June 19, 1999
Board of Supervisors, Santa Clara Co.
Subject: Measure B funds
Funding HOV lanes under the pretext that air quality would improve would do the opposite. HOV lanes would further deteriorate air quality by increasing solodriving and decreasing transit use. The Modern Transit Society requests that you do not allocate funds for HOV lanes while fully funding transit because:
1) HOV lanes increase solodriving by 200% to 400% as much as HOVs. The carpoolers move over to the new lane, which creates vacancy in the other lanes that is filled by solodrivers as a result of the now recognized "induced traffic" phenomenon.
2) HOV lanes increase air pollution because they are never created by redesignating existing lanes as HOV but by adding new lanes. Additional highway lanes always increase Vehicle-Miles-Traveled (VMT) and pollution.
3) Most new carpoolers were formerly transit patrons, not solodrivers. In a recent I-80 study, 33% of new carpool drivers and 74% of passengers were former transit patrons. That means more people switched from transit to driving by contructing the HOV lane.
4) 40% of existing carpoolers are from the same household (51% on Rt. 237), which defeats the purpose behind HOV lanes of giving preferential treatment to encourage a change from solodriving to carpooling.
These facts are detailed and supported on our web page (also enclosed) Carpool Lanes Exposed at moderntransit.org/hov/hov-facts.html
The Bay Area is a non-attainment region of the Clean Air Act. Let's not fund more freeway expansion when that always increases VMT and air pollution. And the same congestion will return in as little as two years as a result of the "induced traffic" phenomenon, so money spent on freeways will be wasted.
MTS believes in permanently decreasing or even eliminating traffic congestion in a way that benefits all transportation modes, including the auto user. To accomplish this goal, MTS has written Solution for traffic congestion, enclosed.
enclosures: Carpool Lanes Exposed, Solution for traffic congestion