When Jakarta ditched its controversial ‘three-in-one’ car-sharing rule many in the city expected the traffic to get better. It didn’t. A Harvard and MIT study analysed before-and-after Google traffic data to find out what happened

Driving in Jakarta at rush hour is something of a nightmare. The city’s 9.6 million population swells each work day with an additional 3.5 million people travelling in from outskirts, mostly by car or bus. Driving 25 miles from the suburb Bogor takes on average two hours, or even three. By some measures, Jakarta has the worst traffic in the world. Others only put it in the top 25; regardless, Jakarta drivers are guaranteed to spend significant portions of their lives stuck in gridlock.

To help alleviate the problem, the city implemented one of the world’s most stringent car-pooling policies. First launched in 2003, the “three-in-one” high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane rule required private vehicles to carry three people to drive on the main roads in Jakarta’s central business district, from 7-10am and 4.30-7pm.

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