Does 2+ mean two or more or three or more in HOV lanes?

The in basket: Harry Mock of Port Orchard writes to say, “On Highway 304 and numerous other places, there are HOV lanes with signs saying “HOV only, 2+”.  Does the “2+” mean two people or more, or more than 2 people (i.e. 3 or more)?  Can a vehicle with two occupants use the HOV lane, or does it require three?  Just trying to stay legal.”

It’s not a question that had ever occurred to me. I think I already knew that HOV lanes in this state were open to any vehicle with two or more occupants before I ever saw one of the 2+ signs. But I can see where the meaning of 2+ might be unclear to someone who hadn’t learned that. I asked the state if saying “Two or more” might be better.

The out basket: Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for this region, replies, “The sign does mean two or more. As for it being rephrased, this has been the standard for over 20 years and this is the first time I have ever heard of someone not understanding the message.  I doubt there is widespread misunderstanding of the meaning.”

As past Road Warrior columns have noted, any second living person, even an infant or blind person, qualifies a vehicle for use of the HOV lane. Why specify “living?” I’ve had the question, probably posed in jest, as to whether a corpse in a hearse would serve as a second occupant. It won’t.

7 thoughts on “Does 2+ mean two or more or three or more in HOV lanes?

  1. Travis, another question about these HOV lanes.

    These lanes are great for rush hour time, but they sit nearly empty at other times. Could Bremerton maybe change the HOV restrictions to only certain times of the day, like some HOV lanes on Bainbridge island? That’d be pretty convenient, I don’t like having to merge at the end of the non-HOV lane.

  2. 2< would be more clear. That everybody driving there seems to know what it means isn't good enough. Signs are supposed to be clear and 2+ isn't.

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