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Research Reports

Weekend Freeway Performance and the Use of HOV Lanes on Weekends


Weekend traffic volumes in the Puget Sound region of Washington State are increasing, and public concern about congestion during non-commute periods has caused WSDOT to re-examine the current policy of restricting high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to transit vehicles and carpools 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. In many parts of the country, HOV lanes are open to general traffic during non-peak hours. Should WSDOT adopt this less restrictive lane use policy?

This report examines the tradeoffs that a change in weekend HOV lane usage would involve. The basic issues that are examined include the following:

  • What congestion relief benefits would result?
  • Would these changes have adverse impacts on HOV formation and/or HOV lane compliance rates?
  • Would the weekend use of HOV lanes by general purpose vehicles create safety concerns?
  • Would highway and transit operational problems be created?
  • What would be the monetary impacts of changing weekend HOV lane usage?

Supported by a variety of performance graphics and statistics, the report concludes that no improvement in mobility would be obtained by relaxing the current Puget Sound HOV lane operating restrictions to allow weekend use of the HOV lanes by general purpose traffic.

  • Date Published: May, 2000
  • Publication Number: WA-RD 588.1
  • Last Modified: May 15, 2007
  • Authors: Mark E. Hallenbeck, John M. Ishimaru, Jennifer Nee.
  • Originator: Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)
  • # of Pages: 44 p., 546 KB (PDF)
  • Subject: Compliance, Economic impacts, Freeways, High occupancy vehicle lanes, Impacts, Mobility, Policy, Traffic congestion, Traffic volume, Traffic safety, Weekends.
  • Keywords: HOV, HOV performance, freeway performance reporting, weekends, Puget Sound Region.
  • Related Publications: Potential Use of Puget Sound HOV Lanes by General Purpose Vehicles in Off-Peak Hours: A Summary Paper, (WA-RD 488.2).

This abstract was last modified April 29, 2008