Effects of Changing HOV Lane Occupancy Requirements: El Monte Busway Case Study [Final Report & Executive Summary]
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Effects of Changing HOV Lane Occupancy Requirements: El Monte Busway Case Study [Final Report & Executive Summary]

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    In 1999, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 63, which lowered the vehicle-occupancy requirement on the El Monte Busway on the San Bernardino (I-10) Freeway from three persons per vehicle (3+) to two persons per vehicle (2+) full time. 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 that resulted from this change, new legislation was approved increasing the vehicle-occupancy requirement back to 3+ during the morning and afternoon peak periods effective July 24, 2000. This report represents information on the effect the change in the vehicle-occupancy requirement had on the operation of the Busway and freeway, public transit services, violation rates, accidents, local and feeder roadways, and public response. The assessment is based on available information from Caltrans, Foothill Transit, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the California Highway Patrol, and other local agencies. Lowering the vehicle-occupancy requirement from 3+ to 2+ full time 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 travel speeds in the Busway were reduced from 65 mph to 20 mph, while travel speeds in the general-purpose lanes decreased from 25 mph to 23 mph for most of the demonstration. Hourly Busway vehicle volumes during the morning peak period 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 by 20 to 30 minutes. Bus schedule adherence and on-time performance declined significantly and passengers reported delays.

    For the Executive Summary, please see the Supporting Files tab.

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