NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Common Sense Solutions for America's Transportation Challenges

May 24, 2011

The Reason Foundation recently released a report that contains seven suggestions to help improve the nation's transportation system at taxpayer-friendly costs.

The suggestions include:

High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes: 

  • HOT lanes allow single-occupant drivers to access high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for a fee that is varied throughout the day to ensure that the lanes remain uncongested and move at a minimum speed.
  • The tolls collected fund maintenance of the highway corridor and, in many cases also pay for express bus service that would not have otherwise been possible in the congested lanes.
  • Meanwhile, drivers in the free non-HOT lanes experience reduced congestion and have the option to use the uncongested HOT lanes.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): 

  • BRT typically runs on separate rights-of-way or on congestion-free HOT or high-occupancy vehicle lanes and uses modern buses that allow for boarding at multiple doors.
  • Passengers usually gain access to the system through modern stations that collect fares in advance to increase efficiency and minimize time spent in the station.

Intelligent Transportation Systems: 

  • These are technology tools that allow a HOT lane user to pay their toll without ever slowing down or a BRT rider to pay a fare in advance.
  • They also help optimize coordination of traffic signals or deliver messages to signboards telling transit riders when the next vehicle will arrive.

Connectivity:  This is a concept of improving the connectivity of local roads to offer multiple routes, rather than forcing local traffic onto the interstates and other major highways.

Scenario Planning:  This allows citizens to realize that encouraging future growth and development near existing infrastructure would reduce future congestion by more than 50 percent, at half the cost of other growth scenarios.

Also recommended:

  • Intercity motor coach and bus services.
  • Telework/telecommuting.

Source: Shirley Ybarra, "The Most for Our Money: Taxpayer Friendly Solutions for the Nation's Transportation Challenges," Reason Foundation, May 17, 2011.

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