The problem is not too many single-occupant drivers, it's the design of the cars that they are driving.
They are carrying with them four or more empty seats, taking up an entire lane instead of half of one. Until now, the right tool for the job of commuting on freeways has not existed. Motorcycles despite their advantages through traffic have not even reached a 0.2% of the commuter market due to their drawbacks.
The fact is that people who can afford cars will use them, despite the inconvenience of traffic congestion. The vast majority of workers want the freedom to go where they want to go, when they want to go, and to be able to transport and secure things in their personal locker.
Lane capacity can be increased from 2,000 vehicles per hour to 4,400 VPH according to a Booz-Allen-Hamilton / University of California, Berkeley study funded by the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans). See these reports on our downloads page.
Note in the chart below that over the last 26 years, single occupant drivers have increased from 76.3% of all workers to 76.6%. Carpooling despite all of the incentives has decreased over the same time period from 11.8% to only 9% of all workers.
CALIFORNIA PATH PROGRAM
INSTITUTE OF TRANSPORTATION STUDIES
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY
Studies of Road Infrastructure Requirements for Small Innovative Vehicles
William L. Garrison UCB-ITS-PRR-93-16
A modern highway lane on a multi-lane facility can accommodate about 2,000 conventional passenger vehicles per hour.
Suppose Lean Machine type commuter cars begin to appear on such a lane. One possibility is that Lean Machines travel in single file. In this case, there is modest increased capacity of the lane as the fraction of Lean Machines increases, for the capacity increase to 2260 vph is only due to the shorter length of Lean Machines.
Another possibility is that Lean Machines are paired at random, say, just as they happen to join the traffic stream, and drivers move side-by-side in a happenstance-joining way. A third possibility is that drivers of Lean Machines rearrange their positions in traffic to form pairs of vehicles. In the random- paired and rearranged-paired cases the capacity of the lane increases to 4520 vph as the percentage of Lean Machines in the traffic stream reaches 100 percent (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Capacity of a Lane of Multi-lane Highway as a Function of the Fraction of Commuter Vehicles in the Traffic Stream.
See complete study on downloads page
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