405 Carpool Lane Made ‘Relatively No Change’ In Rush Hour Traffic, Study Finds

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A new study finds the shutdown of the 405 Freeway to add a carpool lane hasn’t relieved traffic congestion during rush hour.

KNX 1070’s Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson spoke with Jim Bak of traffic service provider INRIX, whose analysts found “relatively no change” in travel speeds and times when comparing data between the middle two weeks of September in 2013 and 2014 on the northbound 405 between the 10 and the 101 freeways.

“The average trip through that stretch of the 405 during rush hour is about 35 minutes,” he said.

Bak insisted there is “no silver bullet” to solving the rush-hour gridlock in Los Angeles, noting there are challenges with traffic “across the entire system.”

But he also noted there were some improvements.

“What we do see is it helps delay the on-set of rush hour and it helps bring rush hour to a close a little faster because you’re moving some volumes of vehicles that would be in the regular lanes into the HOV lanes,” Bak said.

“Typically in the analysis, we were seeing before the HOV travel times in the 7 to 8 p.m. hour that were in the 28-minute range,” he added.

Those travel times have since reduced to between 22 and 25 minutes during the same time period, according to the study, which also looked at the cost drivers are paying while stuck in their vehicles.

“Los Angeles drivers last year wasted about 65 hours in traffic,” Bak said. “For the average household, that translates into $5,000 in added cost every year, either in your wasted time or the amount of fuel you waste.”

The study also looked into costs that get passed on to consumers.

“Businesses – it costs them more to bring products to market because they’ve got to pay drivers overtime costs to get deliveries done on time and they have to use more gas to do that as well,” he said.

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