BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    


|SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                    SB 63|
|Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                         |
|1020 N Street, Suite 524          |                         |
|(916) 445-6614         Fax: (916) |                         |
|327-4478                          |                         |
                    UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Bill No:  SB 63
Author:   Solis (D), et al
Amended:  6/29/99
Vote:     21

AYES:  Dunn, Costa, Figueroa, Hayden, Kelley, Monteith,  
  Morrow, Murray, Polanco, Rainey
NOT VOTING:  Karnette, Speier

AYES:  Johnston, Alpert, Bowen, Burton, Escutia, Johnson,  
  Kelley, McPherson, Mountjoy, Vasconcellos
NOT VOTING:  Karnette, Leslie, Perata

  SENATE FLOOR  :  40-0, 5/10/99
AYES:  Alarcon, Alpert, Baca, Bowen, Brulte, Burton,  
  Chesbro, Costa, Dunn, Escutia, Figueroa, Hayden, Haynes,  
  Hughes, Johannessen, Johnson, Johnston, Karnette, Kelley,  
  Knight, Leslie, Lewis, McPherson, Monteith, Morrow,  
  Mountjoy, Murray, O'Connell, Ortiz, Peace, Perata,  
  Polanco, Poochigian, Rainey, Schiff, Sher, Solis, Speier,  
  Vasconcellos, Wright

  ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  74-2, 7/8/99 - See last page for vote

  SUBJECT  :    Preferential vehicle lanes:  occupancy level:   
Route 10

  SOURCE  :     Author



                                                       SB 63

  DIGEST  :    This bill would reduce, until January 1, 2002,  
the minimum occupancy requirement for vehicles using the  
high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on the San Bernardino  
Freeway from three to two persons.

The bill would require the Department of Transportation to  
analyze and submit a report to the Legislature by January  
1, 2001, any discernable changes in a motorist's behavior  
as a result of this change.

  Assembly Amendments  :

1.Change the sunset date from 2003 to 2002, and make  
  related changes.

2.Delete Assemblyman Longville as a coauthor.

  ANALYSIS  :    A HOV lane, commonly known as a "carpool" or  
"diamond" lane, is part of a traffic management strategy  
designed to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles  
during periods of heavy traffic congestion by offering  
commuters in high-occupancy vehicles (generally two or  
three or more passengers) the option of an "express-like"  
traffic lane that is designed to reduce travel time.

This bill would require the Department of Transportation to  
establish exclusive or preferential use of highway lanes  
for HOVs on that portion of State Highway Route 10 known as  
the San Bernardino Freeway, and shall set the minimum  
occupancy level on those lanes at two persons, including  
the driver. 

The bill provides that notwithstanding Section 7550.5 of  
the Government Code, on or before January 1, 2001, the  
Department of Transportation shall complete, prepare and  
submit to the Legislature a report regarding an operational  
study concerning the use of the HOV lanes.  That study  
shall include, but is not limited to, an analysis of any  
discernable changes in motorist behavior as a result of the  
establishment of the lanes.

The above provisions would become inoperative on July 1,  
2001 and would sunset altogether on January 1, 2002.


                                                       SB 63

California has one of the most extensive networks of HOV  
lanes in the nation.  It is estimated that there are nearly  
900 miles of HOV lanes currently operational in the state,  
and the department has planned an ambitious expansion  
program consisting of over 700 miles of additional HOV  
lanes which are expected to be inaugurated in the next  
several years.  The vast majority of HOV lanes in the state  
require a vehicle occupancy requirement of two or more  
occupants, with only about a dozen HOV lanes requiring  
three or more occupants (all located in Northern  
California, except the HOV lane on the El Monte Busway).  

Since 1973, the San Bernardino Freeway has included an  
exclusive lane for buses, known as the "El Monte Busway."   
As the result of a local bus strike in 1976, however, an  
agreement was reached that allowed carpools with three or  
more occupants to share the busway.  The agreement included  
a standard of 1300 vehicles using the HOV lane per hour  
during peak traffic periods.  According to the department,  
current traffic volumes approach the stipulated standard.  

