A few short months ago we announced that we added support for four Express Lanes in the Tollsmart apps (two in the DC area and two in Seattle) with the goal of rolling out all HOT/Express Lanes in the US. Today we're thrilled to announce we've achieved that goal and that Tollsmart now supports every Express Lane in the US. This means that Tollsmart will alert you to any Express Lanes along your route so you know you'll have an option for avoiding traffic when traveling through metro areas. No other mapping service provides this type of visibility into tolling information. Tollsmart is maps like you've never seen before.
Real Time Pricing for Seattle's I-405 Express Toll Lanes
Equally exciting is that Tollsmart now displays real-time toll rates for the 405 Express Toll Lanes that bypass Seattle from Belleview to Lynnwood, WA. This means that commuters can view the current prices for taking these lanes before hopping in their cars to head to work, thereby making more informed decisions. The pricing feeds are made available by WSDOT (Washington State Department of Transportation) the agency that operates these lanes, and they provided the following comments on why they're making this information publicly available:
We know how important real-time information is to people and want to help drivers make informed choices about their route options. That's why we decided to make I405 express toll lane rates publicly available as a live, open-source data stream. We're happy to see apps using this data and hope that it will give drivers a more predictable trip so that they can take more control over their commute.
We applaud WSDOT's transparency and efforts to educate drivers on how tolling on these new lanes work and encourage other state agencies to take similar steps to make this information broadly available to the traveling public.
To activate the Express Lanes in Tollsmart go the Options menu and tap on the HOT/Express Lanes button. That will display a screen where you can switch on the feature by sliding the button to 'on' (it will turn green). You'll also be prompted to provide the number of occupants, which will determine if you've met the carpool requirements. The app will remember the settings, which you can go back to change at any time.
Now when a route is entered where Express Lanes are an option Tollsmart will display double red lines along that section of the route, or grey lines where they exist but may not be available based on your selected vehicle type, transponder or at the predicted time of crossing. Tapping on the lanes displays additional information such as pricing, transponder information and, when available, a link to the official site of the toll authority that operates the lanes.
Pricing for the +20 Express Lanes now in Tollsmart vary from congestion-based prices to those that change based on time of day. For the latter we include the actual prices based on when you are expected to cross the lanes, and for those based on real-time traffic patterns (with the exception of the 405 lanes) we provide a range of minimum or maximum prices based on distance travelled while we work to get more real time prices added.
Important to note is that Tollsmart does NOT include the prices for Express Lanes in the toll calculation for a route. Also, note that some lanes require a special 'Flex' transponder for those travelers that meet the minimum vehicle occupancy requirements to ride on them for free.
Jim & Leo
This Memorial Day the team at Tollsmart wants to serve those who serve all of us each and every day, so we're providing free access to the Tollsmart Toll Calculator to members of the US Military during the entire summer of 2106. This group loves to travel, and whether it's for a quick family getaway, a PCS or TDY the Tollsmart Toll Calculator will help service members budget for toll costs and find cheaper routes that will save them money.
The Tollsmart Toll Calculator is the only application that calculates tolls across the entire US, and since launching the desktop version a few months ago thousands of users have paid to use it for planning car trips. We're delighted to now make it available for service members for free from Memorial Day through Labor Day, a savings of $15 off the subscription price. But the savings in toll fees could be far beyond that for those traveling through heavily tolled areas like the Northeast US, Upper Midwest, Florida and Texas. Below is additional information and how members of the military can obtain free access.
Tollsmart for the web works just like Google Maps, with an autocomplete feature to make it super simple to look up locations, addresses and places of interest. Simply enter your starting and ending locations and click submit!
Tollsmart will then display up the three route options on a map along with toll costs, travel time and distance for each route so you can quickly and easily compare routes based on cheapest, fastest or shortest.
Tollsmart also displays detailed information on every toll facility you'll encounter along your route, including the transponders that are accepted and cash and transponder prices.
How to Get Free Access
To request free access to the Tollsmart Toll Calculator through Labor Day 2016 send an email to military@Tollsmart.com using your military email account (we'll use this to verify your military status) and within 24 hours you'll receive an email with instructions for logging in to your free account.
The team at Tollsmart wants to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday weekend, as well as a fantastic summer!
Jim & Leo
Recently a number of truckers have been apprehended for toll violations amounting to thousands of dollars in unpaid tolls. Though this seems unbelievable to the average car driver, truckers are very aware of how expensive tolls are and how quickly toll costs for trucks exceed a thousand dollars, even in a single round trip journey. Using our new Toll Calculator for Trucks desktop application we identified the three most expensive toll routes in America. Below are the results assuming a 5-axle truck at 80,000 lbs weight and a minimum trip distance of 200 miles each way.
