OFF-HOUR MOTORISTS who aren't familiar with the access and toll roads to Dulles Airport (and can't decipher all that green-and-white overhead information on the differences between the two) often do marvelous double-takes and side glances when they start noticing that other road that keeps paralleling the one they're on. Where are those people going, anyway? And why are there toll booths on one track and not on the other? Northern Virginians and seasoned air travelers know all too well the differences -- and any local commuter trying to motor along that way during rush hour has spent more than a little chunk of life in toll-paid crawl, watching the airporters moving along the access road. But Rep. Frank Wolf has had some good thoughts about the uses of these roads -- and help may be on the way.

Rep. Wolf, whose proposal last year got the access road opened for rush-hour buses, urged last month that the new regional airport authority also allow car and van pools to use this normally airport-traffic-only road. At an informal meeting Friday led by Fairfax County Board Chairman John F. Herrity, the pool idea won a qualified endorsement from the chairman of the airport authority, Linwood Holton. Mr. Holton said the plan might be allowed pending new lanes on the toll road. The authority will consider the proposal at its next meeting Nov. 4. The idea is to encourage pooling as well as to ease the jams on the toll road -- changes that could save commuters a good 15 to 20 minutes a trip.

In addition, Reg. Wolf has been working with state officials to improve toll collection procedures on the toll road. As the congressman says, "These are simple changes that will not cost the taxpayers and that will benefit thousands of commuters each day." With more than 40,000 commuters on the toll road each weekday, the number of people-hours saved every week could be staggering.