The Utah Department of Transportation is pushing the idea of turning high occupancy carpool lanes along I-15 into HOT or “high-occupancy toll” lanes.
For a price – a toll, if you will – a lone motorist would buy permission to use the HOV or high occupancy vehicle lane, without having to carry additional passengers. In theory, it would ease congestion for everyone by more effectively utilizing freeway capacity.
While not yet endorsing the concept, KSL believes the HOT lane possibility is worth exploring. In fact, every idea for improving the state’s transportation system – and finding ways to pay for it – ought to be fully evaluated.
Here’s an additional idea for consideration.
Let the HOT lane become a tool for encouraging fuel conservation. Limit the HOT lane offer only to motorists who drive vehicles that meet a minimum fuel efficiency standard. In other words, vehicles that aren’t fuel efficient still would not be allowed to pay the toll or use the special lane without passengers onboard.
In addition to better utilizing existing freeway capacity, KSL believes the conservation approach would provide a meaningful incentive for Utah motorists to turn away from gas guzzlers in favor of vehicles that are more fuel efficient. It would also achieve the objectives put forth by HOT lane advocates.