Sierra Club Opposes Use of HOV Lanes By Paying Customers

Houston's MTA is planning to allow drivers to pay a toll to use the High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on their freeways, and the local Sierra Club chapter is speaking out against the plan.

"'This proposal sends the wrong signal, that additional sprawl development will be supported by Metro via emphasis on one person/one vehicle transportation,' says the statement, submitted to Metro by Brandt Mannchen, chairman of the chapter's Air Quality Committee.

Metro's HOV system carries about 100,000 riders a day, the agency estimates. Opening it to some toll payers could actually reduce exhaust emissions, said spokeswoman Raequel Roberts.

'It is better to move single-occupant vehicles into unused HOV lane space than to have them idling in traffic,' she said.

Roberts provided a graph from the Houston-Galveston Area Council on which carbon monoxide emissions per mile increase dramatically at speeds less than 10 mph. Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds also increase, although less sharply."

Full Story: Sierra Club says HOV tolls will send the `wrong signal'



HOV lanes: Good, HOT lanes, BAD!

As it says in the article, HOT lanes only rearrange traffic, while HOV lanes reduce the number of vehicles.
In reality ALL lanes should be toll lanes except HOV lanes.
Given today's toll collection technologies, a tolling system can be easily implimented without tollbooths or tolltakers, and the funds could go toward transit improvements.
Only intolerable congestion or intolerable driving expense will get people out of their cars, and congestion is a poor way to control traffic.

rob bregoff


HOV lanes don't necessarily reduce the number of vehicles. They accomodate those people that already carpooled. HOT lanes are better because they reduce traffic on other lanes thereby reducing congestion and pollution. Buses and vanpools can still ride free in all of the proposals I've seen.

I do agree with you that ALL lanes should be toll lanes, but I don't see how advocating against HOT lanes is a step in that direction. It's just the opposite.

2 votes for disagree

HOV lanes don't really do as much to reduce congestion because a large number of car-poolers are members of the same household, so these are people who might have been in the same car anyway.

HOT lanes do encourage carpooling, because more passengers means a reduced toll.

Finally I personally want to see more HOT lanes, and more multi-transit Smart cards. Based on my studies these are the two solutions that do the most in the short term to balance the perceived costs of transit versus SOV. By monetizing the per-trip cost of driving, and amortizing the per-trip cost of transit, thereby reducing what I think is the main cognitive disconnects between transit and automobile travel.

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