Jul 6, 2017

What happens when a city ends HOV lanes

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

The race to catch Nike's Vaporfly shoe before the 2020 Olympics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Four months ago, on the very same weekend, Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to run a marathon in under two hours, and fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei shattered the women's marathon record.

Why it matters: Kipchoge and Kosgei were both wearing Nike's controversial Vaporfly sneakers, which many believed would be banned because of the performance boost provided by a carbon-fiber plate in the midsole that acted as a spring and saved the runner energy.

Go deeperArrow26 mins ago - Sports

Reassessing the global impact of the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economists are rethinking projections about the broader economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak after a surge of diagnoses and deaths outside Asia and an announcement from a top CDC official that Americans should be prepared for the virus to spread here.

What's happening: The coronavirus quickly went from an also-ran concern to the most talked-about issue at the National Association for Business Economics policy conference in Washington, D.C.

Tech can't remember what to do in a down market

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Wall Street's two-day-old coronavirus crash is a wakeup alarm for Silicon Valley.

The big picture: Tech has been booming for so long the industry barely remembers what a down market feels like — and most companies are ill-prepared for one.