Traffic on US toll roads exceeds pre-pandemic levels


An analysis of toll road systems in four US states shows that May 2021 traffic grew 82%, April grew 127.8% and March grew 25.9% versus same periods in 2020. April and May 2021 traffic increased more than 15% versus 2019 levels, while March traffic increased 11.6% versus the same period in 2019

The analysis, which was undertaken by Conduent Transportation, a global business unit of Conduent Incorporated, comes one year after the COVID-19 pandemic first hit major toll road traffic volumes. The 2021 volumes, which include electronic toll transactions from transponders and license plate images captured for toll-by-mail programs, significantly eclipse 2020 and 2019 levels for the same months.

Conduent operates six of the 10 largest toll systems in the US, including systems in California, Florida, New Jersey and New York, which averaged nearly 270 million motorist transactions per month combined in 2019. This analysis of 2021 tolling trends is based on the traffic volumes from those systems.

The findings include:

  • After beginning 2021 with year-over-year declines in tolling traffic in both January and February, traffic increased in March 2021 by 25.9% versus March 2020 and increased 11.6% versus March 2019.
  • The rebound expanded in April 2021, when traffic was 127.8% higher than one year ago and 15.2% higher than April 2019.
  • Strong growth continued in May 2021, with traffic 82% higher than May 2020 levels and 15.4% higher than May 2019.

Gains in 2021 reflect the broader US economic recovery, including states lifting COVID-19 restrictions and reopening of businesses and communities. Conduent continues to help transportation agencies shift to automated, cashless transactions to eliminate currency handling and limit COVID-19 exposures.

“The strong traffic growth in March, April and May, although just three months, is very positive for state agencies that count on tolling revenue to fund important transportation and infrastructure projects,” says Scott Doering, vice president and general manager, road usage charging at Conduent. “While traffic volatility could continue, the robust growth this spring shows more motorists getting back on the road to commute to jobs, visit food and retail destinations, and enjoy entertainment and tourism activities.”

Conduent Transportation is a leading provider of automated and analytics-based transportation solutions for government agencies. These solutions, spanning roadway charging and management, parking and curbside management, and advanced transit and public safety systems, enable streamlined and personalized services for citizens and travelers who use them.

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About Author


Lauren is a regular contributor to Traffic Technology International (TTi) and a freelance technical journalist. Over the past 15 years, she has worked on a wide variety of B2B publications and websites, including a stint as deputy editor of Traffic Technology International from 2014-2016. She has a degree in English from the University of Exeter. Lauren is mum to two busy little girls. She is always in demand!