The Transportation Ministry launched Israel’s first-ever carpool lanes on Friday in a bid to reduce traffic congestion in the center of the country.
As of October 4, cars with more than one passenger will be allowed to use a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on a 22-kilometer stretch of the Ayalon Highway, and a 30-kilometer stretch on Route 2 between Tel Aviv and Netanya.
The HOV lane will be extended at a later date to other parts of the highway, and will only include vehicles with three or more occupants
The new lanes are designed to reduce traffic congestion in the greater Tel Aviv area by motivating drivers to carpool with other passengers.
According to Ministry of Transportation data, private vehicles in Israel carry an average of 1.2 people (driver included), while the average in other OECD countries is between 1.6 and 1.8 occupants per vehicle.
The ministry says that increasing vehicle occupancy will significantly reduce travel time, cost and vehicle congestion.
Having a dedicated lane will allow for faster and more reliable commutes while letting us utilize roads more effectively,” Transportation Minster Bezalel Smotrich said in a statement. “Those who would like to continue using private vehicles will have to pay a price, because their travel times increase as fewer lanes become available to them.”