For additional information on the high-occupancy vehicle lanes along US-75
- What are the HOV Lanes and where are they located?
- What is the purpose of the HOV Lanes?
- What are the positive aspects of the HOV Lane system?
- Who is responsible for the US-75 HOV Lanes?
- How has the City of Richardson been involved in planning for the HOV Lanes?
- Why is there no HOV Lane entrance or exit in Richardson?
- How many passengers must be in the vehicle to use the US-75 HOV Lanes?
- How do I find another person to carpool with so that I can use the HOV lanes on my daily commute?
- Which vehicles are eligible to use the HOV Lanes?
- Which vehicles are prohibited on the HOV Lanes?
- Who will enforce the occupancy and vehicle restrictions for HOV usage?
- Who is responsible for operating and maintaining the HOV Lanes?
- Are other options for HOV Lanes or alternative traffic relief measures being considered for the future?
The US-75 HOV facility consists of two single, concurrent-flow lanes (one lane in each direction operating at all times). The HOV facility is approximately 14 miles in length from I-635 (LBJ) north to Bethany Road in the City of Allen. It connects to the HOV facility on LBJ west of US-75 using a single lane reversible ramp. The US-75 HOV facility has an entrance and exit point at each end and one intermediate access point near Park Boulevard in Plano. The limits of the US-75 HOV Lanes and access points are shown in the map above. Information and maps of the other HOV lanes in the region are available on DART’s website by clicking on this link: http://www.dart.org/maps/hov.asp
The objective of the HOV Lanes is to improve travel times and air quality by providing a free-flowing lane for transit and other high-occupancy vehicles. The intent is to encourage motorists currently driving separate single-occupancy vehicles to use transit or consolidate into carpools and/or vanpools, thereby reducing the total number of vehicles on the roadway. Reducing the number of vehicles will reduce congestion, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions.Back to Top
The HOV Lane system is estimated to provide at least a 15% decrease in the volume of traffic on US-75, providing more traffic capacity on the main lanes. As more vanpools and carpools are formed to utilize the HOV system, higher numbers of single-occupancy vehicles will be removed from the main lanes. Drivers should feel some immediate relief from congestion in the main lanes, although that relief may be short-lived as overall traffic growth continues throughout the region. The DFW area is expected to grow from approximately 6 million residents to over 9 million residents over the next 30 years.
TxDOT was ultimately responsible for the design and construction of the HOV lanes on US-75 as part of a regional transportation system. DART has the formal responsibility for operating the HOV Lanes as an element of their mass transit planning function, and coordinates this responsibility with TxDOT because the lanes lie within State’s highway right-of-way.
The City of Richardson strongly supported and lobbied for the addition of HOV Lanes on US-75 for many years. In fact, Richardson was a leader in the region in the pursuit of HOV Lanes. The City was instrumental in evaluating numerous alternatives along the corridor and even sponsored a project which included the initial evaluation and development of preliminary design concepts for the two-way concurrent flow system that is now in operation.
For over a decade, TxDOT and DART favored a reversible HOV Lane alternative which would have separated high-occupancy vehicles from other traffic using concrete barriers. The reversible lane would have been open to southbound traffic for a few hours in the morning and to northbound traffic for a few hours in the late afternoon/early evening. The City of Richardson, under the strong leadership of the Mayor, City Council and City management, continued to support a two-way concurrent flow operation because the traffic congestion on US-75 in Richardson is heavy in both directions throughout the day. The City firmly believed a system needed to be developed which would be open in both directions at all times.
After further study and negotiations, TxDOT and DART accepted the concurrent flow alternative and started design on the segment within US-75 north of LBJ. It wasn't until 2005 that TxDOT's design was finalized to include only one centralized access location. This central access point is located between Park Boulevard and 15th Street in Plano and provides southbound HOV motorists access to President George Bush Turnpike. TxDOT eliminated the proposed access point in Richardson due to safety and operating concerns involving HOV traffic and main lane traffic. The analyses conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) indicated that the demand for the HOV Lane system would be so great that its performance would significantly degrade and accidents would increase if an additional access point were provided.
