Evaluating Alternative Design of Geometric Configuration for High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Facilities in California

A recent study by the University of California, Riverside, has revealed that: a) limited access High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) facilities are good at regulating traffic flows, which results in higher freeway throughput; while b) continuous access HOV facilities have potential to spread out lane changes, which allows traffic to maintain higher travel speed. Therefore, it is desirable to explore alternative designs of geometric configuration for HOV facilities that combine advantages of the two existing configurations in order to further improve the performance of HOV facilities in the state. One such alternative design is called “partially limited access” configuration where continuous access is generally provided along a freeway to achieve higher travel speed while buffers are strategically placed on selected freeway segments (e.g., bottlenecks, ramp merges) to accommodate higher throughput on those segments. Thus, there is a need to evaluate the operational performance of HOV facilities with the partially limited access configuration relative to those with the existing configurations.