INRIX, the company that delivers a congestion management app, is also a very sophisticated analytical firm that has conducted studies on congestion-related issues worldwide. A recent report on the cost of driving, based on their capture of data and analysis of parking, maintenance and other related costs (lost time, carbon emissions, etc.) is a staggering eye-opener that should give everyone pause to examine the potential benefits that car sharing may really afford each individual. We might want to think long and hard about car ownership after looking at these results. The INRIX analysis is summarized below.
INRIX announced the findings of the first ever Cost of Driving study that calculated vehicle ownership costs in 30 major cities in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. The study found that the indirect, hidden costs of driving, such as sitting in traffic and searching for parking, carry a significant economic burden for drivers in the U.S. – to the tune of $3,037 per driver in 2017.
The average U.S. driver faced a total driving cost of $10,288 in 2017, made up of direct (maintenance, fuel, insurance, and parking and toll fees) and indirect/hidden costs (wasted time and carbon emissions, parking fines and overpayments). Interestingly, traffic and parking-related costs made up nearly half (45 percent) of the total cost of ownership in the U.S.
“The true cost of driving was staggering but what was truly surprising was the size and breakdown of the hidden costs. Parking, for example, made up a third of the total cost of vehicle ownership,” explains Dr. Graham Cookson, Chief Economist, INRIX. “On average, drivers spent more than $3,000 a year on all parking-related costs.”
INRIX Cost of Driving Index U.S. City Results
On the local level, New York City was the most expensive city for drivers out of the 30 cities studied. In 2017, the total cost of driving in NYC was nearly two times the national average at $18,926 per driver, mostly due to the cost of parking. New Yorkers parked more often (10 times/week), paid more frequently (60 percent) and paid the most (average off-street rate of $28 for two hours). At $10,203 per driver, Detroit had the lowest total cost of car ownership mostly due to cheaper on-street and off-street parking rates. (SEE FIGURE 1.)
INRIX Cost of Driving Index Country Results
The average U.S. driver faced a total driving cost of $10,288 in 2017, which was 55 percent more than the average U.K. driver and 14 percent more than the average German driver. However, U.S. drivers use their cars more than their German counterparts (13,467 miles driven annually in the U.S. and 8,709 miles driven annually in Germany), but the congestion impact is smaller. (SEE FIGURE 2.)
Virginia and Transurban Sign Agreements to Invest More Than $1 Billion in Northern Virginia Transportation
Governor Ralph Northam announced on January 29th that the Commonwealth of Virginia has signed agreements with private partner Transurban to deliver critical transportation solutions along Interstate 495 and Interstate 95. Months of close
collaboration and negotiation between the Commonwealth and Transurban have resulted in a deal for four transportation infrastructure projects that will create significant value for citizens and businesses throughout Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg.
“My administration is committed to creating opportunity for Virginia families and businesses in every corner of the Commonwealth, and that requires having a safe, reliable transportation network,” said Governor Northam. “I am pleased to announce these four projects that will bring significant improvements to I-495 and I-95, easing congestion, enhancing safety, and driving economic growth.”
The projects are:
A 2.5-mile extension of the 495 Express Lanes north to the American Legion Bridge to reduce congestion. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Transurban have signed a Project Development Agreement for the Capital Beltway Express Lanes Northern Extension (Project NEXT), which includes direct connections with the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Dulles Toll Road. Four general purpose (GP) lanes and two new Express Lanes will run in each direction of the Capital Beltway starting from the current terminus near the Dulles Access Road and ending at the American Legion Bridge. With no public funding by the Commonwealth, the Express Lanes network will be extended to the Maryland border, helping address one of the worst bottlenecks in the region and reduce cut-through traffic in local McLean neighborhoods.
Addition of a new, reversible ramp connecting the existing 95 Express Lanes at Opitz Boulevard to provide improved access to Potomac Mills and Sentara Virginia Medical Center. The ramp will offer Express Lane drivers the option to exit directly onto Opitz Boulevard. Transurban will be responsible for the design, construction, maintenance, and all associated costs, creating greater accessibility for the residents and
Construction of a new southbound Occoquan auxiliary lane on Interstate 95 in Woodbridge to address the traffic bottleneck at the Occoquan Bridge. The Occoquan Auxiliary Lane will connect the southbound Route 123 ramp onto I-95 with the off-ramp at westbound Prince William Parkway. The Commonwealth and Transurban have agreed the improvements will not require any compensation payment to Transurban.
