The Impact of High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes on Carpooling

34 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020 Last revised: 15 Jul 2022

See all articles by Maxime C. Cohen

Maxime C. Cohen

Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

Alex Jacquillat

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Avia Ratzon

Google/ Waze

Roy Sasson

Google/ Waze

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 31, 2020

Abstract

Since the 1970s, high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes have been a common policy instrument to mitigate traffic congestion. Yet, their effectiveness remains a controversial topic among researchers, policy makers, and the public. In this debate, a key unknown has been the impact of HOV lanes on commuters' carpooling behaviors. This paper brings a new piece of evidence by offering a data-driven assessment of carpooling intent and adoption, using revealed-preferences data. We partner with Waze, a major carpooling platform, and leverage a natural experiment following the introduction of three HOV lanes in Israel in 2019. Using tailored treatment and control groups coupled with econometric analyses, we derive four main findings. First, HOV lanes bring new users to the carpooling platform, which contributes to alleviating the "cold-start" problem in the marketplace. Second, HOV lanes have a positive impact on carpool intent: the number of carpool offers sent by drivers increase manifold following the introduction of the HOV lanes. Third, HOV lanes have a disparate impact on carpool adoption: carpools increase significantly for two out of three HOV lanes. This result underscores the critical impact of HOV lanes design: it seems more beneficial to have round-trip HOV lanes (as opposed to one-way lanes) and two-passenger occupancy requirements (as opposed to three-passenger requirements). Last, HOV lanes have a broader impact, by increasing carpooling on non-HOV routes and shifting the travel behaviors of non-carpoolers. We conclude by discussing policy implications, highlighting collaboration opportunities between policy makers and digital carpooling platforms to enhance the design and operations of HOV lanes.

Keywords: HOV lane, carpooling, public policy, natural experiment

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Maxime C. and Jacquillat, Alexandre and Ratzon, Avia and Sasson, Roy, The Impact of High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes on Carpooling (March 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3565117 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3565117

Maxime C. Cohen

Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University ( email )

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

Alexandre Jacquillat

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Avia Ratzon

Google/ Waze ( email )

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

Roy Sasson (Contact Author)

Google/ Waze ( email )

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

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