Hot lane policies and their implications
This research examined the major changes in a corridor due to high occupancy/toll (HOT) lane implementation. This was accomplished by comparing the impacts of HOT lanes on three pairs of HOT lanes with similar design and operational characteristics. These pairwise comparisons of similar HOT lanes reduced the impact of exogenous factors and removed the issue of comparing HOT lanes that were so dissimilar it would be impossible to isolate the reasons for difference in results from the lanes. With strict registration requirements for free high occupancy vehicle (HOV) 3+ travel on the I-95 Express Lanes (ELs) in Miami there were indications that some carpoolers switched to lower occupancy modes. Tolled access for HOV2s on I-95 and the SR-91 ELs near Los Angeles resulted in lower usage of those ELs by the HOV2s as compared to most HOV lanes where HOV2 access is free. On the SR167 (Seattle) and I-25 (Denver) HOT lanes, exogenous factors like the price of gas and the economic recession seemed to be the primary influence on the usage of those HOT lanes. In both cases, carpool usage increased along with the price of gas. On I-25, the increasing unemployment rate coincided with a decrease in toll paying travelers. On SR 167 there were also indications of mode shifts among the transit, carpool and toll paying SOVs due to the fluctuating price of gas. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012
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