High-occupany vehicle lanes accomplish little

Capacity loss a product of HOV lanes, according to study

Believe it or not, I’m happy that the CRD Business and Residential Taxpayers Association is ferreting into light-rail transit numbers.

However, their research has a flawed assumption: that high-occupancy vehicle lanes accomplish anything.

Two California researchers with very impressive resumes analyzed these diamond roadways in that state’s Bay Area from 2000 to 2004. Their conclusion: “The analysis presented here suggests that in the Bay Area, instead of improving mobility, HOV lanes exacerbate the congestion problem: HOV lanes suffer a capacity drop of 400 vehicles/hour; they increase congestion overall; they do not significantly increase the throughput of people and they do not encourage carpooling.”

A depressing aspect of Capital Regional District transportation numbers is that nothing has changed in 10 years. According to the CRD’s household travel survey, there’s been next to no growth in the number of people walking, cycling or using transit.

The German city of Freiburg, with a smaller population than Victoria, proves it’s possible to increase the market share of non-automotive forms of transportation and reduce congestion and air pollution.

Louis Guilbault


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