acroyear: (bite me)
[personal profile] acroyear
As I thought...Virginia HOT Lanes:
How will I pay the tolls?
The HOT lanes will be fully electronic toll lanes. Customers will pay tolls with E-ZPass - eliminating the need to stop or slow down for traditional toll booths.
Virginia HOT Lanes:
Will carpoolers be required to have an E-ZPass?
Carpoolers (HOV-3+) will have free access to HOT lanes. In order to keep violators out of the lanes it is anticipated that carpoolers will be required to carry some type of transponder or other technology that identifies them as HOV-3 for free access to the HOT lanes. This device will have to be compatible with E-ZPass and meet all applicable state and federal requirements.

Detailed plans and processes for obtaining any required transponder will be communicated to all users of the HOT lanes prior to the lanes opening.
So, either the carpooler tag will be free, OR the carpooler tag effectively becomes the minimum price tag.

There is NOTHING that can stop them from issuing the carpool tag to cars that eventually will drive those lanes without 3 in the vehicle.  There is, if no human is looking at it, no way to enforce it.  There is nothing a cop on the side of the road can do to know whether or not a car with less than 3 in it paid to get in or not, without random stopping, and the random stops will, of course, stop traffic dead AND DEFEAT THE WHOLE "FREE-FLOWING PURPOSE".

This is an UTTER FAILURE of reasonable thinking.  It assumes that people behave the same way every day, and that is not the case.  Some days they might have carpoolers/slugs, other days they won't, but there is nothing to enforce them to change tags between regular and hov, meaning they'll pay when they shouldn't or dodge it when they could and EVERYBODY is going to bid for the Carpool tags.  If the carpool tags have an expensive price tag, well that either is just a massive scale pay-in-advance for use of the lanes (so what's the damn point?) and further enforces the idea that they're just "Lexus lanes".  If the carpool tags are free, then anybody with a brain will get one and use it even if they don't and there's NOTHING THE LAW CAN DO TO STOP IT because the design of this is inherently flawed.

HOV is a wonderful, but ultimately flawed idea.  It is premised on the idea of honesty (practically non-existent in a commuter) because enforcement ultimately causes traffic to stop (ask anybody on 95 or Dulles Toll Road in the morning) and so is usually very inconsistent.  In evening commutes in the winter time when it is dark before 530, HOV enforcement becomes utterly impossible, so for lanes where enforcement is meant to be 24-7 (50 in MD?), it is impossible to enforce; cops will only catch violators 1) when they care to (and at 1130 at night aren't there more important things to do?) or 2) when there's another reason for stopping the vehicle (in which case, the HOV violation is often dropped because of the more important issue).

This design requires the honest person to honestly switch his tags (assuming (s)he gets both) between paying and riding for free.  It also requires that one switch the tags in such a way so that the detector doesn't pick up the wrong one lest they pay when they shouldn't (or dodge when they shouldn't).  Knowledge of HOV violation rates (just drive inbound 66 in the morning) shows that dishonesty is rampant in the morning commuter.  If you really think drivers won't use that loophole to avoid paying, you're just being stupid.

Nothing in these FAQs actually addresses these questions of enforcement.  They can't and never will, because the HOT design itself is inherently flawed.

Date: 2009-02-23 02:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Maybe they will be using cameras to try to enforce it? If everyone is required to have a transponder to get on, it wouldn't be difficult to identify an account.

I admit, this is the first that I've heard that HOV-3 was going to be exempt from the price of the HOT lanes, but it does look like it is common from other HOT lanes that I've looked up. Maybe they have some lessons learned that we don't know about yet.

In California

Date: 2009-02-23 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here in the OC going out to Riverside county, there are toll lanes that, at a certain point, are wide enough for three lanes. One is the HOV-3 lane. They pass under a scaffolding. All have transponder readers and cameras taking pictures. The FastTrack transponder in the vehicle is the same. Just by virtue of which lane you pass through it "knows" what to charge, if anything. And, the cameras, supposedly, keep you honest. I also would assume they send your transponder account a charge if you go through the HOV-3 lane without at least three persons.

Whether or not this would work where you are describing, I don't know. These lanes were built with this system in place.


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