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Author Topic: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)  (Read 54470 times)

cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #225 on: October 24, 2019, 07:26:19 PM »

1. Convert to cashless two-way tolling (when this project is complete, MDTA can look at a return to one-way toll collection).

2. Charge higher tolls during hours when congestion is especially severe.  Not to minimize traffic, not to maximize revenue, but to maximize vehicular throughput.
I fail to see how this would fix anything. It's the only crossing. If they raise the tolls or go to two-way, it's strictly to maximize revenue. It's not going to "maximize vehicular throughput".

Managing traffic with variable-rate tolling is proven to work in a variety of highway corridors, including the MDTA's own MD-200 (InterCounty Connector) and the Transurban HOV/toll lanes in Northern Virginia.  Unless there is a crash or other incident, these run free-flow even morning and afternoon peak commute periods.   MDTA knows what the capacity of the crossing is in terms of vehicles per lane per hour (it's somewhat less than a freeway lane, which is generally between 2,000 and 2,200).  The tolls should be set to encourage the number of vehicles that can cross in an hour without a breakdown in flow.

Long before any of the roads above were envisioned, the late Professor (of economics) William S. Vickrey of Columbia University was advocating  for tolling of this kind, as discussed here and I quote in part:

Quote
Vickrey’s solution—higher tolls at peak times—would have obviated the need for many new highway-widening projects because many drivers, faced with tolls that reflected the true cost of such projects, would instead use carpools or buses. Those left would enjoy relatively uncongested roads but would pay for them. Vickrey even suggested a futuristic technology that has become standard: “equipping all cars with an electronic identifier.” As early as 1948, Vickrey suggested pricing solutions for hotels and airlines that look a lot like the “yield management” that modern airlines practice.

This and other work was to lead to Vickrey being awarded The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1996.  Annoyingly, Vickrey died a few days after learning that he had been awarded a Nobel, so he did not get to travel to Stockholm to receive his prize.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 07:29:15 PM by cpzilliacus »
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hbelkins

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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #226 on: October 24, 2019, 07:28:43 PM »

1. Convert to cashless two-way tolling (when this project is complete, MDTA can look at a return to one-way toll collection).

2. Charge higher tolls during hours when congestion is especially severe.  Not to minimize traffic, not to maximize revenue, but to maximize vehicular throughput.
I fail to see how this would fix anything. It's the only crossing. If they raise the tolls or go to two-way, it's strictly to maximize revenue. It's not going to "maximize vehicular throughput".

How many vehicles are using E-ZPass vs. how many are paying cash? IIRC, it's not a high-speed option for the toll booths going east. You still have to slow down pretty significantly to go through the barrier. I'd be more in favor of eliminating the tolls entirely during the work duration. You'd still have to slow down to get through the toll booths, but maybe not as slow.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #227 on: October 24, 2019, 07:29:35 PM »

Managing traffic with variable-rate tolling is proven to work in a variety of highway corridors, including the MDTA's own MD-200 (InterCounty Connector) and the Transurban HOV/toll lanes in Northern Virginia.  Unless there is a crash or other incident, these run free-flow even morning and afternoon peak commute periods.
One major difference - those corridors have free alternatives - I-95 GP lanes in the case of Transurban's privatized profit-generating lanes, and I-270, I-495, and I-95 in the case of MD-200. Spiking the tolls up to "manage flow" in reality just kicks more vehicles off the toll lanes and dumps them into the free lanes increasing congestion and choking the GP lanes further and giving the high-toll payers the easy seamless drive.

With the bridge, it's the -only- crossing. Do you suggest spiking the tolls will incentivise drivers to take I-95 to DE-1 to US-301 South instead? You'd have to make that toll pretty damn high to clear congestion and deter that traffic load to the point it's free-flowing. But of course, even if that was reality, it would only choke the free alternative, I-95, DE-1, and US-301 further. That's the issue with the whole variable pricing concept with no cap. It gives priority and beneficial flow to high-toll payers and seems good in theory, but really it chokes the people who refuse to pay an absurdly high rate. And if you're solely focused on getting that variable-priced lane moving free-flow, it only works as I said above on corridors that have an ideal free alternative - US-301 / US-50 does not.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 07:33:56 PM by sprjus4 »
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #228 on: October 24, 2019, 07:32:52 PM »

1. Convert to cashless two-way tolling (when this project is complete, MDTA can look at a return to one-way toll collection).
2. Charge higher tolls during hours when congestion is especially severe.  Not to minimize traffic, not to maximize revenue, but to maximize vehicular throughput.
I fail to see how this would fix anything. It's the only crossing. If they raise the tolls or go to two-way, it's strictly to maximize revenue. It's not going to "maximize vehicular throughput".
Depending on how high, it could spread the traffic out over more timespan, pricing some of the vehicles out of the highest volume hours.

