High Occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes have the ability to ‘smooth’ traffic at bottlenecks according to new research from Menendez and Daganzo (2007).
HOV lanes are restricted-use and are reserved for vehicles often with two or more occupants. They can have a disruptive effect on other lanes if they are under used or if changes are frequently made in and out of the lane. However, this research shows that in bottle neck situations they can have positive ‘kepping traffic moving’ effects.
The application of HOV lanes in the UK is few and far between and is often a very controversial option, especially if it is thought that capacity is being taken away from general traffic. On the whole, the RAC Foundation believes that this traffic management measure can be effective if used in conjunction with schemes and localities that promote and facilitate car sharing. However, it is very positive to see some research on the vehicle flow mechanics of this much disputed traffic management approach.