HOV lanes solution

So, given that new HOV lanes do not reduce congestion, and in fact induce demand and increase vehicle miles traveled (VMT), what is the solution? I suggest the following policy:

HOV lanes will not be added to any freeway by the construction of new lanes. If, in the judgement of Caltrans or other agencies, a HOV lane is desirable, an existing general travel lane(s) may be converted to some sort of HOV or tolled status. This only applies to freeways with three or more lanes existing. Existing general purpose lanes may also be converted to transit-only lanes or dedicated to rail use. It is well known that additional lanes of any sort will induce additional traffic, which is directly contrary to state goals to reduce carbon emissions and vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

This could be implemented as a 10-year moritorium rather than a permanent policy, as I think that within 10 years the folly of adding lanes to freeways will be clear to everyone, even Caltrans. 


Note: when I wrote the preceding post and this one, I was aware that ECOS (Environmental Council of Sacramento) was working on a lawsuit against Caltrans over the project to add carpool lanes, as additional newly constructed lanes, to Highway 50. That suit has now been been filed.

Author: Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.