What Does Pov Mean on the Expressway Lane?

by Jesse S. Smith
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Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Nam Nguyen

As you drive down the interstate expressway, you may see a sign above a lane that refers to a POV. POV is simply an abbreviation for Privately Owned Vehicle.

The Problem: Rush Hour

Most city dwellers are familiar with the high volume of traffic that clogs highways and thoroughfares during rush hour. The problem has existed for years and shows no sign of disappearing.

The Solution: HOV Lanes

To help deal with heavy traffic, the Federal Highway Administration has designated high-occupancy express lanes in cities across the country. By restricting use of these lanes to cars with multiple passengers, highway officials hope to encourage carpooling and mitigate traffic congestion problems. These lanes are known as HOV or High Occupancy Vehicle lanes; or often simply as "the carpool lane."

Your POV in the HOV

An express lane sign specifying that access is granted to POV--Privately Owned Vehicles--is making a distinction between private cars with multiple passengers and public transit vehicles such as buses.

Public Transit

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Because buses can hold so many more passengers at once, they are generally given higher priority use of the HOV lane. A bus with 58 passengers is carrying the same number of people as 29 two-person carpool vehicles. The bus is, in a sense, a heavy-duty carpool.

Restricted Access

Some municipalities may give private vehicles access to HOV lanes only at specified times and restrict the lanes to buses at other times.

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