Saturday, 15 January 2011

How I learned to stop worrying and love the HOV lane violators

I'm always inclined to feel moral outrage towards people illegitimately using the high occupancy vehicle (HOV)/car pool lanes on the freeway, i.e., those failing to have 2 or 3 occupants in their car (or failing to drive a Prius or motorcycle or other local variants, etc).   But,  if they use the HOV lanes when overall traffic is heavy while HOV lane traffic is light, they're decreasing the traffic load in the non-HOV lanes while also not impeding traffic flow in the HOV lane(s).  So, they're doing the non-HOV traffic a favour while failing to hurt the car poolers.   Of course, the natural concern is that the system would fail if everyone were to behave as they were behaving.  Indeed it would; but if the system is enforced with fines, our anger and disdain is not required to function as the disincentive to using HOV lanes -- the fines can stand in and probably accomplish it more effectively.  Insofar as the fines succeed in keeping the number of HOV violators low, we actually owe those violators gratitude.  They're improving overall traffic flow at no cost to us.  So, cheerio, Escalade driver cruising alone in the HOV lane at 5  pm, I apologize for that obscene gesture I made yesterday.

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