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Media Relations Contact:
Morgan Lyons

March 8, 2002

More lanes, more mobility

HOV lanes growing in popularity

Expanding all across the Dallas area, DART's High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane system creates a moving panorama that touches the lives of thousands every day.

More than 300-million trips have been made in DART's HOV system since it debuted in 1991. "HOV lanes do more than help commuters beat traffic jams on our busiest freeways," says DART's Koorosh Olyai, assistant vice president of Mobility Programs Development. "They save money for HOV users and DART and even benefit the single-occupant drivers in the main lanes." HOV lanes work their time- and money-saving magic by requiring vehicles in the lane marked by a diamond or separated by a concrete barrier to have at least two occupants.

"Our ridership is growing by around 5 percent a year, and we predict more growth as long as Metroplex freeways are congested," says Olyai.

More than 300 DART buses, mostly driving express routes, use the HOVs every weekday. By avoiding traffic slowdowns, DART uses less fuel and fewer vehicles and as a result saves more than $1-million a year. Customers in DART's vanpool fleet also make hundreds of thousands of trips in the HOV lanes.

The big winners, though, are the HOV users who save a minute per mile or more versus congested regular lanes. Commuters sharing the ride in a five-mile-long HOV lane should be able to shave off five minutes of driving time compared to drivers in the adjacent freeway lane.

Travelers in the main lanes also benefit from DART's HOV network. The Texas Transportation Institute says average speeds on I-35E main lanes have increased from 24 to 44 mph since the opening of HOV service. On I-30, speeds are up from 22 to 30 mph on lanes adjacent to the HOV. On the congested I-635 LBJ Freeway, HOV lanes are credited with improving average speeds from 34 to 43 mph.

DART's first HOV lane was on East R. L. Thornton (I-30) Freeway between downtown Dallas and Dolphin Road and eventually Jim Miller Road. The lane is used by commuters driving downtown in the morning and is reversed in the afternoon to speed their trips home. DART has added three more HOV facilities to the system. They include lanes on I-635 LBJ Freeway between US 75 and I-35E, lanes on I-35E between I-635 LBJ Freeway and Trinity Mills Road, and lanes on I-35E and US 67 between downtown Dallas and I-20.

More HOV lanes are on the way. Preliminary engineering is underway for HOV lane development on I-35E between I-635 and Spur 408 and on SH 114 between SH 183 and SH 121. Other freeways slated for development include US 75 and I-635 LBJ Freeway.

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