RES2016-05: High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Detection System Testing

This study supports Tennessee Department of Transportation's (TDOT’s) evaluation of existing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes as travel-time incentives for promoting carpooling and reducing congestion. While the overall person-moving capacity of the HOV lanes may be slightly higher than the general-purpose lanes, the travel–time incentives for legitimate HOV lanes users have been severely diminished by violators in Tennessee. The first part of this study researched and conducted literature and product review on HOV lane occupancy detection technologies that could assist TDOT in managing Tennessee's HOV corridors while also providing insight through evaluation of performance strategies to address high violation rates. The review identified possible technologies which could be used for such detection and recommended acquiring and testing infrared (IR) technology from Xerox known as Xerox Vehicle Passenger Detection System (XVPD) for pilot testing for possible implementation in Tennessee in the future. The XVPDS has already been tested in California. However, TDOT chose to not move forward with pilot testing the XVPDS as part of this study. The second part of the project focused on evaluating (1) HOV lane utilization rates and (2) HOV occupancy violation rates, and (3) a stakeholder/public opinion survey on the current use and possible future expansion of HOV lane policy in the state. The HOV lane utilization and occupancy violation evaluations covered HOV segments in Davidson County, Williamson County, Wilson County and Rutherford County (i.e., the greater Nashville area), and Shelby County (Memphis area). Findings are expected to support TDOT operational goals on HOV systems improvement strategies. The final part of the study focused on conducting an online, public opinion survey about the HOV lanes in the Nashville area to explore options for improved management such as automated enforcement, conversion to high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, fees for violations, etc. The survey instrument was distributed across the state via email and social media. Over 750 responses were received with the majority of participants (75%) residing within a 50-mile radius of Nashville. The study found that the average HOV lanes utilization in Tennessee is 23% and the HOV lane violation rate is about 84%. Only 15% to 20% of vehicles using HOV lanes in Tennessee are those with 2+ occupancy as required by law; the remaining 80% to 85% are single occupancy vehicles (SOVs). Through individual commentaries, many voiced concerns on the ineffectiveness of the HOV lanes in the Nashville area, including but not limited to lack of enforcement. The vast majority (over 65%) of survey respondents never use the HOV lanes, and approximately 20% indicated that they utilize it 3-5 times per week as individuals or 2-person carpoolers. 56% reported knowing someone who has violated the HOV lane restrictions; 50.36% are in favor of keeping the HOV lanes in place, while 49.64% want to see them removed. 50.29% are in favor of automated enforcement, with 49.71% against it. A little over 50% expressed interest in HOT lanes, with a preferred rate for access being $1-$2/day.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $138427
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Managing Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Performing Organizations:

    Tennessee State University

    Nashville, TN  United States  37209
  • Principal Investigators:

    Chimba, Deo

  • Start Date: 20131215
  • Expected Completion Date: 20170831
  • Actual Completion Date: 20170831
  • USDOT Program: Transportation, Planning, Research, and Development

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01763103
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Tennessee Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: RES2016-05
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 2 2021 10:07AM