The man who is credited with developing the High Occupancy Toll Lane concept said most cities have launched their toll lanes more smoothly than metro Atlanta.
"This is probably the roughest start up that I've ever seen," said Robert Poole, director of transportation at Reason Foundation, a public policy think tank.
Poole said he was surprised at how few drivers used the HOT lanes in the first few days of the project.
"The anger is what surprised me," Poole told CBS Atlanta in an exclusive interview on Monday. "I've never seen that before."
Many commuters have said their drive times have increased because they refuse to use the toll lanes. During many morning and evening rush hours, that has led to backed-up traffic on the non-toll lanes.
"Obviously, there's something flawed with the design," said driver Kate Girard.
Poole said transportation leaders' big mistake was the high toll prices in the first days of the HOT lanes opening.
"I was really shocked by how few used it, then again the price was a shock to a lot of people," said Poole. "It was higher than it should have been."
Poole said other cities that introduced HOT lanes offered free or reduced-priced trips on the toll lanes.
"Start with zero or low price," said Poole. "Get people intrigued with saving all that time."
The HOT lane founder also said Georgia needed to do a better job of educating drivers before the toll lanes opened.
The State Road and Tollway Authority pointed out it held nearly 70 community meetings prior to the launch of the project.
Poole urged commuters to give the toll lanes a chance.
"Commuters, give those guys a break. Give it a try and see now that it's starting to shake out as a normal operating situation," said Poole. "Is there good value there for the money?"
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