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Clean Air Council

Cleaner Commute I-95

Are you mentally and physically tired of sitting in I-95’s bumper to bumper traffic every day? Cleaner Commute I-95 helps employers and their employees make Interstate 95 commuting easier, less stressful and less expensive. Clean Air Council, in partnership with Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and PennDOT, offers employers and their employees cost-free assistance in implementing our city’s wide range of transportation alternatives through education, incentives, and benefits package improvements.

Interstate 95, between I-676 and Cottman Avenue, is considered to be one of the most congested corridors in the Delaware Valley, causing rush hour drivers to waste 58 hours, 25 additional gallons of gas, and $1,074 a year. PennDOT is actively working on a decade long, multi-phase construction project to reconstruct, widen, and improve approximately eight miles of this corridor. The 160,000 daily I-95 corridor commuters can expect their travel time to double over the next decade.

Some suggestions for employers include:

Encourage employees to commute by taking transit, bicycling, or ridesharing. The Share-A-Ride (SAR) program helps employees join car and van pools, or discover convenient transit services and bicycling opportunities. Park and Ride lots allow commuters to park their personal vehicles while using public transportation or participating in car or van pools. The Emergency Ride Home (ERH) program offers a “safety net” for employees who choose to leave their cars at home, by reimbursing for any transportation services (taxi, care share, rentals, etc.) if an emergency arises during business hours.

Explore alternative work schedules. Flextime allows employees to alter their arrival and departure times, helping reduce rush hour traffic volumes. Compressed Work Weeks increase the length of each workday, which decreases days involving travel to and from the worksite. Telework allows certain employees to occasionally work remotely, eliminating the commute altogether.

Implement new commuting policies and incentives. Programs such as setting up preferential parking spots or areas for car and vanpools, establishing a parking “cash-out” system that reimburses those who don’t use parking, and reducing the number of employee parking spaces are a few options to consider. Offering incentives or rewards for choosing a better way to commute can make biking, ridesharing, or taking public transit more attractive to employees.

Stay informed. Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles in Pennsylvania by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA is free and available 24 hours a day, and provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 770 traffic cameras. Visit www.95revive.com for construction updates.

For more information, resources, tips, and suggestions, please visit www.dvrpc.org/commute95, visit our main Cleaner Commute Philadelphia page or contact Erika L. R. Morgan, Sustainable Transportation Outreach Coordinator at Clean Air Council by calling 215-567-4004 ext. 111 or by emailing emorgan@cleanair.org.

I-95 Construction

With aging infrastructure and extreme congestion, the current state of I-95 can no longer meet the demands of the users. The reconstruction and widening of the 51 miles of I-95 in PA has been initiated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation who broke the Delaware Expressway into 5 smaller more manageable sections: A, B, C, D, E. Priority was given to Section A, the eight mile stretch of I-95 from I-676 to Cottman Ave., due to the condition and age of bridges and pavement as well as crash data. Sector A is expected to cost $8 – 10 billion and to be complete in 2029. Currently, the 8 miles of Sector A consists of 5 active major projects:

About I-95

Interstate 95 stretches 1,917 miles from Florida to Maine and has an average daily traffic of over 72,000 vehicles, with peak daily traffic reaching over 300,000 vehicles. Within Pennsylvania, I-95, officially named the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway and known locally as the Delaware Expressway, runs parallel the Delaware River for 51 miles between the Delaware and New Jersey state lines. I-95 in PA includes 325 Lane Miles, 210 Bridges and carries an average of 102,000 vehicles, including 13,000 trucks, every day. This ranges from a high of 160,000 vehicles through Center City to a low of 60,000 vehicles in Bucks County. This is 41% more vehicles per day than the average daily traffic for all of I-95 from Maine to Florida. For over 50 years, Pennsylvania’s I-95 has served as an integral transportation link connecting Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware and the entire east coast.

I-95 History

1937 – Planning for a Delaware Expressway began when the Philadelphia City Planning Commission sought to link Northeast Philadelphia, Center City and the Port of Philadelphia with the “Delaware Skyway,” an elevated highway above Delaware Avenue. The support columns of the Delaware Skyway were found to interfere with port operations, so the plan was abandoned.

1947 – The current route of the Delaware Expressway was approved by the city as a toll road on the Pennsylvania Turnpike System. With an original estimated cost of $180 million, the expressway was to be one of the costliest roads ever constructed. It was scheduled for completion in 1960.

1956 – The Delaware Expressway was included as part of the Interstate Highway system after President Dwight Eisenhower enacted the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which funded 90% of the interstate highway.

1959 – Construction on the Pennsylvania portion of I-95 began.

1965 – The first sections of the Delaware Expressway opened.

1985 – Final segments, from Penrose Avenue to Enterprise Avenue near the Philadelphia International Airport, opened.

Today – The Delaware Expressway serves as a major route to many regional destinations, such as sports, recreational and entertainment venues, employment centers like Center City, and major transportation and port facilities such as the Philadelphia International Airport. There is a diverse mix of I-95 traffic, including national, regional, local commuter and truck/freight traffic. In-state traffic makes up 81% of the total traffic on the Delaware Expressway. Most commuters travel 3 exits or less. Of the Delaware Expressway commuters, 46% start on I-95 in Delaware County, 73% start in Philadelphia and 63% start in Bucks County exit I-95 in Philadelphia.

Start your cleaner commute today by contacting Erika L. R. Morgan, Sustainable Transportation Outreach Coordinator, at 215-567-4004 ext. 111 or by emailing emorgan@cleanair.org.

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