The department conducted a review ("Operational study of  
the El Monte Busway") in 1996 to examine the feasibility of  
reducing the occupancy requirement on the busway.  The  
analysis considered four operational alternatives,  
including:  (1) two or more vehicle occupancy, seven days a  
week, 24 hours a day; (2) three or more vehicle occupancy  
during peak hours, and two or more vehicle occupancy during  
non-peak hours; (3) reconstruct the busway for two lanes;  
and (4) maintain three or more vehicle occupancy, seven  
days a week, 24 hours a day.  The report concluded:

  The El Monte Busway lanes were originally conceived to  
  establish a high speed transitway for buses; whereby, the  
  motorist would be encouraged to ride the system in-lieu  
  of driving his vehicle.  Currently, this system is  
  functioning at a satisfactory level of service and is not  
  experiencing any major breakdown.  Based on our analysis  
  of various traffic and engineering data, existing and  
  expected carpool demands, and input from various transit  
  agencies and CHP, it is our recommendation that the El  
  Monte Busway lanes remain as a three or more occupancy  
  requirement for 24 hour a day carpool usage.


                                                       SB 63

  Further, we believe that allowing two or more carpools to  
  use these lanes during peak periods would overload the  
  system causing congestion and delay and present an  
  unacceptable level of service.

According to the report, peak hour traffic volumes of three  
or more occupancy vehicles on the freeway ranged from 1267  
to 1241 westbound, and from 1188 to 1025 eastbound  
(recorded at two locations on the freeway).  Peak hour  
traffic volumes of two or more occupancy vehicles ranged  
from 2796 to 2094 westbound, and from 2776 to 2236  
eastbound.  The department indicates that traffic volumes  
on a freeway lane that exceed 1800 vehicles per hour result  
in congestion and delay.

In a report entitled, "The Effectiveness of High-Occupancy  
Vehicle Facilities" (1988), the Institute of Transportation  
Engineers concluded that "(m)ost HOV lanes are carrying at  
least 50% more peak-hour person trips than an adjacent  
freeway lane.  The problem is that an HOV facility  
typically carries only 400 to 500 peak-hour vehicles at 55  
mph, while an adjacent freeway lane is carrying 1,500 to  
2,000 peak-hour vehicles under stop-and-go conditions.  The  
perception of the driver stalled in traffic is that the HOV  
facility is underutilized.  The pressure on those operating  
the HOV facility is to relax the HOV restrictions and allow  
more vehicles into the HOV facility."

HOV lanes have increasingly become the subject of criticism  
as freeway congestion has worsened and the number of these  
lanes have increased.  Many HOV lanes in the state are  
operating at less than the optimum level.  Several  
legislative measures have been introduced in the  
Legislature this session regarding the operation of these  
special lanes, including at least one proposal that could  
potentially require HOV lanes to be redesignated as  
mixed-flow lanes.  It appears that in actuality the  
department has relatively few operational options for  
improving the efficiency of HOV lanes, including varying  
the vehicle occupancy requirement and the hours of  
operation, and engaging in public information efforts to  
urge commuters to form carpools.  A significant point of  
criticism, however, of HOV lanes by commuters is that very  
manipulation of vehicle occupancy requirements and lane  


                                                       SB 63

hours, which creates a confusing variation in the  
requirements for the use of the lanes, particularly in the  
Bay Area and on intersecting freeways.

