This paper describes how Europe has long provided bus lanes and on-street bus priority measures. High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) programs expand this practice to include private shared-ride vehicles (carpools) and other priority vehicles. There are a few HOV lanes in operation in Europe, and the interest is growing in their potential applicability to congested urban roadways. With over 200 HOV lane projects now in use on streets and highways around the world, there are useful lessons to be learned by those considering the HOV option in the European context. The reasons for project successes and failures are outlined, with particular attention paid to the constraints and operational issues prevalent in the European environment. Critical issues such as enforcement, conversion from general purpose use, design, and underutilization are explored. The documented effectiveness of HOV facilities in influencing mode choice is summarized. Finally, the future of HOV priority within the urban transport system is discussed, touching on high-tech enforcement solutions, HOV priority within tolled facilities, and the integration of HOV initiatives within broader Transportation Demand Management programs.
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