A pilot scheme to trial motorway lanes dedicated to cars with 2 or more occupants in the morning rush hour.
This plan was announced by the Transport Secretary Alastair Darling after a visit to the US where "HOV" lanes are common on routes into cities such as Los Angeles and Washington DC.
In two pilot experiments, the southbound M1 between J13 (Bedford/Milton Keynes South) and J7 (M10, St Albans) and the eastbound M3 between J3 (Bagshot) and J2 (M25) would have their outside lanes converted to HOV lanes for the morning rush hour. Cars with a sole occupant would be fined £100 if they entered these lanes within rush hour.
Where HOV lanes were introduced, this would be by use of the hard shoulder or by using a new lane from a motorway widening scheme (the M1 widening has already been approved).
If successful, the scheme could be extended to widened sections of the M25.
New infrared cameras designed by a Loughborough firm may be used to police the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane planned for the M1, by detecting the presence of multiple occupants, and by distinguishing them from animals using skin tones.
High occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes will debut in the UK on the M1 in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, with one lane of the southbound M1 between Luton Airport (J10) and St Albans (J7) dedicated in the morning peak to cars carrying passengers.
This week, Alastair Darling is expected to announce trials on sections of the M1 and M3 of car sharing or "high occupancy vehicle" lanes, which only cars with more than occupant can use during the morning rush hour.
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