“Transurban has a long history of working with the Commonwealth to collaboratively solve major transportation challenges,” said Transurban President Jennifer Aument. “With expanded capacity and new connections to commuter routes and commercial centers, we are committed to delivering transportation solutions that keep travelers moving faster and safer throughout Northern Virginia.”
VDOT is advancing required environmental studies to support these projects, and the partners will commence extensive engagement with the community and local stakeholders as they develop more detailed design plans. While the timeline for delivery of the improvements will continue to be refined, construction could begin as early as 2020.
In addition, the proposal for the Fredericksburg Extension Project (Fred Ex), a project consisting of a 10-mile extension of the 95 Express Lanes to Fredericksburg, has been finalized and is on track for commercial close this spring. Since the project was initially
announced in January 2018, contract negotiations, a competitive design-build procurement, and more favorable financing options have advanced the deal, enabling Transurban to deliver to the Commonwealth a payment of between $54 to 98 million to fund additional transportation improvements depending on final teams of
TIFIA, a low interest federal loan. In addition to the existing three general purpose (GP) lanes, Fred Ex will provide two reversible Express Lanes of new capacity, which will be available at no charge to HOV 3+ and transit riders. The project is expected to increase capacity on this section of I-95 by 66 percent during peak periods. Construction is planned to begin later this year with the facility opening to traffic in the fall of 2022.
“These negotiations have resulted in a more than $1 billion investment in transportation infrastructure in these vital regions of Virginia,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Working collaboratively, we are delivering on our commitment to reduce congestion, improve safety, and increase reliability for those we serve.”
In total, Transurban has committed more than $1 billion over the next five years to fund enhancements to the regional transportation network. Competitive design-build procurements are being used to further ensure best value for Virginia taxpayers.
“The I-95 bottleneck at the Occoquan Bridge has been a source of personal frustration and time stuck in traffic—valuable time that could be spent with family,” said Sena
tor Jeremy McPike. “With funding now in place, VDOT will begin the design and construction that our community has sought for years. I applaud Governor Northam and Secretary Valentine for their commitment and leadership to making improvements and identifying funding to start this
“The Occoquan bottleneck is the worst traffic problem in Virginia and has been one of my top priorities since I was elected to represent Prince William County in 2015,” said Senator Scott Surovell. “I am ecstatic that Governor Northam’s administration and Transurban were able to negotiate a way to expedite construction on this critical improvement. Everyone wins in this deal.”
“I am delighted that Governor Northam and his team have found a way to expand capacity on I-495, heading up to the American Legion Bridge,” said Senator Barbara Favola. “This improvement demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to easing traffic throughout the region and provides further incentives for Maryland to help address congestion on the Bridge.”
By 2022, the Commonwealth of Virginia will have in place 90 miles of connected Express Lanes network throughout Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg. Together with general purpose (GP) lanes, rail, commuter rail, transit, ferries, and trails, these multimodal travel options are creating a future of more seamless mobility for residents, commuters, and businesses.
It’s hard to believe, but those long, lazy days of summer are just around the corner! While the summer months can conjure up nostalgic memories of relaxed, school-free days, they can also be a challenge for parents who work, or who are looking for ways to keep their kids engaged and active as the summer wears on. Luckily, in the DC-metro area, there are a variety of camps available that range in price and cater to different interests. With so many available options, keeping a few things in mind can help you find the perfect camp for your child:
What interests your child?
This is probably the most important question to answer. With so many themed camps to choose from, it helps to think about the types of topics and activities that interest your child. Some camps are very focused. Would your child be happy playing soccer or basketball every day? Is your child happier playing indoors or outdoors? As a camp instructor, I witnessed more than one unfortunate mismatch between camp and child. Picture a kid who is fearful of worms and finds fishing boring at a camp where that was the activity all day, everyday – this actually happened. The camp, aptly named “Fishing Camp,” was a dream come true for most of the kids, but perhaps the parents of this young man didn’t realize to what extent the kids would be fishing, or thought he would “warm-up” to the sport.
Do your homework. If you can, talk to someone who has a child who has previously attended the camp. If you have any questions or uncertainties, call the camp director. And, by all means make sure your child is part of the camp decision process. By the way, STEM camps are all the rage right now, so if that is something that interests your child, be sure to sign up early!
Most overnight camps are offered to children starting at about seven years old. Camps range from high-adventure (think ziplines, white water rafting and horseback riding) to performing arts-focused to traditional camps that touch on a little bit of everything. Once again, think about what interests your child. You might also want to consider accommodations – is the camp single sex or co-ed? How many kids attend the camp? Do campers spend the night in tents or cabins? These types of details can make or break a camper’s experience.
