Carpool lanes do not alleviate traffic. They encourage folks to either a) ignore the ‘carpool-only’ signs, or b) get pissed-off at other drivers ignoring the signs.
I’ve been in California for a few days on a working vacation, and the carpool-only lanes are stupid. Because I’ve been driving by myself to work, I do not have 2 or more people in my car, and therefore am not supposed to be in said lanes, unless it’s *not* between certain hours, which are, of course, exactly when I’m on the road.
There is a similar phenomenon in Virginia where they have dedicated HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes open northbound for part of the day, southbound for another part, and closed the rest of the time. To use those, you must have at least 3 people in your vehicle (unless you’re in a motorcycle or vehicle that can only hold two people, in which case the 1 or 2 (respectively) is OK. So, for those of us who don’t typically travel with more than ourselves or maybe one other person, those spare lanes are useless.
That’s right: even when traffic gets slowed down, those lanes are [mostly] barely used. So, instead of actually alleviating traffic, they end up making the drivers stuck ‘where they belong’ pissed-off at those lucky jerks who can use those spare lanes.
If Virginia were smart, they’d open up those spare lanes to everybody, with the caveat being that there are fewer exits from those extra lanes, so if you are a ‘local’ driver, you should stay out, but if you’re a ‘through’ driver, go ahead and use them.
And out here between San Francisco and Sunnyvale on the 101: drop the signs. Having one lane utilized at <15% while the others are stopped or barely moving is stupid.
All that extra lane has done is make traffic worse.