Learning the commute system, and traffic flows in the Metro D.C. area is essential to minimizing your time and stress in our somewhat infamous traffic.  Our MetroRail and Virginian Rail Express (VRE) are great alternatives to driving in the D.C. area. However, those of you that commute to work need to become familiar with the two main high occupany vehicle (HOV) routes into the D.C. Metropolitan area.

Interstate 95

The first is a restricted access (center lane) that flows northbound in the morning from 6:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and southbound from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The HOV begins as far south as Woodbridge, VA, on Interstate 95 and continues on 395 into the Pentagon area. This HOV requires three occupants and the speed/time advantage over the non-HOV lanes is dramatic. You can obviously establish your own car pool or draw riders from the Slug lines discussed below.  As mentioned earlier, the HOV (center) lanes have restricted access and those accesses almost always have law enforcement sitting at all on/off ramps. During non-HOV hours, the lanes are open to all traffic. You do have to be very mindful of the times when driving in these lanes.

Interstate 66

The second main HOV is on Interstate 66 flowing west to east. HOV lanes begin west of D.C. in Gainesville stretching all the way to the Pentagon / central business district. There is no center restricted access lane as on I-95, but the times are the same. The left lane is the HOV lane and it requires two occupants. There is another significant difference of the I-66 HOV system; once east of the 495 beltway, ALL LANES ARE HOV on I-66 during HOV hours. If you have only one occupant in your vehicle, you MUST exit I-66 and find an alternative route during HOV hours.

Transportation Resources
Other Modes of Transportation

Amtrak 800-USA-Rail 
Amtrak passenger rail links with the Metrorail to Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Baltimore/Washington International Airport

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Washinton Dulles International Airport