Comparing Leeward Oahu Traffic Alternatives

by Brandon Bosworth

Faced with the problem of increasing congestion on Oahu motorways, Mayor Mufi Hannemann and others have come out strongly in favor of a rail transit system. While rail is sometimes offered as the best solution for the island’s traffic woes, a recent study by Professor Panos D. Prevedouros and the University of Hawaii Congestion Study Group (UHCS) Transportation Alternatives Analysis for Mitigating Traffic Congestion between Leeward Oahu and Honolulu shows that this is not the case.

The study used “detailed microsimulation to provide a fuller list of alternatives” to rail transit and offered “precise quantification of their effects on traffic congestion.” The alternative Dr. Prevedouros and the UHCS researched for potential effectiveness included new underpasses, high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, and a tunnel under Pearl Harbor. They compared these alternatives to rail, and found rail to come up short in terms of costs and effectiveness.