High-occupancy vehicle lane

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In transportation engineering and transportation planning, a high-occupancy vehicle lane (also called an HOV lane or carpooling) is a lane reserved for vehicles with a driver and one or more passengers. These lanes are also known as carpool lanes, commuter lanes, restricted lanes, diamond lanes, express lanes, and are called transit lanes in Australia and New Zealand.

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Qualified vehicles

Qualification for HOV status varies by locality, for instance, in some cases it may require more than two passengers. When an automobile is used as an HOV, the group of people using it is often called a carpool, though the term HOV includes buses and vans. However, bus lanes may not necessarily be intended for use by carpools. An HOV or carpool may be allowed to travel on special road lanes, usually denoted with a diamond marking in the United States and Canada, on which vehicles not meeting minimum occupancy are prohibited, called restricted lanes, carpool lanes or diamond lanes. In some cases, single occupant vehicles are allowed provided that they are hybrid vehicles or use native fuels. U.S. federal law states that HOV lanes "must allow motorcycles and bicycles to use the HOV facility, unless either or both create a safety hazard."[1] In Canada, no such exemptions exist, but (as of 2009) the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba is planning to add HOV lanes around its downtown area. In some areas, such as Atlanta, Southern California, Hartford, Connecticut, Seattle Area, Boston Area, Salt Lake City and the Greater Toronto Area, the HOV lanes are full-time, while in others, such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, Long Island, and Northern New Jersey, they are usable by other vehicles outside of peak hours. Honolulu uses a "zipper" barrier to create an additional HOV lane on the westbound side of Interstate H-1, and Boston shifts one lane of traffic from north to southbound on a six mile stretch of Interstate 93 between Quincy and Dorchester.

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