NEW HOPE, PA – Traffic volumes and revenue collections for the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission so far this year are on pace to exceed previous records, agency officials announced today.
During the first quarter of 2016, two-way traffic counts at the Commission’s 18 vehicular bridges were up by nearly 2.1 million vehicular crossings when compared to the same period in 2015.
Mirroring a trend in recent years, the strongest growth was seen at the bi-state agency’s seven toll bridges. Traffic in the agency’s toll-direction lanes during the first three months of 2016 rose 9.5 percent over the same period last year.
Traffic volumes at the Commission’s 13 non-toll crossings also climbed during first-quarter 2016, but at a less dramatic rate than at the toll bridges – only 2.9 percent higher.
“The previous record year for travel volumes at our bridges was 2015 when more than 141.7 million vehicles used our crossings linking Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” said Executive Director Joe Resta. “Barring any severe changes in motor fuel prices or the national economy, we are on a pace to set new traffic records this year.”
The positive trend is carrying over to the Commission’s revenue ledger, too. Toll collections for the agency were up by more than $2.1 million when comparing first-quarter 2016 to first-quarter 2015. Revenues from passenger vehicles are up 10.5 percent while revenues from commercial vehicles rose just shy of 7 percent. Of the increased revenues, $700,000 was generated by automobiles and $1.4 million came from trucks.
The traffic and toll-collection increases mirror a national trend of Americans taking to the roads in record numbers. Driving in the U.S. set a new record last year of 3.1 trillion miles driven, according to the federal Department of Transportation. The previous record was 3 trillion miles set in 2007. Improved employment conditions and lower fuel prices are considered the major contributing factors for increased motor vehicle travel. One additional travel trend being watched closely by the Commission concerns E-ZPass usage. Nearly 67.3 percent of paid transactions recorded at the Commission’s toll bridges during the first quarter of 2016 were by drivers using E-ZPass electronic toll tags. That’s slightly higher than was recorded during 2015, when nearly 65.9 percent of tolls were paid by E-ZPass. E-ZPass penetration rates at Commission toll bridges have been steadily rising for years. In 2010, less than 60 percent of toll transactions were by E-ZPass. On percentage, the most frequent E-ZPass users are commercial vehicle drivers. During first-quarter 2016, nearly 85.5 percent of truck tolls were paid through E-ZPass.