HOV marketing and positioning research study task 1 : background scan

HOV marketing and positioning research study task 1 : background scan

Material Information

HOV marketing and positioning research study task 1 : background scan
Florida. Dept. of Transportation
University of South Florida.Center for Urban Transportation Research
Gold Coast Commuter Services, Inc
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
High occupancy vehicle lanes--Florida--Marketing ( lcsh )
letter ( marcgt )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
32633072 ( OCLC )
C01-00035 ( USFLDC DOI )
c1.35 ( USFLDC Handle )

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HOV marketing and positioning research study task 1 : background scan
Tampa, Fla
b Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
c 1995 March 31
High occupancy vehicle lanes--Florida--Marketing
University of South Florida.Center for Urban Transportation Research
Gold Coast Commuter Services, Inc.
1 773
t Center for Urban Transportation Research Publications [USF].
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?c1.35


HOV Ma r k e t i ng and Posit i oning Research Study Task I -Bac kground Scan Presented to, and prepared in cooperation with: Gold Coast Commuter Serv ices, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Report Prepared Through: Flo ri da's TOM Clearinghouse P roject Funded By: The Florida Department ofTransportatio n Public Transit Office Tallahassee, FL Prepared for: Districts F o ur and S i x Flor i da Department of Transportation Prepared By: Center for Urban Transportation Research College of Engineeri n g University of South Florida Tampa, Florida Contributing Staff: Philip L Winters, TOM Program Manager Ian S Kasper Daniel Rudge March31, 1995


PROJECT SUMMARY The Florida Department of Transportation, Districts Four and Six, are improving 1-95 from Palm Beach County through Broward County, to Dade County, and completing a 61 mile high occupancy vehicle (HOY) corridor as part of this project. Designated for buses, vanpools and carpools carrying at least two people (HOY-2), the lane will be a low-cost method to reward ridesharers and increase the average vehicle occupancy (A YO) rate a l ong this heavily travelled corridor. This project's objective is t o collect and analy ze data to plan for the effective marketing and evaluatio n of HOY lanes along 1-95 in South Fl orida. Ibis WJ>Ort focuses on Task I -a compilation of backgroun d information on the 1-95 HOY lane s and experiences of HOY facilities across the country, Fundinc for this task was IJIOvided by FOOTs TDM Clearinghouse at the Center for Urban Transportation Research

assess and quantify the behavior of public decisionmakers, employers, and commuters towards HOV facilities in the South Florida area. The full study will be conducted by CUTR with the cooperation of FOOT and Gold Coast CommUier Services. SCOPE OF WORK The first task was to compile the relevant information and review existing data from local, regional and state organizatio ns regardin g similar studies and research in progress and review current commuter and employer survey practices on HOVs used nationally. The findings of thi s task wilt be used to help design the survey instruments for the general public, business l eaders, and public officials The HOV marketing plan of Gold Coast Commuter Services will be designed to improve the education and awareness of the HOV lane project among the commuters who are eligible to use the lane, the FOOT offices which maintain the facility, the law enforcement agencies charged with enforcing the lane restrictions, and the court system which will uphold or withhold adjudication of those caught in violation of the law. To identify the key issues and attitudes of these individuals and groups, and measure the changes accomplished, the expressed a t titudes of some of the public sector officials involved have been collected through informal telephone interviews. HOV Vio l ation Rates It i s very difficult to assess basel ine information about the number of tickets written to HOV lan e violators because this is not reported directly Without this information, the follow-up conviction rates are also unattai nable, and there is no significant way to measure and compare citation rates by week month or year in South Florida It may be advisable to collect statistics for a one year period to reflec t all "Traffic Control Device" violations, but it is important to realize that this number will include ramp signals, failures to yield and "Safety Zone" lane violations, as well as HOV lane violations. FHP Lt. Rogers, Troop L. estimates that officers write approximately 150 tickets per day, and whereas up to 5 may have been challenged per day in the past, the number of challenges is now greater than 30 per day. Lt. Rogers made an analogy between the traffic court system and a popular TV game show for the way the FHP tickets are plead down or traded for smaller penalties In Dade County, Captain Ashley, Troop E, stated that enforce ment of the HOV lane has been suspended through June, 1995 when he expects completion of the facility and improved signage throu g h Dade County. I n Broward Cou nty Troop L Captain Rosman said that the HOV lane enforcement bas been "sporadic ... up to the individual troopers" and that because his troop is understaffed, priority has had to go to crashes and other more serious violations. -


