High-occupancy toll


High-occupancy toll

A high-occupancy toll (HOT) is a toll enacted on single-occupant vehicles who wish to use lanes or entire roads that are designated for the use of high-occupancy vehicles (or "HOVs", also known as carpools). Tolls are collected either by manned toll booths, automatic number plate recognition, or electronic toll collection systems. High occupancy tolls are a form of road pricing.

Variable tolls

HOT lanes require single-occupant vehicles to pay a toll that varies based on demand, called congestion pricing. The tolls change throughout the day according to real-time traffic conditions to manage the number of cars in the lanes and keep them free of congestion, even during rush hour. [ [http://www.nvta.org/content.asp?sl=459&contentid=468 Northern Virginia Transporation Alliance] ] [ [http://www.planetizen.com/node/29851 Golden Gate Bridge for variable toll] ]

The concept is an expansion of HOV lanes and an attempt to maximize their efficiency in moving vehicles. HOV lanes are designed to promote vehicle sharing and use of public transport by creating areas of lower road use as an incentive, but they have been criticized because some are underused and increase congestion.

Because HOT lanes are often constructed within the existing road space, they are criticized as being an environmental tax or perk for the rich ("Lexus lanes"). A counter-argument is that the rich often already have ways to ease their commute that are not available to the poor, such as buying a home closer to where they work. Moreover, the poor may also benefit from the ability to pay to get through traffic quickly; e.g., a family seeking to catch a flight or a plumber wanting to get to his customer quickly may come out ahead financially from using the HOT lane. Funds raised from HOT lane tolls can be used to pay for the upkeep of the lane and possibly also for the rest of the road.

Even those drivers who do not use the lane may benefit from having it fully utilized (and thus taking more traffic) out of the main lanes, in contrast to the underutilized HOV lanes. Also, by linking together disconnected HOV networks, HOT lanes can allow public transportation vehicles (such as buses) to more reliably get to more destinations on time; since the poor often rely on public transportation, this can be beneficial to them.

Locations

HOT lanes are most frequently found in the United States.Fact|date=May 2008 Active HOT lanes are only in operation in the states of California, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Texas, Utah, and Washington; HOT lanes are being constructed in northern Virginia and are proposed or under study in several other states. They have also been considered for the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and on the Sydney Harbour Bridge bus lanes in Sydney, Australia.

ee also

*Express toll lane
*Road space rationing
*Transportation demand management

References

External links

* [http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/hov/hotlanes.htm Washington State paper on HOT Lanes]
* [http://www.rppi.org/transportation/ps170.html RPPI paper on HOT Lanes]
* [http://www.brook.edu/views/op-ed/downs/20020510.htm Brookings Institution economic study on HOT Lanes]
* [http://www.itsdocs.fhwa.dot.gov/JPODOCS/REPTS_TE/13668.html A Guide for HOT Lane Development (FHWA, 2003)]
* [http://www.virginiadot.org/news/newsrelease.asp?ID=CO-0517 Virginia Department of Transportation press release on Beltway HOT lanes, April 29, 2005]
* [http://www.miamiherald.com/884/story/51488.html Miami Herald article on HOT lanes]
* [http://mdxway.com/improvements/managed_lanes_faq.htm Miami-Dade Expressway Authority Managed Lanes]
* [http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/gwinnett/stories/2007/05/01/0502mettoll.html Atlanta Journal-Constitution article on HOT lanes]

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