HOV-to-HOT Conversion Seen as Key to Easing Congestion

Robert Poole reports on efforts across the country to reduce freeway congestion through HOV-to-HOT conversion and public-private partnerships.

Many cities are looking to high occupancy toll (HOT) or express toll lanes, a combination of high-occupancy and toll lanes, to add freeway capacity. Poole looks at efforts in some of the country's most car-dependent cities such as Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle to implement such projects.

In Atlanta, "After several years of study, the Georgia Department of Transportation in December 2009 adopted a $16 billion plan to add express toll lanes to nearly all the metro area's freeways."

In Los Angeles, "Los Angeles County is now converting HOV lanes on the Harbor and San Bernardino freeways into HOT lanes. The metropolitan planning agency is considering plans for a region-wide network of such lanes. Projects are in the planning or development stages in Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Current plans call for using public-private partnerships to add several missing links to the region's freeway system, including a five-mile toll tunnel on I-710 (beneath South Pasadena) and the planned 63-mile High Desert Corridor in northern Los Angeles County."

The New York Times also ran a piece over the weekend looking at the spread of HOT lanes and their rough introduction in several communities.

While many of the cities Poole identifies are also pursuing expansions to their transit infrastructure, these projects make clear the reality that the private automobile isn't going anywhere fast (unless its paying a toll).

Full Story: Unblocking the Box

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