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PMPG (Person Miles Per Gallon)

Person miles per gallon for HOV lanes
  (+23, -1)(+23, -1)(+23, -1)
(+23, -1)
  [vote for,

Denver, Colorado has HOV lanes on the expressways leading into the city, designed to promote carpooling to cut down on our carbon footprint, brown-cloud (smog), etc. It's fatal flaw is their definition of a "High Occupancy Vehicle": any car with two or more people (or a motorcycle). I realized how ridiculous this is when a Hummer H2 blew by me in the HOV lane on my way to work this morning. So here's the idea:

Denver has iPass transponders, where non-carpoolers can use the express lanes by paying a toll (which varies based on the time of day). The idea is to award free transponders to those who can achieve some standard of passenger miles per gallon (pmpg). For example:

If the limit were 40 pmpg:


> Toyota Prius with one passenger receiving 55 mpg has 55 pmpg

> Dodge Ram van with four passengers receiving 14 mpg has 56 pmpg


> Hummer H2 with two passengers receiving 14 mpg has 28 pmpg

> Jetta GLI with one passenger receiving 30 mpg has 30 pmpg

In order to get one of these transponders, you have to get your vehicle certified for a conservative highway mpg rating, dial in the number of passengers, (and perhaps pay a one-time processing fee) and you're good to go. Law enforcement currently does a pretty good job at keeping cheaters out of the HOV lane, they merely have to keep tabs on cars certified for two or more passengers as they pass under the sensor.

jimcasey, Feb 02 2007

Article about Bus Mileage http://seattlepi.nw...203509_metro13.html
[jhomrighaus, Feb 07 2007]

Ridership info http://www.mta.info/nyct/facts/ffbus.htm
[jhomrighaus, Feb 07 2007]


       Do you live near Denver too? Small world, isn't it? Not a bad idea, either [+]. I suspect it's been baked somewhere.
discontinuuity, Feb 02 2007

       I'd apply this to all lanes +
xenzag, Feb 02 2007

       You want people to do MATH?! (+)
Galbinus_Caeli, Feb 02 2007

       I can crack 100pmpg on my daily commute - motorbike 2-up. Do I get a rebate? Or do I get to smash the wing mirrors off people who cut me up? Surely I get a prize? :(
Defiler, Feb 02 2007

       That is the goal anyway. I am not sure how expensive transponders are but they have dedicated a whole lane to the cause so they might as well allow some budget to make the idea work.   

       There might be some arguement that The hummer driver is carpooling where he might have simply driven his vehicle by himself. The whole system might be flawed in that someone might ride in a group of four except he wants to help his friend who normally drives alone thus resulting in no gain. But such arguements need to be based on average incintive gain and rewarding people that comply with getting results. The program is a consistant reminder to the conscous durring every commute of their responsibility and probably has it's biggest impact in raising conversations and approaching the topic of sharing vehiciles amongst coworkers. In the same respect this would definitly include another aspect into the conversation of whose vehicle to take to work. Bravo. Technically information about Miles per gallon would be just as accessable to a patrolman as number of passengers in the vehicle, and if you can't do the math you probably don't deserve to be driving, but You can get a minimum passenger number rating for your licence plate, and have it accessable by plate number as well by the patrolman. Patrolmen are versed in make and model and can probably do an accurate assesment that way as well for those out of state/city drivers but there is no right guaranteeing them access to that lane to begin with if they can't figure it out.
MercuryNotMars, Feb 02 2007

       //get a minimum passenger number rating for your licence plate//   

       Brilliant. Assess the vehicle once, decide it needs [X] passengers to qualify for the carpooling lane, and print that number on a large, standardized sticker next to the plates front and rear. Levy massive fines for lane abuse, and random overhead cameras. Works even for cities that don't use a transponder system, like here.
BunsenHoneydew, Feb 06 2007

       Why not have personal ez passes that connect to the vehicle pass so that the system will know how many people are actually in the car and can forcefully eject vehicles that are not loaded properly, preferably with a Big swinging Hammer.
jhomrighaus, Feb 06 2007

       //...preferably with a Big swinging Hammer.//
(Frequently) A Hummer Hammer. Ha ha!
neutrinos_shadow, Feb 06 2007

       There'sno need for the cars to be assessed and whatnot, all you need is a doohickey that monitors the car's mpg in real time like some cars already have. The device could also have a receiver that detects mobile phone signals to record how many people are in the car (yes, some people don't have them and people could carry multiple phones). Alternatively you just have an LED in the windscreen and you type in the number of passengers.   

       The advantage of the real-time-ed-ness is that as traffic builds up in the car pool lane, the least efficient cars will drop below the required mpg as they slow down and be asked to leave the lane, keeping the speed decent for the uber efficient cars.   

       If you shouldn't be in the lane, you get a flashing orange X for a couple of mins, then a red X which is nice and easy for highway patrol to spot.
marklar, Feb 07 2007

       I like this, but I wonder what's going to happen to municipal busses. I've always thought those big belching things must have a lousy PMPG.
baconbrain, Feb 07 2007

       Based on the attached article 4 MPG would be a reasonable estimate for an average bus(in the city no less). If there are 25 people on the bus that would be an average of 100 PMPG.   

       If you look at the second link it shows ridership based on NYC it works oout to 37 riders an hour based on 12 hours a day(probably high) which if you took half of that you get a PMPG of 74. Still pretty darn impressive if you ask me.   

       Thats better than almost any car on the road.
jhomrighaus, Feb 07 2007

       Well, [+] for a new and more sensible approach, but as with existing schemes, doesn't all this mean that the least polluting vehicles spend the least time on the road, and the most polluting vehicles spend the most time on the road? Seems arse backwards to me.
egbert, Feb 07 2007

       [egbert] It makes perfect sense when you realize that incentives (time/$/etc) are what change behavior on a mass scale.   

       The higher polluting cars spending the most time on the road makes them less attractive to be stuck with, which means more people will switch to less-polluting cars.
sophocles, Feb 08 2007

       Thanks, [jhom]. Oddly enough, it was in Seattle that I first started wondering about bus PMPG. Full, I'm not arguing, but I've been in too many late night busses where I was the only passenger.
baconbrain, Feb 08 2007

       but there are very few buses running at night, remember that for most of the day they are pretty full and during peak periods ridership is huge, I would guess that if you had more detail you might find that the numbers are even better for buses than my amateur estimate.
jhomrighaus, Feb 08 2007

       This might lead to cool police gadgets: car model analyzers combined with infrared sensors to determine the number of people in a passing vehicle.
phundug, Feb 08 2007

       That does seem more logical as it measures the fuel used by a given person rather than an entire vehicle. [+]
apocalyps956, Feb 08 2007

       Cars can already calculate an instantaneous mpg. Just punch in a number of passengers and get the pmpg. This value could then be sent to the transponder.
daseva, Feb 09 2007

       "lets see, I think today I will have 10 people riding with me in my Geo Metro so Ill just punch that in here....."
jhomrighaus, Feb 09 2007

       Pressure pads in the seats.   

       /me brings four bricks.
BunsenHoneydew, Feb 09 2007

       I always thought that HOV lanes were supposed to give people an incentive to carpool so that the congestion on the highway would not be as high.
Jscotty, Feb 09 2007

       Busses run on natural gas.... I don't know how to convert the carbon footprint in PMPG between gasoline and natural gas, but I think that it would be unfair to give the buses rights to the HOV lane for other reasons. [+]
quantum_flux, Oct 15 2007


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