Transportation Leaders Report 50-90% Reduction in Traffic, Revenues Due to COVID-19
By Ink World staff | 05.22.20
Officials provide COVID-19 update on U.S. transportation systems.
The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve tolling, convened national, state and local transportation leaders from around the country for a briefing on “The State of U.S. Transportation During the COVID-19 Pandemic” in advance of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
During the briefing, national, state and regional transportation leaders discussed how COVID-19 social distancing and stay-at-home measures have led to the reduction in traffic and revenues of upwards of 90%, impacting the industry, the American driving public, our roads and bridges, and the future of transportation in the country.
“If this were any other year, we would be talking about Memorial Day traffic, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. Instead, we are talking about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our nation’s economy and our daily lives. Since the middle of March our members’ toll facilities have seen traffic and revenue declines of 50 to 90%,” said Patrick D. Jones, executive director and CEO of IBTTA.
Memorial Day, the official start of summer, is traditionally one of the busiest times for roadways and bridges, but due to the country’s unified response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many important and iconic American transportation systems have suffered steep traffic and revenue declines.
The transportation leaders, who are also members of IBTTA, on the briefing included:
Transportation Corridor Agencies, Orange County, California
“Even though we are already seeing recovery with traffic and revenue at 50 to 60% of the previous year, we need to be cautious. We hope the federal government can support the tolling industry, not as a means of rescuing agencies but as part of the economic boost that investments in transportation infrastructure provide,” said Samuel Johnson, interim CEO for Orange County, California’s Transportation Corridor Agencies.
Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority & Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority, Atlanta, GA
“While these are challenging times, the Authority remains focused on providing quality services to our Peach Pass and Xpress customers and all citizens and visitors to the State of Georgia. We are equally committed to helping to flatten the curve of this pandemic for the health, safety and well-being of every citizen and believe strongly that we will get through this together,” said Chris Tomlinson, executive director, Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority.
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Middletown, PA
“Over the last eight weeks, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, like other businesses and agencies, has experienced a significant financial impact triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. From a traffic standpoint, the Commission experienced a cumulative traffic decline of about 50% since the first week of March – or about 20 million fewer vehicles,” said Mark Compton, CEO, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
E-470 Public Highway Authority, Denver, Colorado
“Early May trends are showing some traffic increases with the easing of local shelter in place orders. To date, no cases have been reported by any E-470 employees or contractors. Our roadside assistance crews remain active in supporting motorists, with new ‘limited contact protocol’ put in place. We have also implemented ‘customer care’ plans to address toll-paying customer hardships and support customers in financial distress,” said Tim Stewart, IBTTA Past President, executive director, E-470 Public Highway Authority.
State of New Jersey Department of Transportation, Trenton, NJ
“Serving our commercial trucking community rose to an all-new level of importance. In addition to increasing permitted gross vehicle weight, NJTA was able to stock supplies of hand sanitizer for truckers at service plazas, and all roadways made certain that food, fuel and restrooms were always available,” said Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, commissioner of the State of New Jersey DOT.