Soon You Might Need Two Lifelike Dummies to Use DFW's HOV Lanes

Categories: Transportation

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Prepare to find an extra carpooler -- or pay up -- if you want to keep using the HOV lane.
Since they were put in place a decade or two ago, use of Dallas-area HOV lanes has required having only two people per vehicle. The idea was to encourage carpooling but not make the requirement so onerous that the lanes would sit empty.

In that regard at least, the plan seems to have been successful. The data is somewhat stale, but the five area highways with HOV lanes saw an 8 to 12 percent increase in vehicle occupancy and shaved off as much as a dozen minutes from carpoolers' commute times.

But on at least one major freeway, it may soon take an additional body to be considered HOV-worthy.

"The policy has been up to today, we're in a (air-quality) non-attainment area, we build these facilities ... and get carpoolers in them," said Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. "We've been doing that close to 20 years, and they're not full."

So with the completion of LBJ Freeway on the horizon, something of a paradigm shift is coming. The new LBJ will still have free lanes, but it will also have tolled lanes that will presumably be less congested. The Regional Transportation Council has already decided that the drivers of HOVs will get to pay less -- but only if there are three or more occupants.

What would happen when a two-passenger vehicle using an HOV lane on a feeder highway merges onto LBJ? Suddenly, their high-occupancy vehicle isn't high-occupancy enough? Well, Morris said, it's time to look at those other HOV lanes, too.

"We're asking the question, is it time to advance all the HOVs to three-plus and sell additional capacity," he said.

The benefits are two-fold: Selling access to HOV lanes promotes efficiency since it allows more cars to use them. It also raises money. How exactly the tolled HOV lanes would be implemented -- whether with automated tolling like NTTA uses or by selling decals/subscriptions to be monitored through on-the-ground enforcement -- is still an open question.

There will be a period of public comment, but Morris expects the RTC to approve three-plus HOV lanes by Thanksgiving.

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37 comments
martycampisi
martycampisi

The HOV lanes on I-30 in Arlington are indeed a complete waste.  They don't encourage carpooling and there is ABSOLUTELY NO ENFORCEMENT....period.  APD wont touch it, its "too far" for DART to get involved....so single riders are rampant...especially westbound on game day. Imagine entering a 70 MPH lane (not meant for you)  from a dead stop when traffic backs up to a crawl (pre-Ranger game)....happens daily.   It's only a matter of time until someone gets killed there.  

 

Solutions:

1. Scrap it, let everyone use it and utilize that lane

2. ENFORCE it

3. Charge ALL people who want to use it

 

Simple

jared.heath
jared.heath

not acceptable.

 

who are all these people who are going to carpool 3 to a car down LBJ?  I think this entire thing is going to end up a glorified empty road with everyone wondering what happened.

Chiaro
Chiaro

Since next to no one is in the mood to pay taxes, new strategies are needed to maintain US infrastructure.  The status quo isn't economically sustainable.

 

Take all the free lanes and make them a Toll Road. The HOV lane is free but requires more people for access.

 

Here's a sad statistic:

 

Only one in four Americans have a passport, so at least three in four have never traveled to Eastern or Western countries to see they're all doing similar programs. Their streets and highways are in excellent condition and also have more sophisticated technologies than TxDot is using.

 

Citizens in those places realize it's now part of everyday life to keep their countries working and competitive.  America's insular attitude is unfortunate. We're missing out on seeing what the rest of the world is doing that maybe, America and Dallas could do better.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

Those HOV lanes were built with public money.  Charging for public, free highways is not right.  It's more of the blurring of utilities for private gain.  

 

If we wanted to alleviate pollution, traffic and the like, we should turn the HOV lanes into regular lanes.  One HOV lane can generally be converted to two regular lanes.  Such waste, such folly.  The increase in the passenger load is simply a way to make more room for Lexus lanes.  Those lanes are remarkably empty, and represent waste.

 

I think one of the real reasons for the lanes is to let cops and emergency vehicles access to these traffic free lanes, that too is wasteful.

atat8080
atat8080

I've never met anyone who grouped with someone else to use the HOV.

 

I've met many people who happen to have more than one person, so they use the HOV.

 

I'd rather see it just be a very expensive toll lane.  I wouldn't use it, but I believe others would.

 

But I'd want a guarantee that some other fee is reduced accordingly, not just tack on a new tax.

 

Otherwise, I'd like the choice.  If I'm late for a plane, I'd pay two or three dollars.   Why not let people pay to use it?  As far as I'm concerned, the multiple riders who ride together just to use the HOV are probably about 1% of those using the HOV.

