Unique Commuter Solutions
The High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV)
Designated with a diamond-shaped symbol, HOV lanes are found on Interstates 66, 95, and 395. Unlike Interstate 66, which designates the HOV lane with only the symbol, Interstate 95 and 395 are physically separated from non-HOV traffic with concrete barriers. These barriers not only control access to the HOV lanes with a limited number of entrance and exit points, they also help prevent using the lanes "temporarily." The restricted hours of operation for HOV lanes can be somewhat confusing. The restricted hours are in force Monday through Friday following the schedule below. Outside of these hours, there are no HOV restrictions.
Interstate 66 has an HOV-2 restriction, meaning that the car must have at least two occupants. Interstates 95 and 395 have HOV-3 restrictions, requiring a minimum of three occupants. There have been discussions in the past year concerning changing the HOV-3 restriction to HOV-2; as yet, no action has been taken.
In Virginia, violations of the HOV minimum requirements carry some stiff fines and are progressive with each violation. Currently the fines are as follows:
New HOV Fines take effect July 1, 2006
There are a few exceptions to the minimum number of occupants in the HOV lanes. The exceptions are as follows:
How They Reverse Traffic
Traffic flow begins reversing from northbound to southbound, Monday through Thursday, around midday. Beginning at approximately 11:00 a.m. a VDOT technician drives the entire HOV route from south to north closing the freeway behind him as he drives. Once the HOV is clear of all traffic, the direction is reversed to southbound. Although the reversal time may vary, it usually occurs around 12:30 p.m. On Friday, the reversal begins an hour earlier to allow for the heavier weekend traffic out of the District.
In the evening, the HOV again undergoes a direction reversal, beginning around 9:00 p.m. And finally, the HOV runs southbound on Saturday and northbound on Sundays. However, it should be noted that VDOT adjusts this schedule, such as on holidays and special events.
For more information, call the Northern Virginia District Office of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) at (800) 367-ROAD.
Here is a list of all HOV lanes in the US. Click Here.
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