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HOV lanes during Pan Am Games led to shorter commutes for transit users

The Pan Am Games closed yesterday in Toronto, with the Parapan Games to start next weekend. One of the region’s travel demand management (TDM) strategies during the Games was the implementation of more High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to ease congestion. The HOV lanes were part of a TDM strategy that included providing free transit to Pan Am events for ticketholders; encouraging local residents to work at home, carpool, and work flex hours; and providing extra TTC and GO services.

185km of new HOV lanes on Highway 401, Highway 404, the DVP, Lake Shore Boulevard, the Gardiner Expressway and the QEW were added to the existing 50km. Existing HOV lanes only required two people per car–this was increased to three people per car from June 29-July 27. Vehicles transporting athletes, media, and officials, emergency vehicles, taxis, transit vehicles, airport limos, electric vehicles, and motorcycles (within the City of Toronto) were also allowed to use the HOV lanes.

GO Transit, the regional transit provider, reported that some commuters have saved as much as 21 minutes off of their commute times. I’m sure we’ll see more data coming out of MetroLinx, GO, and TTC soon, but despite Rob Ford’s skepticism, the temporary HOV lanes did appear to show some success in easing congestion in the region. About 133 tickets per day were issued for those using the HOV lanes with fewer than three people per car during the Games.


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