For years, it has been planning dogma that carpool lanes will induce carpooling and thereby reduce road congestion. Trouble is that, just like public transit, the renaissance never came. But the beat went on and on and on. Kevin Drum wrote about the billion-dollar-405-carpool lane-project and the hyped Carmageddon last week, just before the big nothing, and also voiced some concern about the whole idea. Back in January, the NY Times had this piece about the decline in carpooling generally.
The recently released 2009 NHTS (first table listed) shows that worktrip vehicle occupancy is 1.13 for cars and 1.15 for all private vehicles. Table 16 of this report shows that these numbers had not budged since 1990 (also NHTS surveys). Adding all those carpool lanes did nothing for carpooling.
But it's "green". So seemingly adult men and women keep the myth (and the "investing") going. Bob Nelson says its religion. Bruce Yandle has a similar idea.
It's all pretty amazing, especially in the context of all the hand wringing in Washington and other capitals over figuring out where we can possibly cut the spending.