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Reason Foundation

Canít we all just get along?

Ted Balaker
September 27, 2005, 10:03am

Transportation funding often pits transit users against motorists. Naturally, each group wants more dough to build something–anything–that will help them avoid traffic congestion, which is increasing almost everywhere. What to do? In a new Reason study, Bob Poole and I suggest Virtual Exclusive Busways. Here's Bob: We argue that VEB is a much better use of roadway space than carpool lanes. Even though agencies have built more and more carpool lanes, carpool commuting has actually been declining for over 20 years. Carpooling doesn't peak during the morning and afternoon rush when it would do the most to reduce congestion. Rather it's most common during the evenings and on weekends. And these days, carpooling often fails to take cars off the road. Most carpooling is now "fampooling," so people who would be traveling together anyway are filling up carpool lanes. The VEB concept offers something for everyone. Transit users get better service, motorists get an escape route from congestion, local governments get a new source of revenue, and even carpoolers get something. After all, with tolling there's still an incentive to carpool because, for example, commuters can share the cost of the toll. Press release for Virtual Exclusive Busways: Improving Urban Transit while Relieving Congestion is here. Study summary here. Full study here.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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