Many More People Commuting Along I-395/Route 1 Corridor Inside The Beltway Are Using HOV And Transit Than Driving Alone



6:15 A.M. – 9:15 AM PEAK PERIOD



Contact:  Kala Quintana

703/ 524-3322 ext. 104


Arlington, VA – Most area commuters and transportation planners have long thought that the best way to travel the I-395/Route 1 corridor inside Virginia’s portion of the Beltway was to use transit and High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV).  A new study confirms that two-thirds of commuters are taking advantage of the extensive transit and HOV opportunities in this corridor.

This is the second in a series of corridor surveys that the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) requested to measure the usage of various commuting modes. The first study, released last year at this time, addressed transit, HOV and Single Occupant Vehicles (SOV) shares in the I-66 corridor at a Glebe Road screenline. This second study measures traffic inside the Beltway on I-395/Route 1, also at a Glebe Road screenline (see Figure 1).

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) provided the funding, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) performed the study.   NVTC provided the transit data for the corridor. Data were collected over several days in September, 2006. 

The  study of the I-395/Route 1 corridor inside the Beltway showed that on an average work day during the peak commuter period of 6:15 am to 9:15 am approximately 94,300 people traveled inbound in this corridor on roads and transit routes, measured at Glebe Road. 

During this time period:

  •          People traveling in shared use modes (transit or HOV 2+) accounted for about 65 percent (roughly 61,000 people) of the total inbound travel;
  •          Thirty-four percent of commuters rode transit (roughly 32,000 people);
  •          Thirty-one percent used HOV 2+ (roughly 29,000 people); and
  •          Thirty-five percent (roughly 33,000 people) drove alone.   


During the peak hour (7:30 – 8:30 am) almost 40% of total peak period travel occurs.  In that hour transit’s share increased to 36% with HOV 2+ at 30% and SOV at 34%.

Transit options in this corridor include Metrorail’s Yellow and Blue Line, the Virginia Railway Express, and commuter and local buses (PRTC OmniRide and MetroDirect, Alexandria DASH, Fairfax Connector, and WMATA’s Metrobus).  During the morning peak period, Metrorail carried 57%, or 18,100, of the total transit trips in this corridor.  VRE carried 12%, or 3,900 of the transit trips and the commuter and local buses carried the remaining 31% or 10,000 people.

The HOV 2+ trips across the screenline are comprised of 25% HOV-2 and 75% HOV 3+.  Over 90% of the HOV 3’s are on the Shirley Highway HOV lanes.

Including bus passengers, the HOV lanes on I-395 inside the Beltway carry an average of 5,100 persons per lane per hour compared to only 1,500 on the I-395 general purpose lanes during the restricted period (6:30 am – 9:00 am).  Thus, the HOV lanes carry 3.5 times as many people per lane.  Transit shares were also noteworthy on roads in the corridor other than I-395, including US Route 1 (12%) and Columbia Pike (29%).

“Clearly, Northern Virginians are making the right move to transit and ride sharing.  The fact that two-thirds of all commuters in this corridor are using these facilities and services is proof that smart investments in our transportation infrastructure pay off,” said NVTC Chairman David Snyder. “Our hope is that this series of studies will help guide future transit investments and encourage the necessary funding for the balanced transportation system that Virginians deserve,” said Snyder.   

The findings for I-395/Route 1 are remarkably similar to those for I-66 in last year’s study. For I-66 inside the Beltway at Glebe Road, transit carried 37% of peak period commuters and HOV carried 26% for a combined total of almost two-thirds.

Data collection for NVTC’s third corridor study is set for this fall, also in the I-95/I-395 corridor, but at a screenline outside the Beltway. The commission and its partners anticipate the findings will help inform the region’s governments as they evaluate the proposed HOT lane project in that corridor.

For more information contact the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission by going to For a copy of the complete study go to:

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