Miami HOT Lanes Getting Drivers Out Of Cars Into Buses

Opponents of High-Occupancy-Toll lanes have long claimed that these lanes, often converted from High Occupancy Vehicle lanes like Miami's I-95, would encourage solo-drivers, especially wealthier ones, to pay to use the express lanes.

During the evaluation period, 95 Express bus ridership rose by 30 percent. However, local bus ridership in the corridor dipped 4.6%, presumably for the same reasons that transit ridership has dipped nation-wide due to the recession, rising fares, and reduced service.

"The U.S. DOT, working alongside the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute, found that the city's 95 Express project has trimmed travel times by as much as two-thirds for users of the bus service on northbound HOT lanes."

"Half of the bus riders surveyed by the U.S. DOT said they had switched over from car travel, "which suggests that the 95 Express bus service in general has had some success over time in attracting private auto users," the report stated."

From Miami Urban Partnership Agreement:
"Free-flowing conditions on the managed-lane network will be ensured through the use of variable pricing based upon demand and the network itself will be used as the back-bone of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system which will be subsidized through the toll revenues.

This is the second project in the nation (after the Houston QuickRide project) to increase the occupancy requirement on high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, in this case from HOV 2+ to HOV 3+."

Thanks to Streetsblog San Francisco‏

Full Story: Feds on New Miami HOT Lanes: Good for Transit

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Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Transit Data On I-95 Express Lanes Inconclusive

Transportation expert Bob Poole reminds us not to weigh the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute's finding too heavily. Cited, with permission, from University of Minnesota Congestion Pricing Listserv, sponsored by the State and Local Policy Program at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration:

"Any conclusions on transit ridership on the I-95 Express Lanes are premature, since the first year (2009) had only the northbound lanes in operation, and there was no through service from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami.

As of next week, with the southbound lanes having opened earlier this month, nonstop express bus service will begin, for the first time ever, in both directions between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. We are all expecting significant transit ridership increases in 2010 due to both changes."

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

HOT Lanes Could Mean More Cars And More Transit

"Opponents of High-Occupancy-Toll lanes have long claimed that these lanes ... would encourage solo-drivers, especially wealthier ones, to pay to use the express lanes. During the evaluation period, 95 Express bus ridership rose by 30 percent."

The two are not mutually exclusive. In this case, the road was restriped to create two HOT lanes instead of one. The added capacity could have both:

1) increased express bus ridership because trip time for buses was reduced, as the article says.

2) increased SOV use because more SOV drivers are accommodated by the increased freeway capacity. Because of induced demand, increased road capacity could cause increased VMT in this case, as it usually does, even though the increased capacity takes the form of an added HOT lane.

Charles Siegel

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