HOV lane or High Occupancy Lane refers to a designated lane for vehicles with multiple passengers to pass through during the entire day or specific times. In most cases, vehicles with at least 2 or 3 passengers including the driver are allowed to pass through a HOV lane. The basic purpose of having a HOV lane is to transport more people rather than more cars at a given day or specific time period. In some areas, regular lanes are converted to HOV lanes during peak hours of traffic to ease congestion and allow more passengers to pass through.
The concept of creating HOV lanes basically started out of the need to decongest freeways and highways with heavy vehicle traffic. In order to maximize the existing roads and lanes, people have basically come up with the idea of designating a special lane for cars that carry more than 1 passenger. This is to ensure that in a heavy traffic situation, more people will be able to pass through with fewer cars. The concept of having High Occupancy Vehicle lanes also translates to more people joining car-pooling services. Instead of driving alone to go to work every day for example, many people have resorted to joining car-pool services provided by their own companies or creating their own. with these efforts, more people are able to pass through a section of the highway during peak hours and at a faster rate because of fewer vehicles.
In many countries that implement HOV lanes, the minimum passenger load is either 2 or 3 including the driver. Family vans and school bus services are automatically allowed to use HOV lanes because of the high-occupancy. In most cases, people riding motorcycles are allowed to use HOV lanes for safety reasons. HOV lanes are also referred to as carpool lanes or transit lanes in other areas or countries around the world.