MSHA has been advocating the spreading out the US-50 peak travel since the mid 1990s, by announcing that after the preceding major upgrades (I-595, US-50 freeway upgrades, removal of 2-lane bottlenecks at Cambridge and Vienna), there would be very few if any major upgrades in the future, due to financial limitations.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #229 on: October 24, 2019, 07:59:31 PM »

How many vehicles are using E-ZPass vs. how many are paying cash? IIRC, it's not a high-speed option for the toll booths going east. You still have to slow down pretty significantly to go through the barrier. I'd be more in favor of eliminating the tolls entirely during the work duration. You'd still have to slow down to get through the toll booths, but maybe not as slow.

From MDTA's annual report ending June 2018, about 34% of toll revenue collected at the Chesapeake Bay (WPL) Bridge comes from old-fashioned cash toll collection.
E-ZPass accounts for better than 65% of toll revenue.
Video tolling is about 2.5% of collected toll revenue.

Note that this is toll revenue, not toll transactions.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 08:09:00 PM by cpzilliacus »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #230 on: October 24, 2019, 08:04:36 PM »

Managing traffic with variable-rate tolling is proven to work in a variety of highway corridors, including the MDTA's own MD-200 (InterCounty Connector) and the Transurban HOV/toll lanes in Northern Virginia.  Unless there is a crash or other incident, these run free-flow even morning and afternoon peak commute periods.
One major difference - those corridors have free alternatives - I-95 GP lanes in the case of Transurban's privatized profit-generating lanes, and I-270, I-495, and I-95 in the case of MD-200. Spiking the tolls up to "manage flow" in reality just kicks more vehicles off the toll lanes and dumps them into the free lanes increasing congestion and choking the GP lanes further and giving the high-toll payers the easy seamless drive.

With the bridge, it's the -only- crossing. Do you suggest spiking the tolls will incentivise drivers to take I-95 to DE-1 to US-301 South instead? You'd have to make that toll pretty damn high to clear congestion and deter that traffic load to the point it's free-flowing. But of course, even if that was reality, it would only choke the free alternative, I-95, DE-1, and US-301 further. That's the issue with the whole variable pricing concept with no cap. It gives priority and beneficial flow to high-toll payers and seems good in theory, but really it chokes the people who refuse to pay an absurdly high rate. And if you're solely focused on getting that variable-priced lane moving free-flow, it only works as I said above on corridors that have an ideal free alternative - US-301 / US-50 does not.

Higher tolls in peak demand times will cause some people to shift travel to a time when demand is lower, as Beltway points out.  Does not matter if there are alternative routes available or not.

Some people may telecommute instead, effectively removing the trip from the bridge.

And if there is a transit alternative, and especially if that alternative is free, some people will take the express bus.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 08:07:50 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #231 on: October 24, 2019, 08:58:11 PM »

Not to mention that it might encourage traffic bypassing I-95 via US 301 to stay on I-95.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #232 on: October 24, 2019, 09:10:28 PM »

Higher tolls in peak demand times will cause some people to shift travel to a time when demand is lower, as Beltway points out.  Does not matter if there are alternative routes available or not.

It would be helpful if regional VMS signs would broadcast a message warning of high peak congestion and how to avoid it.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #233 on: October 24, 2019, 09:18:46 PM »

Not to mention that it might encourage traffic bypassing I-95 via US 301 to stay on I-95.

Or they could continue up I-97 to Baltimore (whether via US-50 to I-97 or via MD-3 to I-97, doesn't much matter) and rejoin I-95 there while still avoiding the DC area.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #234 on: October 24, 2019, 10:53:27 PM »

Higher tolls in peak demand times will cause some people to shift travel to a time when demand is lower, as Beltway points out.  Does not matter if there are alternative routes available or not.

It would be helpful if regional VMS signs would broadcast a message warning of high peak congestion and how to avoid it.

Since the signs can only display 2 messages of 3 lines each, it's nearly impossible to provide any good detail, especially as there's no one common destination travelers are headed towards
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #235 on: October 24, 2019, 11:01:47 PM »

Not to mention that it might encourage traffic bypassing I-95 via US 301 to stay on I-95.

Or they could continue up I-97 to Baltimore (whether via US-50 to I-97 or via MD-3 to I-97, doesn't much matter) and rejoin I-95 there while still avoiding the DC area.

