After Illinois toll hike: traffic barely down, revenue up 44%

The Illinois Tollway released some new figures of what happened to traffic and revenue after the January 1, 2012 toll hike:

Many drivers vowed to stop using the tollway and avoid paying an extra 35 or 45 cents for each I-PASS transaction — and double the tolls for cash-payers.

Through June, the number of passenger vehicle transactions on the tollway system fell 2.6 percent compared with the same period in 2011, tollway finance chief Michael Colsch said…

Based on estimates from the tollway’s traffic consultant, officials originally forecast a 5.9 percent decline in transactions because of the toll hike.

Toll revenue also is running higher than estimates, increasing about 44 percent through June, compared with a projected 41 percent for 2012, Colsch said.

Even though a number of people seemed really upset over this toll hike, this is what I suspected would happen: the tollways are convenient and paying a little more would not deter many drivers. There are few alternatives that are as fast and I also suspect using the IPass to pay the tolls removes some of the price shock (similar to how consumers will spend more by credit card than by using cash). Indeed, it would be interesting to know what the tolls would have to rise to before driving patterns would change dramatically. Additionally, there have been conversations in recent years about congestion pricing express lanes and I wonder if this small drop in traffic is a sign that these would be worth pursuing.

Of course, one could ask whether the Tollway is raising enough money to fund their stated goals and if the money will be used wisely…

One thought on “After Illinois toll hike: traffic barely down, revenue up 44%

  1. Pingback: New public relations campaign to convince Chicago area residents that congestion pricing is the way to go | Legally Sociable

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