I-405 toll lanes 'have made traffic worse' for many drivers, finds new report by traffic data company

KIRKLAND, Washington – Drivers on I-405 have complained for months that new toll lanes are making traffic worse.

Now Kirkland based traffic data company INRIX says it’s data confirms those complaints.

“The data confirms that despite increasing capacity by 25 percent, the HOT lanes have made traffic worse for drivers in the general purpose lanes and only benefit drivers who use the HOT lanes,” reads an email from the company. “This is in line with what locals and commuters have been experiencing and expressing since the lanes opened last September.”


WSDOT has previously said the toll lanes were working as intended.

In October, WSDOT officials released data they said showed the toll lanes were providing a more reliable trip for commuters.

WSDOT said on average, commute times had dropped for express toll lane users by 15 minutes in the mornings and evenings.

"Express toll lanes are doing what they were intended to do," said Craig Stone, assistant transportation secretary of the toll division at the time. "They have immediately brought back reliability to transit, to van pools and carpools."

Since that time frustration from drivers has continued to grow.

Lawmakers have explored options including ending tolls on nights and weekends as well as ending them through that particular section of 405 all together.

Last week the Washington State Senate voted 25-21 not to confirm WSDOT secretary Lynn Peterson. The vote effectively fired Peterson after three years on the job.

"This is a time of crisis for our transportation system and Secretary Peterson has shown she does not have the capability to manage it,” said Sen. Michael Baumgartner.

Critics have laid the blame for frustrated 405 drivers at Peterson’s feet.

"This has been an expensive multi-million dollar experiment for tax payers with the goal of easing traffic congestion on one of the busiest freeways in the state," said INRIX in issuing its report.