Department of Transportation
Vancouver, Washington -- After carefully reviewing the data contained in the four evaluation reports compiled between October 31, 2001 and October 31, 2002 and consulting with the Federal Highway Administration, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has decided to extend the Vancouver I-5 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Pilot Project for 24 months.
WSDOT’s decision is based primarily on the data collected for the four HOV lane evaluation reports. WSDOT also took into consideration the recommendations of the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (RTC) Board of Directors, the C-Tran Board, the Port of Vancouver and a national HOV lane peer review panel.
Of the several criteria established for evaluating the pilot project, the greatest discussion surrounds the goal that the HOV lane move more people during the two hour morning peak travel time than the adjacent general purpose lanes. The evaluation reports show that between July 2002 and October 2002 the number of people the HOV lane was moving jumped from 70 percent of those in the general purpose lanes to 90 percent. This significant increase provides a weighty factor in favor of the view that the pilot should be continued.
Another important factor in WSDOT’s decision to extend the pilot project is the fact that significant public transportation improvements are currently in the works in both North Portland and in Clark County, which will have a direct effect on use of Vancouver HOV lane. These improvements include:
- C-Tran Park and Ride Lot at NE 99th Street opening in 2004 with over 500 parking spaces.
- A second C-Tran Park and Ride Lot at the proposed amphitheater complex is also in the works, which, if built, would add another 500-600 spaces as soon as 2004.
- Portland’s MAX light rail system will open its new Interstate line adjacent to the Washington border next year.
- I-5 widening between Delta Park and Lombard in Portland. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) plans to complete design work on this project in mid-2004. As part of this project design, ODOT is looking into whether the additional lane should be configured as a general purpose lane or an HOV lane. If it becomes an HOV lane, it would create an important functional link with Vancouver’s HOV lane.
Public opinion about the lane has been very mixed, however the latest evaluation report showed that the majority (52 percent) of respondents to the last public opinion poll believed that the HOV lane was a fair, good or excellent idea. WSDOT believes that once the public transportation improvements mentioned earlier are realized and HOV lane usage increases as a result, public opinion will improve.
For more information about the Vancouver I-5 HOV lane, please visit the Web page at: http://www.rtc.wa.gov/hov/
Jilayne Jordan, Public Information Officer
Don Wagner, Regional Administrator
WSDOT Southwest Region
P.O. Box 1709
Vancouver, WA 98668