Car-pool lanes evaluated for Charleston

Image by flickr user dherrera_96Image by 20080721_hov_lane.jpg HOV lanes are great in theory, but they're questioned for not offering enough incentive to change people carpooling habits.

Perhaps in response to all the flap about road widening and commuter rail, the state is looking into high-occupancy-vehicle lanes for Interstate 26 in Charleston.

HOV lane sign
An HOV lane in Charleston would be the first in the state.Use of the lane traditionally requires that at least two or three people be in a car In theory, the HOV lanes encourage people to carpool as they'll have access to a less-congested, faster-moving lane of traffic.

The systems have been criticized for a number of reasons, not least of which is saying the incentive isn't great enough to encourage carpooling, but with higher gas prices and a shortage of parking from a likely increase in density on the Peninsula, there may be other incentives to carpool underway.

The lanes would also benefit buses transit times, and could be a potential boon to CARTA's recently growing ridership.

Estimates put the cost a $4 million to study and implement the HOV lanes, which S.C. Department of Transportation officials are hopping the federal government will fund with enough money leftover to establish park-and-ride lots.

In two weeks things are set to get fun on I-26 as the $66 million widening work begins.

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