The UK’s third High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane opened along the A47 Heartlands Spine Road today, hoping to ease some of the morning rush-hour congestion. The HOV lane is just like a bus lane, running along one side of the road, which is only supposed to be used by cars containing at least two people. Although the council webpage says that police will be enforcing the rule and issuing penalties to perpetrators, I can’t see this being very effective unless the fines are steep enough (no mention of the amount?).
I remember when I lived in Texas the HOV lane was a separate lane in the middle of the highway, with concrete walls on either side. Entrances / exits were only every 5 miles or so, so other drivers couldn’t just nip in-and-out as they pleased. On the whole I think it was very useful, although it did mean that if there was a big accident inside the lane then you were quite stuck until the mess could be cleared up.
Although I don’t think the A47 is quite as busy as, say, the A38, hopefully this trial will prove successful so they can roll it in other places. Anything that makes the commute quicker and easier is a good thing in my books!