Tennessee Department of Transportation Might Convert Certain HOV Lanes in Nashville into Toll Lanes


Vanderbilt University staff on Friday published a press release that announced they’d partnered with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to study whether to convert certain High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes into High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.

But by Monday the Vanderbilt press release had vanished. A source told The Tennessee Star on that Vanderbilt’s communications staff posted the press release in error. The press release appeared online before Vanderbilt officials had signed off on it.

The results of such a study could force Tennessee drivers to modify their driving habits.

According to the now-removed press release, Vanderbilt Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Janey Camp is partnering with TDOT and Tennessee State University (TSU) Civil and Architectural Engineering professor Deo Chimba.

“The study will assess whether Tennesseans would favor converting existing HOV lane facilities into HOT lanes on the outbound and inbound HOV corridors for Interstates 65, 24 and 40 in Nashville,” the press release said.

“Camp is leading a public opinion survey focused on critical aspects associated with implementation, operation and perception of converting HOV to HOT lanes. Responses will allow the team to model various scenarios to provide TDOT with recommendations. The voluntary survey is anonymous and confidential.”

The press release then said Tennessee’s HOV lanes are currently underused during peak times. Motorists consistently violate the rules for their use, the press release said.

“A previous collaboration among Camp, Chimba and TDOT showed that current violation rates for the HOV lanes in Middle Tennessee are approximately 80 percent to 90 percent, and typical peak time use rates are 15 percent to 20 percent,” according to the press release.

“Studies of Google traffic data and traffic simulations show that the outbound and inbound HOV corridors for Interstates 65, 24 and 40 in Nashville suffer from a series of daily bottlenecks during peak travel time.”

Camp said in the press release that she will use the survey responses to evaluate how well HOT lanes will work in conjunction with the city’s projected population growth, system-based traffic changes, and ridesharing estimates.

“The team’s research will identify the technical and public policy issues and anticipated impacts on the interstate corridors, on all drivers (including commuters and truck drivers), on land use patterns, on existing transportation modes and on regional travel behaviors and patterns,” the press release said.

“This information will give the team insight on whether the conversion of HOV lanes to HOT lanes would reduce congestion, lower emissions and fuel costs, and reduce stop-and-go traffic.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Toll Plaza” by Stilfehler. CC BY-SA 3.0.






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14 Thoughts to “Tennessee Department of Transportation Might Convert Certain HOV Lanes in Nashville into Toll Lanes”

  1. John Miller

    I thought the idea was to reduce the number of vehicles my having more commuters in one vehicle. Wouldn’t it make more sense to tax (toll) the single rider vehicles? Or just be upfront and tax (toll) every lane instead of waiting 2 years.

  2. Jeff

    This is a great opportunity, instead of doing this in the current HOV lanes do it to the lane next to it. I would pay good money to get the cruisers out of that lane and back to the driving lanes. Kidding, but not kidding. There has to be some way to get these dunces out of the third lane.

  3. Karen

    Only a libtard would believe that making an HOV lane into a toll road would help with traffic! Ignorance is bliss they say…

  4. NJPBA600

    Tolls and then more tolls will come. I thought I left NJ.

  5. David

    I agree with the comments. It is a stupid idea and whoever runs TDOT should be fired.

  6. Kevin

    Didn’t I just read that the State of Tennessee has a fiscal year to date surplus of almost 1-billion-dollar? That put Tennessee on track for having a 3-BILLION-dollar surplus in 2022! And yet we have TDOT, a state government agency, spending money to conduct studies on how to further milk the people? Sounds like a bunch of good old “progressive” thinking, by a bunch of classic liberals! Who will ultimately run Nashville and Tennessee into the dirt!

    But who does TDOT report to… oh that’s right, Bill Lee.

    1. 83ragtop50

      Kevin – Forget about the surplus. Lee and his EDC are giving money away to large corporations so fast that that surplus will melt away like a snowball in hell.

  7. Charles clark

    Tolls always cause more proablems, for those who caint aford them anyways. Lets pander to the wealthy and screw the poor! Hell raise the gas tax as well

  8. JB Taylor

    Just another way to lay on the Taxes, and dig deeper into Tax payers pockets.
    And it will not change anything.

  9. mikey whipwreck

    how about they just open them up for regular use?

    esp since our tax dollars (federal) pay for them? instead of charging us to use something we paid for?

    1. 83ragtop50

      whipwreck – Great comment. Many studies have shown that more traffic is able to flow when HOV lanes are NOT employed. That is, they are just treated as a normal lane. But the gerrymanders in charge just want to give the impression of doing something instead of doing what is best for the average commuter. Toll roads are a curse. The citizens pay to build them then have to pay to use them. That should be illegal.

  10. When you have a region hellbent on repeating the growth horrors of Atlanta, Charlotte and the like, who should be surprised about this development. Stupid begets stupid. When you have people in charge that are unable to say no to any possible expansions, this is going to happen, every time.

  11. rick

    Could you expect any more from the liberal’s at Vanderbilt. My father worked at a large local industrial plant that recruited engineers from state colleges he said you could always tell an engineer from Tennessee Tech over a Vanderbilt engineer, both engineering schools had good educations but, the tech engineers usually had common sense while the Vanderbilt graduate had the arrogance that you were lucky to be associated with them! “TOLL ROADS – sound like another BIDEN idea. “Lets Go Brandon”