U. S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
HS 808 705
List of Tables
List of Figures
Reasons for Using Beltway
The main reason given for using the Beltway is that it saves time getting from one point to another. Participants perceive it as being quicker because there are no traffic lights and the speed limit is higher. Some participants added that they use the Beltway only when there is a time advantage. They seek alternate routes when they know there are delays.
Often the Beltway is the only way to get between Maryland and Virginia because there are few other ways to cross the river. A few people suggested alternate ways to cross but all agreed that unless Beltway traffic was really bad, the alternates often would require more time than waiting out traffic on the Beltway. Usually, it is the most direct route between destinations. Many participants remarked that their business takes them to other businesses located close to Beltway exits.
The reasons given for driving the Beltway did not vary much between groups and there were no discernible differences among general drivers, aggressive drivers, and truckers. The reasons given in the 1997 groups also were consistent with the reasons given in 1994.