Peter Rogoff, “CEO” of Sound Transit recently stated publicly his position that we should go to 3+ person carpools in all HOV lanes. (see video) I was there and recorded the comments on video and shared it with the press. Reporter Graham Johnson of KIRO 7 News picked up the story and will cover it on the 5 o’clock news tonight. If you aren’t by your TV, you can stream it here. You can see Graham’s additional report here on facebook. WSDOT spokesman Travis Phelps stated WSDOT’s opposition to 3+ in this Seattle Transit Blog article (where STB demonstrates their lack of understanding of effective trip reduction):
“Keeping the regular lanes moving — even if it’s at a snail’s pace — is still a priority, too, with lots of economy-driving business in the corridor. Not everyone can accommodate a second occupant, much less a third. Think also of the semi-truck driver moving freight, who is banned from the HOV lane regardless.
“We need to be looking at the system as a whole. … They’re all great customers. They move a ton of people,” said Travis Phelps, a WSDOT spokesman. “It’s a balance that we have to keep going.
In light of this, I revisit the article I posted on comparing 2 vs 3+ person carpools. Here is the original article. Read this for a full explanation of the comparison. In short, the best way to get someone out of their car is to put them in someone else’s car. And a 2-person carpool is the most efficient and practical way to do it. The moment you add a third person or more, the logistics of forming the carpool is orders of magnitude harder.
By all means, we want the HOV lanes to operate efficiently. (Later I will post an article about the truth for why they are failing and how to fix it.) Considering 85% – 90% of all carpools are 2 person carpools, pushing those vehicles into the general purpose lanes slow down everyone. This is especially expensive for the trucking industry, from the local deliveries to the long haul trucking which cost over $100/hr to operate. These trucks have no choice but to use the GPL. That includes the #405ETL.
Peter Rogoff claims 3+ is the normal elsewhere, but his reality is New York City where they have a population density of 50,000 people per square mile (PPSM) vs a small area of downtown Seattle that has only 7,000 PPSM and the majority of Puget Sound has a density of 1,500 PPSM. That is a difference of 50x. 3+ doesn’t reduce vehicles miles traveled more effectively than 2+.