When we hear “camp,” many of us think of the traditional “sleep-away” camp, but there are many exciting day camps to look at too. Day camps are typically offered to children beginning at four years old. Similar to overnight camps, think about the theme and camp size. While many day camps offer a variety of activities, there are a number of specialty camps focusing on sports, the arts, nature, etc. Additionally, you want to think about transportation – is busing an option, or will you need to drive your child each day? Do camp hours coincide with work hours, or do they have an aftercare program? You may also want to inquire about lunch options for your child.
The following are more resources to help you and your child make some decisions about how to spend a week (or eight weeks!) of their next summer.
Week-long day camps are offered through the Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William County Parks and Recreation Departments.
With zoology, soccer, fishing, gymnastics and chess camps (to name a few), there truly is something to fit every child’s interests.
Loudoun County: https://www.loudoun.gov/camps
Prince William County: http://www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/park/summercamp/Pages/default.aspx
For a comprehensive listing of private day and overnight camps, check out Washington Parent’s 2019 summer camp guide:
The American Camp Association has guides on how to choose and prepare for camp, as well as comprehensive information on topics like camp accreditation, the value of camps and camps as an industry.
By Sarah McGowan
On December 4, 2018, fourteen Fairfax businesses were honored before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for receiving the “Best Workplace for Commuters” national designation. Managed by the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR), at the University of South Florida, the Best Workplaces member program provides employers with national recognition and an elite designation for offering outstanding commuter benefits.
Recognizing that commuting experiences differ geographically, this national designation provides individual employers with a wide-range of qualifying commuting options. This made it possible for three very different partners of the Dulles Area Transportation Association (DATA) to qualify – AbleVets, Northwest Federal Credit Union and Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, PC. Their qualifications ranged from compressed workweeks and on-site showers, to telework and preferred parking for carpools and vanpools. Other qualifying strategies include ride-sharing, transit benefits, biking and walking, alternate work schedules and other strategies.
In addition to the recognition, the “Best Workplaces for Commuters” program offers employers educational opportunities and support to improve their commuter options, including FAQs, employer case studies, webinars and other resources.
Interested in earning this designation for 2019?
If your company is interested in earning the “Best Workplaces for Commuters” designation, please contact Sarah McGowan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via phone at (703) 963-3568.
You can learn more about the program by visiting Best Workplaces
By Miriam Foster
Telework is one of the most desired benefits among employees and in today’s competitive job market, because telework can attract and keep the most talented and desired workers. Virginia’s Telework Week is a great time for businesses to start a telework program or learn how to better manage teleworking employees in an existing program.
The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and local commuter assistant program partners, like DATA, are encouraging businesses across Virginia to allow qualifying employees to work from home at least one day during Telework Week, March 4-8.
Many of today’s most successful businesses have discovered a powerful way to improve their bottom lines – telework. If your employees can work with minimal supervision, have good time management skills and meet their deadlines, they may be a great candidate for telework. Teleworkers can work anywhere, but most work from home one to two days a week, and have improved work/life balance.
Stress from the daily grind of commuting to and from work manifests both physically and mentally, which has a direct impact to your business by decreasing productivity and increasing staff turnover. Telework Week is an ideal time to enhance your company’s policy to include information about flexible commuting options that can be a win-win for your business and employees.
Another advantage of including telework as part of your overall business strategy is the telework tax credit. Virginia businesses can get a tax credit of up to $1,200 per employee, and as much as $50,000 per organization for eligible telework expenses. These expenses include purchases like computers and connectivity equipment; hardware, software and telecommunications equipment; fees for delivery, installation and maintenance; and up to $20,000 for a telework assessment. Visit teleworkva.org to learn how to file for this state tax credit.
Telework can also be a crucial part of your continuity of operations (COOP) plan during natural disasters, inclement weather and other emergency situations.
DRPT’s Telework!VA website has all the tools you need to start and manage a telework program. Businesses can access a wealth of documents, resources, and e-learning modules for implementation and training. Employees considering telework can get tips on selling the idea to management, and helpful information on successful teleworking.
For business located in Northern Virginia, Telework!VA offers free technical assistance. Our telework experts can meet with you to answer questions and support your organization in developing a customized telework strategy for free. And for a limited time, businesses on the I-66 corridor that start or expand telework programs with the assistance of Telework!VA may receive up to $10,000. Go to teleworkva.org and complete a request form to have a Telework!VA representative explain how your business can receive the I-66 $10,000 incentive.