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Thread: Turning Highway 401 Express Lanes into HOV lanes?

  1. #1

    Default Turning Highway 401 Express Lanes into HOV lanes?

    I recently watched this video of Interstate 10 (the Katy Freeway) in Texas when a idea came to me.



    In the video, a large section of the highway has two HOV lanes on the inside physically separated from the main lanes. There is no concrete tall wall, but it certainly is much more than the stripped buzzer zones you find along Highways 403 and 404.

    I was thinking what if the express lanes on Highway 401 followed a similar system? The express lanes would then become HOV lanes while the outer (collector) lanes would be for general traffic. Since the 401 gets a lot of truck traffic, I think trucks should still be allowed to use the inner lanes.

    This means everything but cars with one person can use the Highway 401 express/HOV lanes. This could increase the highway's carrying capacity* as it can normally get backed up despite it's width, even outside of rush hours or when there isn't a traffic accident.

    Just like the HOV lanes on the 403 and 404, traffic using the inner lanes would have to use the transfers well beforehand to have enough room to weave through traffic in the outer lanes to access interchanges. The overall effectiveness of the HOV system would then be judged on how efficiently cars can navigate their way from on-ramps to the HOV lanes and then back to access the off-ramps.

    Just thinking out loud here. Do you think it's an interesting idea?

    *By carrying capacity, I am not referring to cars, but people.
    Last edited by Haljackey; 2010-Sep-21 at 16:02. Reason: embedded video


  2. #2

    Default

    So anyone traveling through the GTA on the 401 would have to move into the jam packed collectors lane to simply pass through the city?

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Haljackey View Post
    I recently watched this video of Interstate 10 (the Katy Freeway) in Texas when a idea came to me.

    In the video, a large section of the highway has two HOV lanes on the inside physically separated from the main lanes. There is no concrete tall wall, but it certainly is much more than the stripped buzzer zones you find along Highways 403 and 404.

    I was thinking what if the express lanes on Highway 401 followed a similar system? The express lanes would then become HOV lanes while the outer (collector) lanes would be for general traffic. Since the 401 gets a lot of truck traffic, I think trucks should still be allowed to use the inner lanes.

    This means everything but cars with one person can use the Highway 401 express/HOV lanes. This could increase the highway's carrying capacity* as it can normally get backed up despite it's width, even outside of rush hours or when there isn't a traffic accident.

    Just like the HOV lanes on the 403 and 404, traffic using the inner lanes would have to use the transfers well beforehand to have enough room to weave through traffic in the outer lanes to access interchanges. The overall effectiveness of the HOV system would then be judged on how efficiently cars can navigate their way from on-ramps to the HOV lanes and then back to access the off-ramps.

    Just thinking out loud here. Do you think it's an interesting idea?

    *By carrying capacity, I am not referring to cars, but people.
    I think only having 1 or 2 HOV lanes on the inner portion of the express would be sufficient, and no trucks allowed. Most trucks wouldn't even qualify for HOV anyway, because there's only 1 person in the vehicle. I do like the idea though, and most of the key interchanges (DVP, Allen, 427, etc) have exits from both the collectors and the express lanes. It would certainly benefit the 'family on vacation only wanting to travel through Toronto quickly' types.
    Currently looking for a Junior Urban Planner position in the GTA. Please message me if you know any firms or individuals who may be interested!

  4. #4

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    this is a great idea... I find it hard to believe that a city as big and busy as Toronto doesn't have this on more major. None of the candidates even talked about anything like this (that I recall)

  5. #5

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    One problem with this is how the lanes are setup. The collectors act as an extended off-ramp for the express. To drive an extended distance in the collectors, you must constantly be changing lanes since the left lanes become the right lanes and the right lanes exit. This compared to the express where as long as you are in the left 3 lanes, you can drive as long as you need to without worrying that your lane will exit or end with little warning.

    I would say the biggest problem is how the signage is setup, giving drivers dangerously little room to merge from the express to their exit. For example, if you are in the eastbound express lanes and take the exit to Leslie St via the collectors, you have only 700 meters to cross 3 lanes of traffic to the right to get to the exit. At the same time, the collector's right through lane turns into an exit lane with little to no warning, so you have this traffic merging left at the same time. This not only increases congestion, but is dangerous and creates accidents along this and stretches on almost a daily basis. This could easily be fixed by informing drivers in the express to exit one transfer early to get to Leslie or similar exits.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by MileHigh View Post
    this is a great idea... I find it hard to believe that a city as big and busy as Toronto doesn't have this on more major. None of the candidates even talked about anything like this (that I recall)
    Probably becuase the province owns the 401, not the city.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Electrify View Post
    One problem with this is how the lanes are setup. The collectors act as an extended off-ramp for the express. To drive an extended distance in the collectors, you must constantly be changing lanes since the left lanes become the right lanes and the right lanes exit. This compared to the express where as long as you are in the left 3 lanes, you can drive as long as you need to without worrying that your lane will exit or end with little warning.
    Well that means some reconstruction on the collector lanes is needed so more lanes continue as through lanes. Like the express, there should be 3 through lanes in the collectors at all times, and a 4th when there are transfers to express.

    One sport where the HOV system wouldn't work is between the 403/410 and 427 as the collectors serve as ramps to/from the 427 and don't continue. Still, one or two lanes of the 401 express could be HOV, potentially hooking up with the HOV lane system on the 403 and eventually the one on the 410.

  8. Default

    great idea, i'm not sure but wasn't it suggested once to replace the most inner lanes, 1 westbound, 1 eastbound with rail?, Toss this into the mix with 2 HOV lanes and a rail line in the express then you've got something unique

  9. #9

    Default

    "Turning Highway 401 Express Lanes into HOV lanes?"

    NO

    I could explain but it really should be self evident why this is a bad idea

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cfloryan View Post
    "Turning Highway 401 Express Lanes into HOV lanes?"

    NO

    I could explain but it really should be self evident why this is a bad idea
    All of them, perhaps not. But I see no reason why 1 or 2 lanes shouldn't be.

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