The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission was one of 23 tolling agencies nationwide to see record traffic volume last year, according to a report by the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.
The IBTTA’s National Toll Facilities Usage Analysis saw an increase of 7 percent in the use of toll roads from 2014 to 2015.
Randy Cole, executive director of the Ohio Turnpike, said traffic volume on the turnpike increased by 4.1 percent during that time.
“With 53.4 million trips in 2015, compared to 51.2 million in 2014, this serves as a historic benchmark, he said.”
The IBTTA completed its analysis by collecting data from 31 toll-operated facilities across the country in February of this year. The data show that drivers on the 31 facilities surveyed took 5 billion trips with toll transactions in 2015, an increase of about 328 million, or 7 percent, from the year before.
Only one of the 31 toll facilities in the survey- the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority - didn’t report an increase in traffic volume. It recorded a 5 percent increase last year in commercial traffic volume but that was offset by a 5 percent drop in passenger traffic.
Toll authorities measure traffic volume in either transactions, trips or crossings, depending on the authority.
About two-thirds (23 of 31) of the toll authorities said they had record-breaking years in 2015, recording the largest traffic volume in their history.
Patrick Jones, executive director and chief executive officer of the IBTTA, said that while the Northeast U.S. has the longest history with toll roads, authorities in the South and West reported the biggest increases in trips and transactions.
The association’s analysis mirrors recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation that show motorists drove about 3.1 trillion miles last year, which makes it the most heavily-traveled year.
When the Ohio Turnpike released its 2015 figures, it said the 53.4 million vehicles that travelled that year on the toll road eclipsed the previous record of 51.8 million set in 2006.
The turnpike in 2015 also recorded the second most number of vehicle miles traveled in its history with more than 3 billion vehicle miles traveled. That was about 39 million fewer miles traveled in 2006.
Cole attributed the increase to relatively low gas prices, mild weather and an improving economic outlook.