The north terminus of I-97 is not the greatest place to be right now, with the I-895 Baltimore Harbor Tunnel restricted to one lane each way until the Canton Viaduct replacement project is completed.  If a driver knows the area, they can use the Outer Loop I-695 to cross the F.S. Key Bridge (seldom congested, though cash toll collection there is ending, which might deter some drivers without an E-ZPass).
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #236 on: October 25, 2019, 08:39:13 PM »

Plus if someone's using the Bay Bridge to avoid I-95, paying less in tolls might be a reason why.  Bay Bridge + US 301 + DE 1 is still less than Harbor Tunnel + Tidings Bridge + Delaware Turnpike, and is now all high-speed divided highway and freeway.  Plus I-97 doesn't result in enough of a bypass to really be worth it, especially since you're going the long way around, rather than an alternate way of comparable mileage.  Plus the times I've driven in the DC/MD/DE corridor, the worst delays on I-95 were actually north of Baltimore.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #237 on: October 26, 2019, 01:08:54 AM »

I have been using DE-1/US-301/US-50 to/from the Capital Beltway on my last few NC trips. Besides the lower tolls, its simply a more relaxed ride that doesn't add any additional time to the trip. What Delaware giveth with the new US-301 Bypass, Maryland promptly took away with the Bay Bridge construction it seems.

Were backups this bad during the last re-decking project back in 2002-03? Looking at my photos, they had the left lane closed back then.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #238 on: October 26, 2019, 07:33:34 AM »

I have been using DE-1/US-301/US-50 to/from the Capital Beltway on my last few NC trips. Besides the lower tolls, its simply a more relaxed ride that doesn't add any additional time to the trip. What Delaware giveth with the new US-301 Bypass, Maryland promptly took away with the Bay Bridge construction it seems.
In two years it will be done.

Were backups this bad during the last re-decking project back in 2002-03? Looking at my photos, they had the left lane closed back then.
The lane closed will vary as they redeck the other lanes.

Not sure about the congestion, but obviously the volumes would have been considerably lower 17 years ago.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #239 on: October 26, 2019, 05:24:30 PM »

Plus the times I've driven in the DC/MD/DE corridor, the worst delays on I-95 were actually north of Baltimore.

Same here. Which is why I opted to stay in Annapolis and use US 301 to attend the Delaware meet a couple of years ago. Of course, I was already out at Reedville at the end of US 360 anyway, so it just made sense to use the Nice Bridge to cross the Potomac. But I opted not to use I-95 precisely because of prior bad experiences.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #240 on: October 28, 2019, 07:24:37 AM »

Not sure about the congestion, but obviously the volumes would have been considerably lower 17 years ago.

May be moreseo a case where daily and seasonal variability has changed rather than overall volumes.  The Automated Traffic Recorder at the toll booth shows an average of about 68.4K in 2002, and about 73.5K in 2018.  That's not a significant overall increase.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #241 on: October 28, 2019, 07:56:19 AM »

Not sure about the congestion, but obviously the volumes would have been considerably lower 17 years ago.
May be moreseo a case where daily and seasonal variability has changed rather than overall volumes.  The Automated Traffic Recorder at the toll booth shows an average of about 68.4K in 2002, and about 73.5K in 2018.  That's not a significant overall increase.

I wasn't necessarily referring to overall volumes.  The Bay Bridge peaks always have been highly seasonal and weekend oriented.  That 8% growth in AADT could be undergirded by double that on weekends, and that would be quite significant on a facility that is already near capacity at those times.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #242 on: October 28, 2019, 08:36:16 AM »

Not sure about the congestion, but obviously the volumes would have been considerably lower 17 years ago.
May be moreseo a case where daily and seasonal variability has changed rather than overall volumes.  The Automated Traffic Recorder at the toll booth shows an average of about 68.4K in 2002, and about 73.5K in 2018.  That's not a significant overall increase.

I wasn't necessarily referring to overall volumes.  The Bay Bridge peaks always have been highly seasonal and weekend oriented.  That 8% growth in AADT could be undergirded by double that on weekends, and that would be quite significant on a facility that is already near capacity at those times.

And certainly, viewing just the AADT without any underlying detail can miss a lot of important data.

Let's say in 2002 the bridge was already at capacity from 5 - 6pm.  In 2018, chances are, there would've been no increase whatsoever during that time, because you can't sqeeze additional traffic onto something that is already jammed and at capacity.  But from 2-3pm, 3-4pm, 4-5pm, 6-7pm, 7-8pm, etc. there may have been an increase up to capacity.  Depending on previous traffic levels, the 4-5pm and 6-7pm levels may have already been heavy, so those increases may have been relatively minor, just up to whatever capacity is.  The further you go out - 3-4pm and 7-8pm, those levels may have increased more substantially because there was more capacity to work with.

Traffic on Saturday and Sunday would've seen similar numbers.

However, Monday - Thursday growth may have been lower overall if people decided they didn't want to make the Bay Bridge a commuting bridge. 

