High-Occupancy Toll Lanes and Public Transportation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, land use - impacts, policy - equity, mode - bus, mode - mass transit, mode - carpool


Travel time, Transit, San Diego (California), SAFETEA-LU, Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, Ridership, Public transit, Priority lanes, Patronage (Transit ridership), Minneapolis (Minnesota), Mass transit, Local transit, Journey time, Intracity bus transportation, Impacts, HOV lanes, HOT lanes, High occupancy vehicle lanes, High occupancy toll lanes, Diamond lanes, Denver (Colorado), Carpool lanes, Bus transit


This paper examines the impacts on public transportation services and ridership levels that have resulted from the expansion of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. The experience with bus services operating on the HOV and HOT lanes on I-15 in San Diego, California; I-394 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and I-25 in Denver, Colorado is explored. The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) allows increased flexibility for state departments of transportation and other agencies to maximize the use of HOV lanes, including use by tolled single-occupant or lower-occupancy vehicles. As a result, the potential impacts on bus services and ridership levels represent important factors when expanding HOV lane user groups to include tolled vehicles. The three projects provide different perspectives on the potential impacts on public transportation from expanding HOV lanes to include HOT vehicles, as well as the use of transit buses to monitor travel time savings and trip time reliability.