Counting you in your car

From the Washington Post: Infrared Scans May Regulate HOT Lanes. The latest technology used to detect cheaters in HOV/HOT lanes.
(1) Hopefully they won’t throw out this data after its collected (see previous post on LA), it does have valuable planning uses in predicting mode utilization.
(2) Any semblance of privacy you thought you had is gone, hopefully we can watch the watchers just as easily as they watch us. David Brin’s Transparent Society is interesting in this regard.
(3) The amount of effort we go to in order to enforce minor rules is amazing. In the absence of congestion on the HOV lane, (and the presence of congestion in the general purpose lanes) it is actually efficient for there to be some small amount of cheating: it takes a car out of the congested lanes, puts it in the uncongested lanes (without congesting them) and produces a net benefit to society. Too much clearly would congest the HOV/HOT lanes. It reminds one of the expression “A Puritan is someone who is deathly afraid that someone somewhere is having fun.” The point isn’t that it is costing society to have some cheating, the point is that “free riding” is cheating and “unfair” whatever that means.