When Los Angeles opened its first high occupancy/toll lanes along the 110 freeway five months ago, the experiment in congestion pricing was intended to improve travel times for all drivers. But that's not what has happened, reports Laura J. Nelson. Preliminary data indicates that, "Average travel speeds have increased in the lanes formerly reserved for carpoolers, but traffic has slowed on the rest of the freeway."
"But the 110 remains something of a laboratory," adds Nelson, "and officials are hoping the toll lanes ultimately will relieve congestion on the entire freeway. The results from the experiment are expected to strongly influence decisions on possible expansion of toll lanes countywide."
"'Growing pains. It's not surprising,' said [Clifford Winston, a government performance analyst at the Brookings Institute], noting that similar projects in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere saw the same pattern during the early months."