According to FHP Lt. Rogers, Troop L, there are several obstac l es to writing violations to the HOV lane and tracking these numbers. Because there is no separate infraction listed on the ticket medium it is recorded as a control device violation, and then the officer writes "carpool lane violation" on the ticket as well. This makes counting the numbers of tickets written for this infraction impossible by any means other than hand sorting through all of the tickets written over a specific period of time and counting the number of HOV tickets issued Secondly, because ten different agencies patroll-95 in Palm Beach County alone, thei r tickets would also have to be sorted and counted. The only statistics reported back to the state of Florida generally relate to accidents, fatalities, DU!s and seat-belt violations. Carpool lane ticket statistics are not available. HOV Adjudication Results Traffic magi strates are officers of the traffic courts who resolve traffic and citation conflicts as an alternative to the defendant appearing before a traffic court j udg e The magistrates are practicing attorneys who work specific hours of a week or month, and rotate through traffic sate ll ite offices in the counties w hich hired them. For example, in Broward County, a magistrate's docket will contain up to seventy-five cases and most magistrates will work two s es sions in a day, processing between 121 and 1 50 case s in a four and one-half to five hour day. The onl y cases that go before a judge are those in which the person re qu ests a j udge or if the offense resulted in an accident. Broward County-The first Traffic Magistrate contacted was Ron Baum who is the Administrative Magistrate for the West Satellite Traffic office. Baum does not see any citations in the central offices, "Central Fort Lauderdale doesn't give them," but says that at least ten percent of the North and South satellite dockets may be HOV violation cases. Although the offe nse does not top h i s list of severity, "It's one of the least egregious infractions 1 still take them seriously though not the same as blowing a light." Mos t people Baum has encountered plead tha t they were braking and swerved t o avoid an accident or obstruction, the t imes were different (watch vs. real, Police wa tch vs. real...), or that they didn' t see the sign. They usually lose," said Baum. Traffic Magistrate Brenda Diloia is one of the newer magistrates and only works the South Satellite office, where she has observed that it seems to be the same office r writing all of the HOV tickets, although she could not recall his name. Although she only sees one or two cases every two weeks Diloia pointed out that when a defendant pleads that there was debris or an accident in the road that he/she was trying to avoid, it is very useful if the officer can say that he/she was following the individual in the carpool lane for longer than was reasonably necessary for the person to re turn to one of the regular flow lanes of traffic She does not accept when a person says that he/she was unaware that it was a carpool lane. The most interesting case Diloia has exper ienced was when a woman plead that because she was pregnant, she was permitted in the carpool lane Ratner t han challenge the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision on a control device violation, Diloia dismissed the case although she estimates that, in her experience about 4


