Title

EFFECTS OF CHANGING OCCUPANCY REQUIREMENTS FOR HIGH-OCCUPANCY VEHICLE LANE: EL MONTE BUSWAY CASE STUDY, JULY 23, 2002

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2003

Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, infrastructure - busway, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, planning - safety/accidents, economics - appraisal/evaluation, mode - bus, mode - mass transit, mode - carpool

Keywords

Vehicle occupancy, Travel time, Transit, Traffic volume, Traffic violations, Traffic operations, Traffic accidents, Speed, Schedule maintenance, Public transit, Priority lanes, Peak periods, Passengers, On time performance, Off peak periods, Motorways, Mass transit, Local transit, Journey time, Interstate highways, HOV lanes, Highway operations, Highway accidents, High occupancy vehicle lanes, Freeways, Evaluation and assessment, Diamond lanes, Controlled access highways, Case studies, Carpool lanes, California, Busways

Abstract

In 1999, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 63, lowering the vehicle-occupancy requirement on the El Monte Busway on the San Bernardino Interstate 10 Freeway from three persons per vehicle (3+) to two persons per vehicle (2+). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) was directed to implement this change on January 1, 2000, and to monitor and evaluate the effects of the 2+ requirement on the operation of the busway and the freeway. Based on the operational effects of the change, new legislation was approved increasing the vehicle-occupancy requirement back to 3+ during the morning and afternoon peak periods effective July 24, 2000, with a 2+ requirement at other times. Information is presented on the effect of the change in the vehicle-occupancy requirement on operation of the busway and freeway, public transit services, violation rates, accidents, and public response. The assessment is based on information from Caltrans, Foothill Transit, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the California Highway Patrol. Lowering the vehicle-occupancy requirement had a detrimental effect on the busway. At the same time, significant improvements were not realized in the general-purpose freeway lanes. Morning peak-period average travel speeds on the busway were reduced from 65 to 20 mph, while travel speeds in the general-purpose lanes decreased from 25 to 23 mph. Morning peak-period busway vehicle volumes increased from 1,100 to 1,600 with the 2+ designation, but the number of persons carried declined from 5,900 to 5,200. The freeway lane vehicle volumes and passengers per lane per hour remained relatively similar. Peak-period travel times on the busway increased from 20 to 30 minutes. Bus schedule adherence and on-time performance declined significantly and passengers reported delays.