter’s death were a bit premature. To the contrary, the simple microblogging site has proven quite resilient, partially due to its ease of use as a platform for distributing real-time data. Transportation officials in the Atlanta region have caught on, using Twitter as an means to quickly communicate traffic and system conditions to the traveling public. While it may lack the features of a purpose-built traffic app, a well written twitter feed can convey more information more quickly.

Here are six helpful twitter feeds for the harried Atlanta commuter:

Georgia Navigator (@NaviGAtor511) – This feed is of particular use for highway commuters, as it leverages GDOT’s network of cameras, loop detectors and HERO operator reports to offer real-time traffic updates in the Atlanta region.

State Road and Tollway Authority (@SRTA_PeachPass) – SRTA’s feed also offers highway traffic alerts as well as general news and commentary about transportation. Also check this website for real-time toll data on SRTA’s managed lane facility on I-85.

Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (@Xpressga) – This frequently updated feed offers updates and alerts related to the on-time performance of GRTA Xpress commuter bus routes.

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Service Updates (@MARTASERVICE) – MARTA notifies its customers of service conditions on their buses, rail lines, elevators and escalators on this feed.

Cobb Community Transit (@CobbTransit) – Provides transit customers with occasional service alerts on the CCT bus system in Cobb County.

Gwinnett County Transit (@gctransit) – Service alerts and operational updates for the Gwinnett County bus system are displayed in both English and Spanish on this helpful feed.