Thursday, September 21, 2023

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


(WYDaily file/Courtesy of ODU)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of ODU)

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.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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