Let’s get rid of carpool lanes. As far as I can tell, they are completely counterproductive. Carpool lanes were created to give people an incentive to band together so that there wouldn’t be so many lone cars on the freeways guzzling fossil fuel. The theory was that people stuck in heavy traffic would look longingly at the cars whizzing by in the carpool lane and would go home and instantly form a carpool. As far as I can tell, that hasn’t happened.
People carpool for convenience, they carpool to save money, and they carpool for social reasons. They do not carpool for the ten minutes they save on that five mile stretch of freeway. In other words, as far as I can tell (and my evidence is purely anecdotal, I admit), carpool lanes have utterly failed as a serious incentive.
But carpool lanes fail in an even more serious way: they create major traffic jams. When a four lane free is squeezed down to three lanes, or a three lane squeezed down to two, that 25% or 30% diminution in available freeway space causes the endless backups and stop-and-go traffic that are the bane of most driver’s existence. Further, it’s the stop-and-go traffic that has the worst polluting effect on the freeways.
So take a few minutes to contact your state department of transportation and let someone there know that you think it’s high time those ubiquitous and failed carpool lanes become a thing of the past.