 

 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

So Norm will have to put tiny tweetgrubes next to his andy panda in the back seat

Stan
Stan

If the NTTA has trouble collecting tolls on regular toll roads, I wonder how much money they won't collect when they add managed HOV lanes.  Will they require tolltags to use these lanes?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

If you want to remove cars from the road, encourage car-pooling, and discourage unnecessary trips, raise the gas tax by about $2/gal.

Then, remove the HOV lanes and make them regular traffic lanes.

Fewer cars, more room, faster trips, less idling and pollution.

Plus, the gas tax money can go to road MAINTENANCE.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

How about you figure out how to enforce the HOV lanes as it stands now? 35's is used as a passing lane by the solo-driving assholes of DFW. 

1morereason2carry
1morereason2carry

Any time I am driving next to the HOV lane I look to see how many cars actually have more than 1. 

 

Unless there are a lot of people driving around their infant children then the majority of them definitely do not. The pickup truck drivers who drive like rapists especially love to not follow the rules. Where is the enforcement? 

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

My question is, how will they know how many people are in the vehicle?

The only way I can see it happening is with manned toll booths. This means that LBJ will be completely unusable most of the time. I remember when the DNT had manned toll booths and no toll tags. I just chose to drive side streets instead of waiting 15 minutes at every toll booth.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

hmmm, we dont have enough people using the carpool lanes as is so lets raise the minimum even more, oh and charge you while doing so.  Such a dumb fucked up idea.  And I still cant figure out who decided to dump the eastboud 30 Hov from a-town to dallas out right at the point where most of the congestion for the drive into dallas occurs?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @scottindallas 

 

Same argument can -- and should -- be made against charging the public to PARK on public streets.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @atat8080 it's  wrong cause we already paid for those lanes with our gas taxes.   This is double taxation, and the privatization of a public good.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

 @Stan If I remember correctly, the NTTA will not be collecting tolls on this stretch of road. It will by Rick Perry's buddies at Centra(sp?).

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @Montemalone im afraid raising the gas tax wouldnt help too much.  We love our cars to much and I know people who would rather buy a tank of gas than pay their electricity  or other bills

TurdFerguson
TurdFerguson

 They wouldn't need to pass if the speed-limit driving assholes would move out of the passing lane.  Stay out of my lane, Scruf!

 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

gotta admit scruff, when I used to live in Lewsiville and drove south to dallas, on weekends I would use that lane to pass, I never crossed the double white line, but where it opened up for entering and exiting I would zoom by.  Of course I was 20 and driving a 450 hp del sol so I wasnt really smart back then either

reedtango
reedtango

 @1morereason2carry  Ha. I look as well! Often times I want to just hop over there but I resist the urge and know I'd be the one to get caught. It has always seemed like it should be the opposite to me anyway. Single person in the HOVs? And raising more money? I think the State Troopers have done a fine job of writing those tickets...how much more money do we need? Can we fix all this road construction first? And lastly why make it more complicated?..."2 people for this much, 3 people for this much unless theyre on this road in this lane at this time, but only if it's Mondays, etc. etc."--Can we just drive? lol

MrBlue
MrBlue

 @ScottsMerkin I had the thought that we should've raised more money for DART, and built a train down the middle of the highway (sans HOV), like in most other major cities... But then i guess they wouldn't be able to so easily price-gouge everybody.

 

anon
anon

 @ScottsMerkin usage studies and history don't agree with you. there is a tipping point somewhere in the $4+ range at which point demand is no longer inelastic. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @ScottsMerkin It would help pay for roads, and maintenance.  The gas tax hasn't been raised since Clinton.  And, despite the increase in gas prices, the gas tax is flat at 18 cents, not on a % basis. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

 @ScottsMerkin I don't even want to know how you managed to get 450 HP in a Del Sol or didn't rip either yourself, the car, or the space-time continuum apart in the process.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @scottindallas  @atat8080 I can agree there.  its super duper shady to have a foreign corp. collecting tolls on an american built road.  shouldnt we at least let our local governmetn give us the shaft as opposed to some foreign fucks

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @ScottsMerkin supply and demand have nothing to do with oil prices.  It's all driven by speculation.  Demand was down and supply up going all the way back to spring of 07, yet the prices have rose far beyond demand.  The only thing that has curtailed the price is the austerity in Europe and reigning in QE and other stimulus. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @anon no, demand is down 5% from last year.  I certainly takes a while for the economy to change, but gas demand is down 15% from 2008

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @anon maybe,  I dont want to find out either, but maybe that expalins why gas has leveled off above 3.00, flirted with 3.90 and fell back down

 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @scottindallas correct, I broke the spirit of the rule, but never actually made a moving violation

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @Scruffygeist lol, Japan spec Type R honda engine, turbo with 14 pound of boost and a rather large shot of nitrous available and the push of a button

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