New guidance published by the Department for Transport (DfT) on 9th January looks set push car sharing up the transport agenda and increase awareness among motorists. Local Authorities in the UK are being encouraged to consider the potential of opening up bus lanes as High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.
HOV lanes have been piloted in Leeds, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset with very encouraging results. Evaluation of the impact of these schemes has indicated that journey times have been reduced, both for car sharers using the HOV lanes and also for non-carsharers who have experienced less congestion on the remaining parts of the road.
Ali Clabburn, Managing Director of Liftshare.com, the UK's largest car sharing network commented:
"If we can increase car occupancy back up to where it was in the 60's (2 people per car) the UK would save about 60 billion vehicle Km and nearly 10 million tones of CO2 (15% of current car emissions).'
'The DfT's evidence shows us that HOV lanes do make more efficient use of road space, rewards individuals for sharing cars and provide time savings for all road users. Car sharing is a viable option for many of the journeys we make - it can save us money and help us to reduce our own CO2 emissions."
Over 147,000 individuals have joined the free scheme www.Liftshare.com, with those who regularly share their journeys typically saving over Â£1,000 a year and cutting their CO2 emissions by 1 tonne. With more Local Authorities reported to be considering introducing HOV lanes it is hoped that motorists throughout the UK will take this opportunity to think about their travel behaviour.
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