If you're like many California motorists, you probably looked on with envy or perhaps some stronger emotion when those single-occupant hybrids zipped by in the carpool lane. Others who had gone to the trouble of coordinating schedules and establishing real carpool relationships probably weren't too happy with their solitary HOV-lane brethren either.
Surely, fairness was restored over the summer when the interlopers lost their carpool-lane rights; the real carpoolers have seen their speeds increase, right? Wrong.
A UC Berkeley study released Monday says banishing those lone hybrid drivers from carpool lanes has made traffic slower for everyone. As an example, they cited a four-mile stretch of carpool lane on Interstate 880 in Hayward, which has seen a 15% reduction in speed since July 1, when single-occupant hybrids were expelled.
Researchers at UC Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies said they used traffic-flow theories and six months of data from roadway sensors measuring speed and congestion along all freeway carpool lanes in the San Francisco Bay Area to reach their conclusions.