Life in Hampton Roads survey No. 6: Transportation and tolls

Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (Courtesy VDOT)
Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (Courtesy VDOT)

Every day, people traverse the 11 bridges and five tunnels in Hampton Roads, commuting for work, family and other activities.

For the final chapter of the 2019 Life in Hampton Roads survey, the Social Science Research Center at Old Dominion University asked residents about their commute times and the impact of tolls on bridge and tunnels.

Residents report fairly consistent average commute times to work or school since 2015, varying between 18 and 24 minutes.

In 2015, the average was 20 minutes, then decreased in 2016 to 18.1 minutes. In 2017, it jumped slightly to 19.2 minutes, and in 2018 it bumped up to 21.5 minutes.

This year’s average commute time saw a slight decrease to 20.0 minutes.

Residents were asked if within the past month (the survey was conducted during the spring and summer) they avoided visiting a business in a neighboring city due to tolls on the bridges or tunnels. Nearly half of the respondents (47.6 percent) said that they did avoid visiting neighboring cities due to tolls, while 51.1 percent did not.

Those percentages are consistent with previous years’ data.

The survey respondents were asked about what actions they have taken, if any, to avoid tolls in Hampton Roads.

More than four in 10 (41.3 percent) said they do not intentionally avoid tolls.

Of those who said they do avoid them, the most common response (39.1 percent) was to take a different route to school or work. Another 13.1 percent said they reduced travel during peak periods.

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