70% of the carp ool lane vio lation s stick. Lo u Schi ff, t h e A d minis trat i ve Traffic Magistrate for the North Broward satellite has h andled about 70,000 cit a tion s in the five years he has served. Most of t he cases Schiff has seen have not been challenge d, although he cited some interest in g defenses, including an urn containing a relative's remains being considered a second person. The standard excuses have been presen t edTime confus ion, sign confus i on, and braking to avoid an accident. When a defendant tells Schiff that he didn't see the signs, Schiff asks th e FHP officer if be observed the def. pass under an HOV sign. If not, Schiff asks the defendant where he entered 1-95 and how long be had been travelling a long it when he was cited. Did you see the diamon d s ?", "Do you know what they mean ... ? Schiff asserted that "You've gotta be [s tupid) not to notice driving over diamonds," and h e will generally fine the i ndividual. Schiff f r equently withholds adjudica t ion and allows the person to pay $25-35 in court costs, and have n o points posted agains t th eir license. "I cons ider thi s a cit a tion of rudeness, I'm sensitive to these peop le, if t hey change their plea to 'no co n t e s t .... the insw:an.ce companies shouldn't drop people or raise their rat e s, a n d Broward county will raise revenue without these cita ti o ns .. .. There are more i mportan t things for police officers t o do, but people will conti nue to use carpoo l lanes, fine ... Schiff would like to see mor e signs p os t ed, "You can never have too many." T raffic M agi s tr a t e Carl os Llorente a lso o nly imposes nomi nal fine s agains t violators, and withholds adjudication most o f the time, even if the defendant bas an atrociou s driving record. Whereas he can charge the perso n $57 00 for the fine, impose thr e e point s, and charge $25 .00 in court cos ts, he will general ly only charge $25 t o 35 in costs Dade County-Magistrate David S h enkman c ann .ot recall ever hearing an HO Y lane violation case. Traffic Mag i stra t e E unice Martin has seen few H OY violations, and j u dges them on a case-b y case naru re. "! look mor e a t t he record than the nature of the offense." I f th e person h as m o re than three tickets over a two year per i od, Martin generally upholds the ticket. If the person s reco rd is clean, Martin will genera lly withhold a djudica t i on. She believes that there i s only one officer in Dade county writing HOY violations, m ost tend to igno re it. Traffic magistr ate Melissa Tenenbaum b as not see n any HOV v io lations on her d o cket and recalls memos telling magistrates to dismiss the tickets they may e nc ounter fo r this offense during the introdu ction of the Flyov er. Tenenbaum also pointed out that since Hurricane Andrew, she and o thers perceive a general "lack of courtesy" on the roads in South Florida that t hey do not remember as having existed before the catastrophe. In her view, the people who use emergency and HOV l anes to get around traffi c are just rude. Palm Beach CountyTraffic Mag istr ate Dominick Grosso said tha t if the driver ple ads no contest to an HOV violation he usually withholds adjudication and charges the $25.00 court cos ts. Overall, he likes the HOV lanes a n d believe they speed up traffic. 5


Traffic Magistrate Scott Kramer also serves on the Florida State Traffic Rules Committee, and believes be hears at least twice as many cases as any other magistrate in Palm Beach County. Unless the driver has a bad driving record or has a bad attitude with the officer, Kramer will withhold adjudication and charge court costs equivalent to the $57.00 charge. This way, he believes, the driver is still punished, but insurance rates will not go up which may have created a burden on the driver's family. Less than 10% of Kramer's HOV cases result in a conviction. Personally, Kramer supports the HOV lanes in Broward and Dade, but he doubts their effectiveness in Palm Beach County. Although he hears the complaining, he thinks the effectiveness of HOV lanes is negligible. Traffic Magistrate Carlos Llorente believes that the lanes should be given back to normal flow, and that they are a waste of time money, and effort. Considering the way Downtown Miami is spread out and poorly served by transit, he is convinced that carpooling is not the answer for south Florida and more energy should be put onto rail connecter lines As a magistrate, Llorente supports the traffic laws and decides each case on its own merits. Palm Beach County Traffic Magistrate John Boy kin requires that the charging officer brings in a copy of the enacting rule he followed to charge the motorist, and if the statut e is on point, the charge will generally stick for a to tal charge of$69.50 and three points. The excuses Boykin has accepted include a lane being shut down, if the driver has proof, a discrepancy over the exact time of day if it was close to one of the posted hours, and once a motorist told Boy kin that be had forgotten to change his car clock to reflect the daylight savings time shift. Traffic Magistrate Dominick Grosso said !hat most HOV tickets have been uncontested, and the only justifiable reason he has heard is one in which the driver used the HOV lane to avoid an accident. In summary, the prevailing attitudes from officials involved with the HOV lane implemen tatio n enforcement, and adjudication seem to be of a lack of suppo rt and apathy towards the carpool lane proj ect. The issues indicate that GCCS should plan to: I nfom1 the Flo r ida Highway Patrol officers bow the HOV lanes may improve traffic flow and the value of consistent rather than sporadic enforcement. Encourage the cooperation of courts and the field enforcement officers so that more of the c i tations can be adjudicated by preparing officers for the magistrates' questions and the drivers' challenges. Demonstrate to the FHP officers that the courts take HOY lanes more seriously. The rates of challenges may go down, and the officers are more likely to write tickets tha t they know the courts will support. According to the Institute of T raosportation Engineers, the violation rate seems to be more related to the level of enforcement than it is to the amount of the line. 6


