Monitoring for High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes
MassDOT Planning maintains statistical information on the usage and performance of MassDOT’s high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, as part of compliance with existing HOV state regulations, as well as for responding to related inquiries from commuters, consultants, MassDOT divisions, and other agencies.
MassDOT operates two HOV facilities:
- The I-93 “North” HOV lane extends 1.6 miles from a point south of Mystic Avenue in Somerville to the Leonard Zakim Bridge near the entrance to the Thomas O’Neill Tunnel (the “North” refers to the corridor north of downtown Boston, not the direction of travel). The lane is open to HOV traffic – in the southbound direction only – between 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM, Monday through Friday. Carpools, vanpools, buses, motorcycles, and taxis with two or more occupants are eligible to use the HOV lane. Typically, users of the lane save between one and five minutes compared to traveling the same distance in the general purpose lanes.
- The Southeast Expressway HOV lane on I-93 extends 5.4 miles from a point near Furnace Brook Parkway in Quincy (about 1/4 mile north of the I-93/Route 3 merge – the Braintree Split) to a point near Freeport Street in Dorchester. This is a “contra-flow” lane formed with moveable barriers that are set up each weekday before the morning and evening rush hours. The contra- flow operation converts an off-peak general-purpose lane to a peak-direction HOV lane. The HOV lane is open to northbound traffic between 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM, and to southbound traffic between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Carpools, vanpools, buses, motorcycles, and taxis with two or more occupants are eligible to use the HOV lane. Users of the lane typically save between five and ten minutes. Usage of the lane is typically at or above capacity (about 1,500 vehicles/hour).
As part of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project mitigation, the former Massachusetts Highway Department was required, as part of 310 CMR 7.37, to examine the extension of the existing I-93 “North” southbound HOV lane to its northernmost point and also the feasibility of constructing an HOV Lane on I-93 south of downtown Boston (Southeast Expressway). The extension of the I-93 “North” HOV lane was completed in 1994 and the Southeast Expressway HOV Lane opened in November 1995. The regulations include a requirement to report on the performance of the lanes in terms of travel-times and Level of Service (LOS). The lanes are required to provide a minute per mile travel-time savings versus adjacent general-purpose lanes, and also operate at a LOS of C or better.
As part of the regulatory compliance, MassDOT Planning submits reports to MassDEP that includes performance monitoring information such as travel-time runs and occupancy counts. A daily vehicle count spreadsheet for the Southeast Expressway HOV lane is also maintained.
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