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Associated Press

It's likely that single drivers in nearly every big city in the world have at one time looked enviously at HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes that allow cars with multiple drivers to zip past them during rush hour. But what happens to traffic congestion and travel times if you just abolish them? If the experience in Jakarta, Indonesia, is an indication, it's a huge mess, a new study finds.

Jakarta was, until recently, one of the most extreme examples of restrictive HOV policies anywhere in the world – made even more prominent by the fact that the city supports an immense population of 30 million. When Jakarta abruptly cancelled their HOV lanes that required three drivers per car, researchers were able to immediately see the aftermath. It wasn't pretty.

What they found: Ending the HOV advantages on major streets in Jakarta put so many additional cars on the road that it increased travel times for everyone by 87% during the evening rush hour, and by 46% during morning rush hour.

"Remarkably, lifting the HOV policy not only caused dramatic increases in travel time along the previously designated HOV roads, but along the parallel roads as well," the Harvard and MIT researchers wrote in Science.

What it means: If HOV lanes were dropped in cities like New York, Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro – where the commute times are already incredibly long - it could double the evening commute from an hour and a half to three hours.

Go deeper

16 mins ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Rising rates may hammer the stock market

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Stocks are much more vulnerable to interest rate swings than they used to be.

Why it matters: A sharp rise in rates in early 2022 is the key reason the stock market is off to an ugly start. And with the Federal Reserve making noise about trying to keep inflation in check, rates could go higher.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal complicates Big Tech regulation

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Microsoft's surprise $68 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard is adding a fresh twist to the heated debate over which tech companies have monopolies that need to be reined in.

The big picture: The deal could force a question the company has happily ducked for a decade: whether its size and power make it just as deserving of regulatory scrutiny as its Big Tech rivals.