As p:ut of the upcoming series of surveys, CUTR will collect information to help GCCS prepare the communications strategy and collateral material necessary to address the above situation . Current Traffic Counts, Occupancy Levels, :lJld Other Background Information. Bill Lewis, District 4 FOOT Traffic Operations. reported that the HOV lan es through Broww and Palm Beach Cou n ties are virtually the same. They both flow in both dire.:tions and the hours for operation are 7:00-9:00am and 4 : 00-6:00pm Access is unlimited to enter and egress the HOV lane, and they are marked with the standard white diamond pavement paint and signs posted regularly along the intersta te. According t o Lewis, Broward County experienc es average daily traffic (ADT) highs of 180 ,000 vehic les in North and South Broward, and 240,000 vehic l es in Central Broward Although the original p lan for HOV lanes in south Florida designated the lanes as HOV 3 (3 or more passengers per vehicle), FOOT petitioned the Federal Highway Administration to change the status t o HOV-2. The Broward lanes are complete, and the lanes in Palm Beach county will be completed as the roadway is improved and expanded, although this is planned outside the five yellt work program. From Palm Beach to Broward County, the only difference Lewis indicated is in the markings separating the HOV lane from the normal-flow lane in the two counties. In FOOT District 6, Planner Rory Santana referred inquiries for information to Doug Coomer who is compiling traffic data including average vehicle occupancy i nformation for Dade county about the I-95 project. Doug Coomer, a Vice-President with Kimley-Hom under contract to FOOT, has been contacte d and will share information with CUTR. T h e Tallahassee Safety Office of the FDOT makes information availab l e about crashes along I 95 in the HOY lane. although th is data will be difficult to process. Lula Revels in the Safe t y Office can provide information about traffic conflicts if she is given date ranges lane designation information, and any other S!)ecifications about the dnta. This data is typically sent in a print-out fashion. and can be macie available as data on a disk but requires a change in file output to yield usable data in anything othe r than printed fonn. The most recent annual data compiled is for 1 993 For the Safery Office to waive payment for this service. a contract number must be provided at the time of the request. CUTR will discuss the vaiue of this ciata with GCCS and FOOT Districts anci whether this data has been collected by FOOTs I 95 consultants. 3 Proposed enforceme nt meth ods CUTR has identified fiv e methods of enforcement currently i n use or under study in the country Enfo rcement p ersonnel dedicated to the facility. Enforc ement oersonnel who monitor the HOV faciiiry as only one of many res ponsibilities. Proerams to enc ourage individuals to vio lators. Foilowuo letters usuallv ... -. exo!ain the ouroose of the HOV faciiitv anci altetnative modes available to the . .


driver. Citation by mail to the owner of the vehicle, by matching license plates Video surveillance (under consideration in Texas Cal i fornia, and New York). A project conducted in the Seattle evaluated various HOV lane enforc emen t i ntensity techniques. The techniques included intensive (or continuous saturation) enforcement, once per week saturation enforcement, and once per week stationary enforcement. The researchers concluded "each type of enforcement effort helped i n lowering the number of HOV lane violations; however, it was not possible to determine which method was most effective. Violations decreased considerably during the first weeks of enforcement, regardless of the type of enforcement." They recommended using intensive enforcement only for the first three months (or less) of the operation of a new HOV facility After that time, the enforcement emphasis should revert to routine enforcement. CUTR also reviewed mat erials t o examine the fines and other penaltie s According t o Texas Transportation Institute, nationally, the fines are usually in the $50 to $80 range. Some areas have initial fines as high as $250. Jn California the rates increase for r epeat offenders over $1,000 plus court costs for the third viola t ion. Most violators also receive points toward license revocation. In some states the offense is defined as a moving violation which can increase the driver's car insurance rates. Conversations with magistrates in South Florida indicate they are sensitive to this impact and may contribute to thei r rel uctance to require more than a payment of court cos ts by the violator. The survey of publ i c officials will n eed to examine t his issue 4. Commuter attitudes toward HOV lanes After reviewing published li t erature and disc ussion s with individuals who de.sign and enforce HOV la n es and restrictions, several key i ssues typically appeared. The follov.oin g general t opics will be addressed t o assess attitudes and i mpressions ofHOV facilities in south Florida: 5. Other Awareness of HOV facilities, purpose, and penalties Public s upport for HOV lanes as a traftic mitigation strategy Cost-effectiveness ofHOV lanes versus other alternatives Travel t ime savings T ravel time rel iability Perceived enforcement practice (e.g. do polic e cite restricted l ane violators?) Perceived support of the courts Safety for commuters and FHP The "Flyover" ($40 million HOV bypass between the Dade-Broward county l ine and State Road 1 1 2 which rises 94 feet above the regular lanes of traffic) project presented a difficult public 8


