OPENING HOV LANES TO GENERAL TRAFFIC DURING MAJOR INCIDENTS AND SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS

A restriction in roadway capacity results in long queues, long motorist delays, greater emissions and a higher potential for secondary accidents. In order to avoid the impacts of major incidents or severe weather conditions, many areas containing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) facilities have implemented HOV diversion strategies in their incident management strategies. Some locations use various criteria for determining if the HOV lane should be opened for general traffic use. Often the officer on the scene is responsible for the decision of opening the HOV lane to single occupant vehicles. Once a decision is made to open the HOV lane to general traffic a diversion plan must be followed and instructions must be clearly expressed to the drivers. The objectives of this research were to: 1) establish current practices for diverting general traffic into HOV lanes during major incidents or severe weather conditions; 2) develop a set of general criteria for HOV facilities where the HOV lane should be opened to accommodate all traffic; 3) develop guidelines for a typical diversion plan for opening HOV lanes to the general traffic; and 4) apply guidelines to a specific location. Through a literature review and a series of interviews with six agencies that operate HOV facilities recommended criteria were developed to determine when the HOV lane should be opened to general traffic. These criteria should be used by the response team to assess the situation and determine if lifting the HOV lane restrictions is warranted. The response team would be in communication with the traffic management center in order to receive operating conditions on the mainlanes and HOV lanes. The implementation plan used in the HOV diversion strategy would include the following issues: identification of the corridor; formation of agency partnerships; determination of alternative routes; defining HOV diversion criteria; development of signing and other traffic devices; coordination with the media; and final implementation. These issues provide the framework of a typical HOV diversion implementation plan. They would need to be modified for specific locations and situations. In this paper, the criteria and diversion plan is applied to I-270 in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 201-230
  • Monograph Title: COMPENDIUM: GRADUATE STUDENT PAPERS ON ADVANCED SURFACE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS (1999)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00793194
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: UTC, TRIS
  • Created Date: May 15 2000 12:00AM