WSDOT is building many high occupancy vehicle (HOV) direct access ramps throughout the Puget Sound area for Sound Transit. These allow buses, carpools, and van pools to directly access the HOV lanes from park and ride lots and local streets.
You might have driven by some of the large construction zones when WSDOT contractors were building these ramps. You might have wondered, why are they building ramps that will only serve a small percentage of the road users? Do they work?
According to the September 2006 Gray Notebook, direct access ramps improve safety, reduce congestion, save time, and increase reliability for both HOV and general-purpose traffic. Five major HOV lane direct access ramps in the Puget Sound area opened recently and another 14 are planned. Preliminary performance evaluations for the Lynnwood, Bellevue, Federal Way, and Ash Way projects show substantial travel time savings have been achieved at both Lynnwood (four to eight minute savings) and Ash Way (two to six minute savings), resulting in improved Sound Transit and Community Transit bus schedules.
More details on this topic and other key issues can be found in the September 2006 Gray Notebook. WSDOT publishes a Gray Notebook every quarter. The list of topics covered in past notebooks including bridge conditions, congestion on state highways, environmental programs and other performance related measurements and reports. If you are looking to see how well WSDOT is delivering projects, check out the Gray Notebook. If you want to learn about the rising cost of construction materials or road kill on state highways, find it in the Gray Notebook.
You can check out the new December 2006 Gray Notebook, available online in mid-February.