relat ions situation when miscommunication between the Florida Department ofTransportation and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) put the commuters they were both trying to serve in an expensive, embarrassing and some would say, dangerous situation. The south F lorida press was quick to point out that although the FOOT invited all commuters to experience the Flyover without risking a ticket, the FHP was citing drive-a lone commuters as they came off of the Flyover with "Disobeying a traffic control device" because the HOV enforcement signs were still posted and had not been covered. The citation is equivalent to one a driver would receive for failing to stop at a stop sign or traffic light and carries a $57 fine (plus court charges) and three points against the driver's license. Because of the road splitting, and the unfamiliarity to the drivers of this corridor, the nwnber of minor acc i dents and near-hits has increased as vehicles mak e sudden stops at the Flyover approach or last-minute lane changes to change their route at the split. This problem is being solved by posting clearer signs, and through the media informing commuters how to avoid or use the Flyover. This situation shows the need for a coordinated communications strategy. Through tbc s ubsequent surveys, we may discover attitudes about the HOY facility reflect the early difficulties of the Flyover. NEXT STEPS Upon execution of the contract with FOOT District Four, CUTR will proceed with the sampl e design and development of the survey instruments for the commuters business leaders, and public officials based on the above findings. 9


The range of possib le objectives and possible measure s of effectiveness are s hown in the following table Objective Measures of Effectiveness J mprove the capability of a congested freeway corridor Actua l and percent inc r ease in t h e person movcmerlt t o move more people by increasing the numbtr of efficiency persons per vehic l e Ac. tua l and percent increase in AVO rate Actual and percent increase of carpoolers, vanpoolers., and b u s riders Increase the operating efficiency of bus service i n th e Improvements in vehicle freeway corridor + productivity ( operating cost per v ehicle -mile. operating c ost per passenger, operat ing wst per passenger mile) Improved bus schedule adherence (on-time performance) lm.proved b us safety (accident rates) Provide travel time savings and a more reliable nip time Peak-period, peak direction travel time in the HOV HOVs using the freeway corridor lanes shouJd be less th4ln the h'avel time in adjacent freeway lanes Increase in travel time reliability for vehicl es using HOY lanes Provide favorable impacts on air qu ality and energy Reduction in emissions consumpt i on Reduction in total fuel consumption Reduction in growth ofVMT and VHT I ncrease the per lane efficiency of the totaJ freeway Improvement in the peak hour per Jane efficiency of the faciliry total facility Should not unduly i mpact the ope r a t ion of the freeway T h e level of service in the freeway mainlanes shou l d mainlines not decline Operate safely for m oto r ists, Number a n d severity of accidents for HOY and freeway lanes Accident rate per million VMT Accident rate per million passenger miles of travel Should have public suppor< Support for the facility among users, n o n-users, general publ i c and policy makers Violation rates (perc.cnt of vehicles not meeting the occupancy requi r emen t Should be c ost-effective Benefit-cost ratio 10


This marketing plan will be designed to improve the education and awareness of the HOV lane project among the commuters who are eligible to use the lane, the FOOT offices which maintain the facility, the law enforcement agencies charged with enforcing the lan e restrictions, and the coun system which will uphold or withhold adjudication of those caught in violation of the law. To change the attitudes of these individuals and groups, and measure the changes accomplished, the expressed atti tudes of some of the public-sector officials involved have been collected through informal telephone interviews. 11


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