What Is An HOV Lane (And Why You Should Take Advantage Of It)

What Is An HOV Lane (And Why You Should Take Advantage Of It)

What is an HOV lane? How does it affect the entire traffic flow of a particular area?

The HOV lane, or high occupancy vehicle lane, are vehicular lanes that are dedicated to buses, vanpools, carpools, and motorcycles. The common theme of these vehicles is that they are used to transport two or more people. Because of this, HOV lanes are also being called as diamond lanes or carpools (if you want to be generic).

The standard HOV system is already present in various cities and countries around the world. The system is composed of a myriad of utility highway lanes. These lanes serve as direct connection toward employment centers, business districts, and other areas with a high volume of population. In fact, many urban transport systems rely on these HOV lanes to improve the smoothness of their traffic.

What’s The Purpose Of HOV Lanes?

Basically, HOV lanes are constructed and engineered to enhance the mobility of people rather than the vehicles themselves. Technically, it is the cars and trucks that pass our roads. However, they are just mediums of transport. The real users are still humans. If road users like us feel that the traffic is becoming more inconvenient, then necessary adjustments should be implemented. 

HOV lanes are designed to move more people than other lanes. A single HOV lane can deliver three times more passengers than ordinary highways can do. Of course, that’s another manner of decongesting the streets, too. Keep in mind that transporting a large number of people requires bulky and oversized vehicles–such as buses. If they pass through a lane that has limited horizontal and vertical size, they will worsen the traffic.

Even if you don’t see a lot of vehicles that are passing in HOV lanes, the volume of the population that it transports is still significantly larger than conventional highways. It doesn’t matter if you only see one bus that passes these HOV lanes per minute. Keep in mind that a single bus is equivalent to forty cars or more. Such a concept enables these HOV lanes to be free from unnecessary congestions. 

There is a myriad of studies that confirms that these HOV lanes are actually attracting people to travel in groups. A driver who tends to travel alone would be compelled to use these HOV lanes if they are opened. In rush hours, they are downright useful as you want to avoid the trail of vehicles that are lining the highways. HOV lanes offer as alternative passes so that you can get to your destination safe and convenient. 

If you are a car owner, such a situation is something that you can’t pass by. There’s a dilemma here. You are torn between choosing the convenience of your vehicle and the ease of travel provided by these HOV lanes. If you choose the latter, then you need to leave your car in the garage to hop on public transport vehicles. In exchange for that sacrifice, you can reach your destination faster and safer. You are in an HOV lane, after all. Traffic burdens are almost non-existent here. 

The demand for enhanced freeway is another reason why these HOV lanes are constructed in the first place. With them around, cities are able to disperse the traffic in any given location. Of course, this is an important aspect, especially during rush hours and busy season. One way or another, you would want your streets to be conducive for transport. Since vanpooling and carpooling tend to strain the regular traffic flow, the creation of these HOV lanes proves to be a vital solution.

Are HOV Lanes Restricted?

Now, there’s an ongoing argument if these HOV lanes are restricted for selected vehicles only or not. Well, the right answer is somehow right in the middle. 

Always remember that HOV lanes are designed to separate large vehicles from the small ones. They ensure that trucks, buses, and carpools have a designated lane of their own to prevent the unnecessary increase in vehicle volume. Therefore, it goes to show that these HOV lanes are not for every vehicle out there. Otherwise, their purpose will just be defeated. 

There are specific hours in which these HOV lanes are not passable by vehicles that don’t meet the requirements. Explicitly, only vehicles that carry two or more persons can pass these lanes. If you are a motorcycle rider, you are free to use these lanes anytime you want.