Report Title:

Traffic Gridlock


Requires DOT to research the feasibility of modifying highway and roadway systems to alleviate traffic. Creates a private citizen's traffic task force. Authorizes DOT to work with the private transportation industry to develop systems that complement Honolulu's bus system and better service commuters.


S.B. NO.









relating to traffic.



SECTION 1. In September 2003, the week the majority of Hawaii's schools started their fall semester, TheBus drivers went on strike. After three weeks, TheBus drivers went back to work, but fifteen per cent or more riders have so far not returned to TheBus. Traffic experts say the decrease in ridership is due to the increase in fares.

The strike provided a valuable lesson for Hawaii's transportation departments, political leaders, and the public. Oahu's traffic started to flow more smoothly thanks in part to the department of transportation (department) opening its high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to all drivers, rather than just to automobiles with two or more passengers. The department also opened the zipper lane to two or more drivers, rather than its standard three or more drivers.

Hawaii's commuters saw the obvious: more lanes, not fewer lanes, make traffic flow more smoothly and quickly. TheBus strike actually made the public realize the city's bus rapid transit plan to use exclusive lanes, while cutting off lanes from general traffic on several of Hawaii's major Honolulu thoroughfares, is not the way to make traffic flow faster, but would only make traffic even more stagnant.

The legislature finds that there may be more cost-efficient and effective solutions to Hawaii's traffic problems than what is being proposed.

The purpose of this Act is to direct the department of transportation to research alternative ways to modify our highway and roadway systems to alleviate traffic, work with the private transportation industry to complement the bus system, and create a private citizen's traffic task force.

SECTION 2. The department of transportation shall:

(1) Research the possibility of modifying the center of the H-1 freeway to facilitate a reversible transit way;

(2) Develop alternative transit routes between Waiawa and downtown Honolulu; and

(3) Collaborate with various private transportation providers to implement a system to assist current government subsidized transportation systems.

SECTION 3. (a) There is established in the department of transportation, for administrative purposes, a citizen's traffic task force. The purpose of this task force shall be to:

(1) Identify the major contributors to traffic congestion; and

(2) Make specific recommendations to alleviate the traffic congestion.

(b) The task force shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including recommended legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2005, and shall cease to exist on June 30, 2005.

(c) The task force shall consist of eleven members and shall be composed of private citizens employed in the transportation industry and appointed as follows:

(1) Two members appointed by the chairperson of the senate standing committee on transportation, military affairs, and government operations;

(2) Two members appointed by the chairperson of the house of representatives standing committee on transportation;

(3) One member appointed by the president of the senate;

(4) One member appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;

(5) Two members appointed by the governor;

(6) Two members appointed by the director of transportation; and

(7) One member appointed by the mayor of the city and county of Honolulu.

(d) The department of transportation may work in conjunction with and through the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization to secure any federal funding that may be available to effectuate the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.