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Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I think that the HOT lanes should address 3 problems:
The new HOT lanes fail on all 3 counts:
1)Traffic is equally (or more) congested in the general purpose lanes, while the HOT lanes are under-utilized. I don't consider 3000 vehicles (using HOT) out of 250,000 (using I-85) to be real relief to the congestion issue.
2)The old HOV lanes encouraged car-pools of 2 or more people, which cuts down on pollution. Given the way that Atlanta is laid-out (a very large area), the odds of being able to find 2 car pool partners who live and work reasonably close to one another are probably pretty low in any case. In the new system, this is upped to 3 people, making the odds even worse. Not to mention, that if you have 3 people who don't live/work on the same exits (meaning one or more has to get out "early" leaving the remaining 2 subject to the toll), then the advantage of the HOT diminishes greatly. At some point, it becomes too cumbersome and people will revert to driving themselves rather than subjecting themselves to the inconvenience (and expense, now) of carpooling.
3)If the goal is to raise additional revenues (for whatever purpose)---without getting into whether or not the revenues SHOULD be raised---the HOT doesn't really accomplish that. If the utilization is as low as it's been this week (3000 cars X the average toll), I'm guessing that the revenues don't really move the needle even if this doubles.
Lastly, the GDOT has been heralding the "time saved" by the drivers who opted to use the HOT lane this week. They are painting themselves into a dangerous corner because if, somehow, the usage of those lanes increase, the speeds in those lanes will necessarily decrease while the toll rate for those lanes will increase. While paying $.90 to save 30 minutes may be deemed a "good deal" for a precious few now---what if that becomes $9.00 for 5 minutes?
Last login: Tuesday, October 2, 2012