Eli5 How are carpool lanes supposed to help traffic? It seems like having another lane open to everyone would make things better?


I live in Los Angeles, and we have some of the worst traffic in the country. I’ve seen that one reason for carpool lanes is to help traffic congestion, but I don’t understand since it seems traffic could be a lot better if we could all use every lane.

Why do we still use carpool lanes? Wouldn’t it drastically help our traffic to open all lanes?

In: 406

It’s an incentive for multiple people to be in just one car rather than several cars on the road. So, that would lower congestion. It also saves the environment by having less cars on the road producing emissions. Whether or not it truly makes an impact is beyond me. But that’s the idea at least.

The idea is to get less “drivers” off the road. Well, the challenge is the qualifying factor for 2+ people does not specify an age. So in many cases, the amount of drivers stay the same.

On a side note, it has been proven over and over that more lanes on a freeway does not alleviate traffic.

>but I don’t understand since it seems traffic could be a lot better if we could all use every lane.

Traffic is better if there’s fewer cars on the road.

Carpooling means you can have as little as 1/5 as many cars on the road while transporting the same number of people. Having lanes specifically for that helps to incentivize people actually doing that.

That said, all the literature I’ve read indicates that carpool lanes don’t actually work that well. The solution to traffic getting people out of cars. Which is done by building walkable and bikeable cities and having a robust public transportation system. More lanes doesn’t actually help, mostly because of something called “induced demand”

Just add more pavement is terrible for the environment. Bigger isn’t always better, eventually you gotta build upward but even that has limits. Ideally you would have a system that collected an efficient amount of people and dropped them off at the location they need instead of each individual relying upon themselves. We can come together and join hands and ride a bus, train, car pools, trams, trolleys where one vehicle would remove many individual needs of a car and all the money need to maintain the car plus emergency money for repairs or accident where keys get locked inside….

Sadly many areas would need some smart people to come up with a logistics to solve it. Who has time for that?

I lived in SD for a year, all the lanes in the world won’t help you drivers.

More lanes don’t relieve congestion. Study shows it actually makes it worse. More lanes means more people take that road, condensing all the traffic that would normally be dispersed.