Mile-for-mile, this is the most expensive trip you can make as a trucker, as you end up spending over $1 in tolls for every mile of your trip. The total toll cost for this 210-mile trip is $248.60, equating to $1.18 per mile. Even with a transponder you'll still end up paying more than one dollar per mile, but at least you'll save yourself over $36 in tolls, not to mention the time waiting in cash toll lanes.
There is an alternate route that is only $203 ($161 transponder rate) and it only adds another 9 minutes to the trip. You can check out the route using our new truck toll calculator.
The second most expensive route you can take as a trucker is Chicago to New York City. Along this 826 mile route you can expect to pay a whopping $439.75 in tolls, so if you don't have a transponder you'd better bring a bid wad of cash! This route will cost truckers $0.53 per mile as it runs through the Chicago Skyway, the Illinois Tollway, the Indiana Toll Road, the Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpikes and the Holland Tunnel (which alone costs $105).
The good news is that there are a couple of alternative routes that will save you a great deal of money, including one that will also save you a half-hour of driving time. Check out this route using our new desktop toll calculator for trucks.
The third most expensive truck route in the US is Chicago to Atlantic City, NJ, a distance of 821 miles at a total cost of $401.85 in tolls which equates to $0.49 per mile, leaving you little cash for gambling in the Atlantic City casinos.
However there's an alternative route that will save you $177 in tolls and only add 16 minutes of driving time to your trip. Check it out here on our new truck toll calculator.
It's that time of year again, time to begin pulling together all the receipts from 2015 and combine them with the myriad tax forms that no doubt began arriving in your mailbox a few weeks ago.
In filling out tax returns one of the areas that many people have questions about is their car, and which expenses related to owning and operating it are deductible. This is especially true now that so many people supplement their incomes by driving for ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
Because so many people rely on our toll calculator to quickly calculate toll expenses for car trips they took in 2015 we wanted to help people better understand these deductions.
So what are the deductible car expenses you can submit on your 2015 return? Below are the guidelines provided by the IRS:
You can find the full details regarding the IRS guidelines for deductible car expenses here, but you should always seek out a tax expert or CPA (certified public accountant) with any questions you have regarding any deductible expenses.
Every year millions of travelers head to the Big Apple during the holiday season for holiday shopping, to see a few shows and stroll down the avenues viewing window decorations on their way to view the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. But those travelers who drive into New York from New Jersey will end paying a little extra this year as the tolls on all the NJ/NY bridge and tunnel crossings will increase by $1 on Dec. 6 to $15 for passenger vehicle paying cash. The discounted E-ZPass rate will also increase by $0.75 during peak hours to $12.50.
The increase is part of a multi-year increase that began back in 2011 and which ends this year.
You can learn more about the increases here, including the new rates for trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles, or you can just download the Tollsmart app for Android or iPhone and we'll have you covered. Tollsmart will automatically calculate the cost of tolls across any routes in the US and Canada, and we update our toll prices in real time so you can be sure you're seeing the most current prices before heading off on a holiday road trip.
Wherever you're heading this holiday season the team at Tollsmart wishes everyone a joyous and happy holiday!
Jim & Leo
..and they won't even have to stay at a Holiday Inn Express. That's because for the first time ever they'll have complete visibility into how much tolls will cost for any trips in the US and Canada through the new Tollsmart app for iPhone & Android.
SIMPLIFIES TRAVEL PLANNING: The new Tollsmart app makes it super simple to budget for toll expenses on a road trip by calculating toll costs across all roads, bridges and
tunnels in the US and Canada. No more frustrating hours spent jumping between websites trying to figure out where you'll encounter tolls or which exits to enter or get
off, this app does it all for you in seconds, and even factors in transponder discounts for all tolling groups including E-ZPass, SunPass and FasTrak.
SAVES YOU MONEY: But that's not even the best part. The Tollsmart app also has an innovative Toll Saver feature that notifies you when alternative routes have been found that can save you money. That's right - the Tollsmart app not only calculates tolls for you but automatically notifies you when its found cheaper routes, and in toll-intensive parts of the US, such as the Northeast, Florida and the Chicago region, this can add up to substantial savings.
EDUCATES YOU: Tollsmart works just like your favorite mapping service, but with the added benefit of Toll Vision so you can easily view all the tolls you'll encounter along your route, providing the details of each toll facility such as whether it will accept your transponder, if exact change is required, or if you'll encounter cashless video-tolling booths that will bill you via the mail (and notify you of any related service fees).
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE: Hey, we realize not everyone has an iPad or an iPhone, and we're working feverishly to create versions of Tollsmart for Android and other mobile platforms, but we're not going to leave anyone in the lurch. Our goal is to make EVERYONE a little toll smarter this summer, and so stay tuned for more exciting news on this front. All we ask in return is that you help us spread the word by sharing it with your friends and family, and in return you'll enjoy some good Toll Karma knowing you helped all of your family and friends become tollsmart this summer!