The City requested that an additional access point be considered in Richardson and suggested that if performance problems and safety issues materialized, TxDOT could evaluate a closure of the access. TxDOT, however, insisted that for the safety and reliability of the region’s highway system, additional access points would not be considered until after the HOV Lane had been open for a period of time and operating history could be gathered and further studied. The City of Richardson has advised TxDOT of its intent to appeal this decision after the lanes are open and an adequate amount of operating history has been collected for study. TxDOT has agreed in principle to evaluate the situation and will carefully consider both traffic safety and overall operations. The City will be required to demonstrate that an additional access point can be installed in a safe and effective manner without impacting the efficiency or safety of either the HOV Lanes or the main lanes.
Initially, the minimum occupancy of each vehicle is set at 2 persons. As mentioned above the objective of the system is to improve air quality so the intent of the HOV lane system is to encourage motorists currently driving separate single-occupancy vehicles to use transit or consolidate into carpools and/or vanpools. In the future, TxDOT and DART anticipate that the demand on the region’s HOV system may necessitate changing to a minimum of 3 occupants per vehicle.
DART’s website has a carpool/vanpool page that is intended to help commuters find carpool partners. DART’s vanpool program helps fund the cost of a vanpool and provides a rideshare van for the use of the vanpool participants. For more information on carpooling or vanpooling, call DART at 214-747-RIDE (7433) or click on this link to the DART website: http://www.dart.org/about/rideshare.asp
The following vehicles are eligible to use the HOV Lanes:
- DART vehicles including buses, vans, and sedans
- Commuter buses operating under contract with DART to provide transit services
- All other buses with a minimum occupancy of two persons
- Passenger cars, pickup trucks, or vans carrying at least two persons
- Law enforcement and emergency response vehicles
- DART and TxDOT HOV Lane operations and maintenance vehicles
- Motorcycles (including single-occupant motorcycles)
For reasons of safety and operations, the following are prohibited on HOV Lanes:
- Trucks with more than two axles or a gross weight capacity of five tons or more
- Vehicles towing trailers
- Funeral processions
- Non-motorized vehicles
- Passenger cars, pickup trucks or vans not carrying a minimum of two persons
DART has the formal responsibility for operating the HOV Lanes as an element of their mass transit planning function, and coordinates with TxDOT since the lanes lie within State highway right-of-way. DART’s Transit Police are fully certified peace officers in the state of Texas and have the primary responsibility for enforcing HOV lane occupancy violations; however, all municipal police officers and the Texas Highway Patrol can also issue citations for occupancy violations. DART Police can also issue citations for other traffic violations.
The responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the HOV lanes lies with DART and its designated Project Engineer and HOV Lane Supervisor. DART transit police and a DART HOV operations crew vehicle will patrol the HOV lanes and will assist motorists with stalled vehicles. They will also assist the local Police and Fire Departments with incident management in the event of crashes or other incidents that block the HOV lane.
Are other options for HOV Lanes or alternative traffic relief measures being considered for the future?
At some point in the near future DART, TxDOT and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) all predict that the entire region will have to convert its HOV Lanes to a minimum occupancy of three persons per vehicle. Several HOV Lanes (IH-30 East and IH-35 South) are already at capacity with the 2+ occupancy. Going to a 3+ occupancy requirement may thin the total HOV Lane volume down enough to allow a Richardson access point by encouraging carpools and vanpools and thereby reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the main lanes.
Ultimately, transportation planners in the region are also considering Managed Lanes, where excess capacity in a 3+ HOV system could be sold to Toll Tag users in 2+ occupancy vehicles at a price; however, the toll price for the Managed HOV Lanes would have to be high enough to encourage people to form 3+ carpools to avoid the charge. TxDOT, DART and the NCTCOG are working together on several other HOV and Managed Lane projects in the region.