FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Department of Transportation
Vancouver, Washington -- At a regular meeting of the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council Board of Directors yesterday afternoon, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)'s Southwest Regional Administrator, Don Wagner, recommended that the hours of operation for the new High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-5 in Vancouver be changed to 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., Monday through Friday.
The recommendation was approved six to three.
Wagner's recommendation is based on the results of the first post-opening data collection on the lane, which were released December 17. After careful analysis of the data, WSDOT determined that the HOV lane would be most effective if operated between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Since its opening on October 29, the lane has operated weekdays on I-5 southbound from 99th Street to Mill Plain Boulevard from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. The change in hours will take effect Monday, January 14.
According to Wagner, "Based on the data we've collected so far, we believe the best hours to operate the HOV lane are from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. That's when we see the most need for the lane, so that's when we believe it should be in operation. If in the future we see the need to expand the hours of operation, we can do that. We're committed to making operational decisions regarding the HOV lane based on the information we collect. And the decision to change the hours of operation is one such data-driven decision."
Vancouver's HOV lane is a pilot project and will be monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis according to established traffic engineering standards and specific success indicators such as usage, travel time, violation rate and public opinion. Because this information will be the basis for determining whether or not the Vancouver HOV Lane is a success, WSDOT is committed to collecting accurate and sufficient data on which to base such an important decision.
As congestion continues to grow in Southwest Washington, the community has asked WSDOT to find ways to maximize the capacity of existing freeways. Through an extensive planning and public involvement effort led by the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, the HOV lane was identified as a possible affordable and efficient way to keep people moving on I-5 now and in the future.
The Vancouver HOV Lane is the initial phase of a bi-state plan that includes a southbound lane in Oregon during the morning commute. Future extension would be in conjunction with the I-5 widening in Delta Park and additional river-crossing capacity that are currently under discussion.
For more information regarding the pilot project, please visit the Vancouver HOV Lane website at http://www.rtc.wa.gov/hov/
For more information:
Theresa Weil, Communications Manager
WSDOT Southwest Region
P.O. Box 1709
Vancouver, WA 98668-1709