Friday, July 27, 2007

Driving solo? Don't rule out HOV lanes

The Metropolitan Transit Authority is proposing to convert its High Occupancy Vehicle lanes in Houston to High Occupancy-Toll lanes, where buses and carpools ride for free alongside toll-paying solo drivers. This means that single-occupant cars would be allow to use HOV lanes if they pay a toll. The whole point of HOV lanes are to encourage people to carpool, take the bus, conserve resources and to ease congestion on regular toll way. In theory, an HOV lane moves more people per lane at a higher speed while moving fewer vehicles. I believe the Texas Department of Transportation would be making a big mistake if they do decide to approve this proposal. Many people would be outraged with just the idea of having more cars on the road let alone allowing single-occupant cars on these HOV lanes. According to Carlos Lopez, TxDOT director of traffic operations, the proposal does not appear to be based on revenue expectations. However, many people would see it that is all about money. Since we are all in a financial crisis when it comes to transportations because of the increasing gas price and on top of that, toll rate. To single-occupant drivers, it might seem like a good idea for them to be able to get to where they want quicker with the HOV lanes, but they need to see the bigger picture. It will lead of congestion and other commuters who uses carpool or buses everyday would have to suffer along. Everyone wants to keep focusing on what's beneficial to them, and no one seems to care how much other people are going to have to pay.

For the complete article: Driving solo? Don't rule out HOV lanes

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Transportation Taking Its Toll on Texas Drivers

Which way do you take to get to and from work or school? Do you take the highways? Or the toll ways? Since the toll ways have been opened, thousands and thousands of people travel down those paths each day to avoid traffic and traffic lights. Many of those drivers have already own a TxTag, which pay their tolls electronically – without having to slow down or stop at a toll booth. Devices above the toll lanes read an electronic signal from the tag, and toll charges are automatically deducted from a prepaid toll account. This method saves drivers time and eliminates the hassle of searching for change and the wait time at toll booths. A good number of drivers still resort to the old-fashioned way of stopping at toll booths and paying by quarters. However, many drivers who use the TxTag lanes without having a TxTag are unaware of the fact that they will be billed for their toll way violations. In my opinion, the public should be made more aware about toll ways rules and violations. I believe that these toll ways are made not only to help drivers save time, but they are also made to put a toll on the drivers' pockets.

For the complete article: Tollway design generating rash of violations