Thus, the overall increase may be substantially related to a very short period of time during the overall week; something that may not necessarily be picked up using a broad AADT report.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #243 on: October 28, 2019, 10:02:59 AM »

In the four Maryland Eastern Shore counties (Queen Anne's, Kent, Caroline and Talbot) that are closest to the bridge landing, there has been an increase of over 11,000 in estimated population between 2011 and 2018.   Not all have gained population (Kent and Talbot have declined to some extent), but in aggregate the population is growing.

Not all of that population is licensed to drive, nor does all of it commute across the Bay, but some of it does.  And even small increase in traffic (and especially recurring commuter travel) can have a big impact on traffic congestion.

In Kent County, Delaware and Sussex County, Delaware, the combined population grew by over 42,000.  Based on the number of Delaware tags I have seen on U.S. 50 between Washington, D.C. and Anne Arundel County, Maryland during peak commute times, some of those people are commuting to and from employment in the D.C. area. 
« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 10:06:13 AM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #244 on: October 28, 2019, 11:44:52 AM »

In the four Maryland Eastern Shore counties (Queen Anne's, Kent, Caroline and Talbot) that are closest to the bridge landing, there has been an increase of over 11,000 in estimated population between 2011 and 2018.   Not all have gained population (Kent and Talbot have declined to some extent), but in aggregate the population is growing.
Not all of that population is licensed to drive, nor does all of it commute across the Bay, but some of it does.  And even small increase in traffic (and especially recurring commuter travel) can have a big impact on traffic congestion.
The MD-404 widening projects were completed in July 2018, so now the highway is 4-lanes divided between US-50 at Wye Mills and MD-16 east of Denton.

This is another factor in increased weekend travel to the beaches, granted that it is only partway to the Delaware beaches, granted that the increases would be fairly small, but yet another factor in adding traffic at times when the Bay Bridge is already near capacity.

Probably increases in weekday commuters from Denton and east of Denton to the Western Shore, as well.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #245 on: October 28, 2019, 05:07:44 PM »

In Kent County, Delaware and Sussex County, Delaware, the combined population grew by over 42,000.  Based on the number of Delaware tags I have seen on U.S. 50 between Washington, D.C. and Anne Arundel County, Maryland during peak commute times, some of those people are commuting to and from employment in the D.C. area.

Per Google Maps...

Middletown-Warwick Rd. (the former US 301) and Main St. in Middletown: 85.5 miles

DE 8 and DE 15 in Dover to New Carrollton Metro: 81.9 miles

DE 14 and US 113 in Milford to New Carrollton Metro: 84.6 miles

The Circle in Georgetown to New Carrollton Metro: 94.7 miles

ixnay
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #246 on: October 28, 2019, 08:56:05 PM »

One my coworkers in downtown Richmond commuted from Hampton for over 20 years, that is 76 miles, and as the driver of a van pool it took about 1:30 each way for him.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #247 on: October 28, 2019, 11:31:25 PM »

In Kent County, Delaware and Sussex County, Delaware, the combined population grew by over 42,000.  Based on the number of Delaware tags I have seen on U.S. 50 between Washington, D.C. and Anne Arundel County, Maryland during peak commute times, some of those people are commuting to and from employment in the D.C. area.

Per Google Maps...

Middletown-Warwick Rd. (the former US 301) and Main St. in Middletown: 85.5 miles

DE 8 and DE 15 in Dover to New Carrollton Metro: 81.9 miles

DE 14 and US 113 in Milford to New Carrollton Metro: 84.6 miles

The Circle in Georgetown to New Carrollton Metro: 94.7 miles

ixnay
I'm sure a few people do it for the DE tax benefits, just like PA commuters to NYC.

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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #248 on: October 29, 2019, 06:10:27 AM »

One my coworkers in downtown Richmond commuted from Hampton for over 20 years, that is 76 miles, and as the driver of a van pool it took about 1:30 each way for him.
For Hampton Roads, there’s a decent amount of people who commute the 60 mile drive between Elizabeth City and Norfolk daily (about 14,000 AADT on US-17 which slowly rises each year), mostly for the lower costs of living in N.C. This number will only keep growing as Elizabeth City expands.
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Re: US 50/301(Chesapeake Bay Bridge)
« Reply #249 on: October 29, 2019, 07:05:25 AM »

For Hampton Roads, there’s a decent amount of people who commute the 60 mile drive between Elizabeth City and Norfolk daily (about 14,000 AADT on US-17 which slowly rises each year), mostly for the lower costs of living in N.C. This number will only keep growing as Elizabeth City expands.
N.C. commuters come from a variety of places, from an arc from south of Franklin all the way to the coast, many of them living closer to the border than Elizabeth City.  Crossing the border at US-258, US-13, VA-32, VA-168, as well, and some secondary roads.

The ship yards have always drawn long-distance commuters as there are a number of specialized trades that provide high-paying wages.
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Baloney is a reserved word on the Internet
    (Robert Coté, 2002)

 


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