The trial high-occupancy vehicle policy enforced in the northbound lanes of Freeway No. 5 on the past two Sundays has been effective in improving traffic flow, the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau said, but expressed concern that it would be a big challenge to manpower if it is to be enforced on a regular basis.
In an effort to ease the jam-packed traffic during weekends on Freeway No. 5, which links New Taipei City (新北市) and Yilan County, the bureau conducted a trial high-occupancy vehicle policy on two days, limiting road use to vehicles with more than three passengers.
The two days were chosen to coincide with the first and second weekends of the annual Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival.
“Without enforcing the policy, drivers often complained about having to wait for more than an hour at freeway junctions,” Traffic Management Division official Hsu Fu-shen (徐福聲) said. “During the policy enforcement hours [2pm to 8pm] on those two days, the average waiting time for entering the freeway at junctions was shortened to less than 30 minutes.”
The bureau also observed an increase in traffic flow on the northbound side of Provincial Highway No. 9 (台九線) during the trial period, such as an increased traffic flow of about 800 to 1,000 vehicles on the first day of the trial period. This indicated that enforcing the policy contributed to diverting traffic from Freeway No. 5, Hsu said.
However, he added that although the policy proved to be effective, there is still the problem of a manpower shortage to enforce the policy on a regular basis.
Related government agencies would negotiate and work on drafting plans to reduce the manpower needed before enforcing the policy as a matter of course, he said.