  Related legislation  
  Senate Bill 14 (Raney).  This bill would require the  
department to complete a study to create a set of criteria  
for measuring the effectiveness of state highway lanes  
proposed to be designated or constructed as HOV lanes.   
(This bill is currently in the Assembly Transportation  
  Assembly 44 (McClintock).  This bill would require the  
department to redesignate all existing HOV lanes as  
mixed-flow lanes and would prohibit those entities from  
establishing any new HOV lanes unless (a) the department or  
local authority has conducted the required traffic model  
study and analysis and obtained the specified certification  
of the study and analysis, and (b) the result of the  
analysis is that establishing an HOV lane is the most  
efficient alternative in accordance with cost-benefit  
estimates derived under the study.  (This bill has been  
referred to the Assembly Transportation Committee.)

Assembly Bill 199 (Pescetti).  This bill provides that it  
is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to  
evaluate the effectiveness of HOV lanes that are currently  
in use on highways in this state.  (This bill has not been  
referred to a committee in the Assembly.)

  FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
Local:  No

According to Senate Appropriations Committee analysis:

                Fiscal Impact (in thousands)
Major Provisions                1999-2000      2000-01        
  2001-02                 Fund  
CalTrans                     unknown, minor costs to  
replace signs         Transportation
                                    and complete study       


                                                       SB 63

  SUPPORT  :   (Verified  7/9/99)

City of Monterey Park
City of South El Monte
City of El Monte
City of La Puente
City of Irwindale
Mayor, City of Pomona
El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce
Azusa Chamber of Commerce
United Transportation Union 
San Gabriel Valley Economic Council
Hacienda Heights Improvement Association
Industry Manufacturers Council
Alhambra Democratic Club

  OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  7/9/99)

Southern California Transit Advocates
Foothill Transit Executive Board

  ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author,  
"(t)raffic congestion in Southern California is terrible.   
Both during the morning and after peak hours, thousands of  
cars are trapped in traffic.  For commuters traveling on  
the San Bernardino Freeway, Interstate Highway 10, they  
must face these 'parking lot' conditions on a daily basis.   
To help alleviate this situation, we can reduce the  
requirement of the High Occupancy Vehicle Lane on the San  
Bernardino Freeway from a three person to a two person  
minimum.  By enacting a more attainable goal of two people  
per vehicle in a HOV lane, more commuters will be able to  
utilize the carpool lane.  In turn, this will increase the  
efficiency of the carpool lane and improve traffic  
conditions in the mixed-flow lane."

  ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    Southern California Transit  
Advocates state that, "we view this bill as endangering the  
productivity of the El Monte busway on route 10 (the San  
Bernardino Freeway) or the large levels of express bus  
service that utilize it, especially during peak weekday  
hours.  The freeflowing nature of the busway is vital to  
its success and increasing the levels of traffic on it by  


                                                       SB 63

reducing from three to two the minimum occupancy required  
for carpools to use the busway would defeat its purpose."  
AYES:  Aanestad, Ackerman, Alquist, Aroner, Ashburn,  
  Baldwin, Bates, Battin, Baugh, Brewer, Briggs, Calderon,  
  Campbell, Cardenas, Cardoza, Cedillo, Corbett, Correa,  
  Cox, Cunneen, Davis, Dickerson, Ducheny, Dutra,  
  Firebaugh, Florez, Floyd, Frusetta, Gallegos, Granlund,  
  Havice, Hertzberg, Honda, House, Jackson, Kaloogian,  
  Keeley, Knox, Kuehl, Leach, Lempert, Leonard, Lowenthal,  
  Maddox, Maldonado, Margett, Mazzoni, McClintock, Migden,  
  Nakano, Olberg, Oller, Robert Pacheco, Rod Pacheco,  
  Pescetti, Reyes, Romero, Runner, Scott, Shelley, Soto,  
  Steinberg, Strickland, Strom-Martin, Thomson, Vincent,  
  Washington, Wayne, Wesson, Wiggins, Wildman, Wright,  
  Zettel, Villaraigosa
NOES:  Bock, Longville
NOT VOTING:  Machado, Papan, Thompson, Torlakson

RJG:sl  7/9/99   Senate Floor Analyses 


                      ****  END  ****