Another Lane Bites the Dust

Okay, two posts in a row were about L.A. traffic, and now I’m going to make it three. Today God asked me how HOV lanes figured into my theories about what lanes to drive in. Recall that my revised theory is that while traffic is heavy, but not too heavy, the number two lane seems to counter-intuitively move faster than the number one lane. Not steadily faster, but on average faster. See, if it moves steadily faster then a lot of people that are in the fast lane because they really expect it to be the fast lane will jump from the fast lane to the number two lane. When they make their lane change they not only add to the number of cars in the number two, but they make people react to their often sudden appearance and that cause a ripple of brake lights in the local traffic stream which adds even more to slowing down number two, often giving the number one lane a temporary boost into actually being the fast lane.

For the record, here’s what I think about the HOV lane:

(For the record, because I hate writers that use acronyms and just assume that everyone reading knows what they mean, HOV stands for High Occupancy Vehicle. The HOV lane is also known as the carpool lane and is only to be used by vehicles containing two or more live and already born persons, or by vehicles with a special sticker only issued in limited numbers to vehicles that have hybrid drive trains and an EPA mileage rating of at least, I think, 45 miles per gallon.)

(Oh, EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency.)

Now when we talk about the “fast lane” I’m not sure if the HOV lane, being the number one lane, is excluded from the calculation so that the physically number two lane is “the fast lane” or if the HOV still gets to be the fast lane since it was designed with the intent of allowing good, carpooling citizens to drive faster; so I’ll try to stick with lane numbers here.
Now, as I was trying to say, the HOV lane has a somewhat unpredictable effect at the traffic loads at which the number two lane theory seems to operate. Sometimes the HOV lane seems to take the place of the fast lane and most of the “I don’t want to think about my driving” crowd hops into it and moves along oblivious to the agenda of anyone behind them. Sometimes the HOV lane just doesn’t really figure into it, so the number two lane acts as the fast lane and gets all the driver-only cars that want to just be in the fast lane and not think about their driving. Sometimes, probably most of the time, the HOV lane siphons off half of those people and the other half get into the number two lane making the number three lane act like the number two lane for purposes of the theory, but not as much like the number two lane as a real number two lane.

And now I’m just lost.

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