Testing of the I-495 Express Lanes’ tolling and traffic management technology began this week, and officials say it’s going off without a hitch so far.
"Everything has been going as expected," said Transurban-Fluor Marketing Director Pierce Coffee. "It's running really smoothly."
This week, Beltway commuters might have noticed cars traveling in the Express Lanes, which are expected to open in December 2012. Transurban and VDOT officials want everyday drivers to know that they shouldn’t follow these cars into the faster lanes — they're only making test-drives.
Coffee said these tests, which will have cars traveling at highway speeds from around the Gallows Road Interchange to Route 123 in Tysons Corner, will ensure that the lanes’ many technologies are working properly.
Test drives will determine the functionality of traffic sensors that help set toll prices, EZ Pass readers, electronic signage for advertising tolls, and cameras vital to toll enforcement and incident-response.
"The full functionality of the 495 Express Lanes' tolling and traffic management system is essential to the success of the 495 Express Lanes," said Tim Steinhilber, Transurban's Express Lanes general manager, in a press release. "This testing phase is critical to ensure that our systems are ready to deliver faster and more predictable travel to drivers."
Commuters who wish to take advantage of the lanes, including carpoolers, will need either an EZ Pass transponder, or an EZ Pass Flex tag, which switches between single-rider and HOV modes.
Testing will continue through the end of the month.