General Question

6rant6's avatar

What's the best HOV lane in the US?

Asked by 6rant6 (13700points) July 20th, 2012

I’m trying to find the best High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane in the US. HOV is where certain lanes are only available to people who are traveling with other people. Here in San Diego, you can also pay to take the HOV to or from the City.

I’d like to hear about really “good” such lanes. “Good” could mean that taking the lane saves you a lot of time. Or that taking the HOV saves a big percentage of time you’d otherwise spend. Another measure might be how much people pay to use it.

In San Diego, you could say during rush hour you can save 30 minutes, save half your time. And people pay $5.50 at peak to use it.

What’s it like where you live?

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9 Answers

jerv's avatar

Seattle’s HOV lane is free, and often a joke. Sure, you can get ticketed for violating it, but many use it as a fourth regular lane anyways. There are times where it may shave 10 minutes off your ride, but often the time savings is 1–2 minutes on a 30-minute commute.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Portland-Seattle. Free! don’t know how much time it actually might save. I have never sat in traffic for long, at all, and I go back and forth constantly.

bolwerk's avatar

Doesn’t work well in New York. The NYPD sees drivers as precious little white angels who can’t do anything wrong, and rarely tickets a motorist if they don’t cause an accident. And even then, it’s a wrist slap if you haven’t been drinking.

Ride a bike wrong and you’re in deep shit though.

zenvelo's avatar

There’s a nice carpool lane on I 80 from Hercules CA down to a special exit ramp to the Bay Bridge that delivers you to the carpool lanes for the bridge. It saves quite a bit of time in the morning. But once you get past the toll plaza you are with the rest of traffic and have to crawl across the bridge.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

The best HOV lane in the country is any HOV lane the day before it opens.

Seriously, here in L.A. the carpool lanes can be helpful, but they’re still overburdened, partly because most were built on freeways designed and built decades ago, when the area had a significantly smaller population. I suspect that is the case most places. Any HOV lane these days will alleviate traffic to some degree, but there’s still too many people, too many cars, and not enough public transit.

Zaku's avatar

It depends on the traffic in and out of the lane. I’ve sometimes saved a lot of time using an HOV lane in the Seattle area (we have many of them, almost-all 2+ passenger lanes), and then I’ve also seen them be slower than the main lanes sometimes.

There used to be a 3+ lane coming west on route 520 from the land of Microsoft towards Seattle, which could save you 45 minutes easily between 4pm and 7pm. However, recently Seattle foisted off a claim that they needed to build a new 520 floating bridge span on us, and are making us pay in advance for it by adding a toll on the bridge spans we had already paid for (!?!@%#!), involving automatic cameras and passes… which makes it an even better time-saver if you are willing to pay, or in my case, a bridge I no longer ever use.

jerv's avatar

@Zaku And those of us who take I-5 by the 405 interchange hate you for making our Seattle/Everett commute even more interesting :p

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Zaku's avatar

@jerv I bet. The lack of intelligent planning and leadership around here is pretty amazing. I almost never use 405, BTW, as it too is often ridiculously overstuffed, and there are few exits and fewer useful ones. I also rarely go to the East Side at all nowadays, but when I do, I sneak around the north end of the lake, adding traffic to Bothell/Kenmore/Juanita surface streets, rather than to I-5.

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