Greg Harper, Chair, District Board of Directors
Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)
939 Ellis St., San Francisco, CA 94109
May 15, 1999
Subject: The claim by BAAQMD that HOV lanes decrease air pollution is not only false, it will lead to further increases in pollution.
Dear Mr. Harper:
I am appalled by the BAAQMD statement that "Certain types of transportation programs contribute to cleaner air. ... such as ... providing freeway carpool lanes." [Draft San Francisco Bay Area Ozone Attainment Plan, dated March 29, 1999, page 22]. "Providing freeway carpool lanes" is a ruse for more freeway construction which has always increased VMT and pollution. In no case are regular lanes redesignated as HOV.
The enclosed letter to RIDES and the data cited on our web site gives ample proof that HOV lanes increase air pollution.
One fact never considered by HOV lane promoters is that the number
of solodrivers added to the roadway resulting from HOV lane
construction outnumber carpoolers by two to four times, according to
our research on three highways. Highway engineers' press releases
have deliberately omitted any mention of solodrivers in order to make
the increase in HOVs on the roadway appear to be solodrivers
switching to carpooling, instead of the "induced traffic" phenomenon
that actually occurred. I had to use raw vehicle counts to get the
truth. Details are at
BAAQMD needs to take steps to stop the fallacy that carpool lanes decrease air pollution. The claim is also outrageous because the purpose of this propaganda is to construct even more carpool lanes which further increase air pollution. Two hundred miles of HOV lanes are planned for construction under this false premise. If BAAQMD truly wants to decrease air pollution, it would oppose these additional carpool lanes.
For more information on HOV lanes please see Carpool lane
Ellen Garvey, Exec. Officer, BAAQMD
Chris Brittle, staff, MTC