The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) opened a new toll road recently. The highway has been in existence since 1982, but the toll gantries are new. Rush hour tolling, between 5:30 and 9:30 AM, is a test of how badly you want to reach The Swamp.
VDOT uses a system called ‘dynamic tolling’, which works out to ‘do you feel lucky’? Instead of a nice predictable toll that’s the same every morning, Swamp Pike tolls adjust according to how much traffic is on the road. The goal is to keep One Percenters and vehicular communes moving along at a nice, even 55 mph.
This is harder than it seems, since many DC–area motorists drive like the last transportation they operated was a burro. Our ‘diverse’ drivers have a tendency to pause and contemplate cars stopped on the shoulder, flashing blue lights and the odd grocery bag blowing across the