San Francisco + San José + Oakland

Life in the (Not So) Fast Lane


LAPD patrolling the highway

The Bay Area has a lot of carpool lanes. These lanes are supposed to prioritize high-occupancy vehicles, encouraging more people to carpool. Too often, however, carpool lanes are just as congested as the regular travel lanes that they run adjacent to, rarely guaranteeing expedience. One of the biggest challenges to efficiency in these lanes is the difficulty of enforcement: not only is it dangerous, accurately discerning vehicle occupancy is problematic when faced with tinted windows, nighttime conditions, small children, large dogs or anything else that one might imagine would be an obstacle to error-free headcounts. Thankfully, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is piloting promising new enforcement technologies that dispense with the hazards and subterfuge. Come learn about these “vehicle occupancy detection” pilot programs, their advantages, the concerns about their adoption and what it will take to make our carpool lanes actually work.

  • Robert Rich / Metropolitan Transportation Commission
  • Sarah Burnworth / Metropolitan Transportation Commission
  • Jacob Denney / SPUR



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