It certainly can. Two people carpooling takes one vehicle off of the road; more people in each vehicle cuts down on traffic even more. In addition, there tends to be less traffic in the carpool lane itself, which makes for a faster commute.
I know that in Southern California the carpool lane can be a life-saver in times of heavy traffic. When I drive home from work during the week with a friend, the carpool lane is almost always open. However, when I drive on the carpool lane during the weekend, I sometimes find it to be more congested than the normal freeway lanes! I just assume more people are carpooling during the weekend, but still, this is an issue worth mentioning.
Also, the addition of hybrid vehicles with access to the carpool lane with no passengers didn’t help matteres either.
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