The Impact of High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes on Commuters: Field Evidence

29 Pages Posted:

See all articles by Maxime Cohen

Maxime Cohen

Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

Avia Ratzon

Google/ Waze

Roy Sasson

Google/ Waze

Date Written: March 31, 2020

Abstract

Governments are actively investing to alleviate traffic congestion. Starting from the 1970s, a common policy has been to introduce high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, that is, traffic lanes exclusively reserved for vehicles with more than one occupant. Following the introduction of HOV lanes in several countries, their effectiveness has been the topic of heated debates. In this paper, we have a unique opportunity to empirically examine the impact of introducing HOV lanes on carpooling. In October 2019, the Israeli government has decided to introduce three HOV lanes. In this context, we have access to traffic and carpool data---from Waze (the free GPS navigation app owned by Google)---both before and after introducing the HOV lanes. We can thus rigorously quantify the impact of introducing an HOV lane on carpool intent and adoption. We also study refined questions around the effectiveness of different types of HOV lanes (2+ versus 3+), the impact at different times of the day, and the behavioral effect on commuters (e.g., strategically adapting commute times). Our study shows that the introduction of the HOV lanes led to a median time saving during rush hours of 5.7--15.7 minutes and increased the carpool rates by hundreds of percent for some routes. Interestingly, we find that the new HOV lanes have a global impact as they also raised the carpool rates for routes unaffected by the HOV lanes. This effect can be explained by the increased awareness of the public about the opportunity of carpooling.

Keywords: Carpooling, Public Policy, Natural Experiment, Reducing Commute Time

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Maxime and Ratzon, Avia and Sasson, Roy, The Impact of High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes on Commuters: Field Evidence (March 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Maxime Cohen (Contact Author)

Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

Avia Ratzon

Google/ Waze ( email )

Electra Tower 29th floor
Yigal Alon 98
Tel aviv, 6789141
Israel

Roy Sasson

Google/ Waze ( email )

Electra Tower 29th floor
Yigal Alon 98
Tel aviv, 6789141
Israel

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
11
Abstract Views
66
PlumX Metrics