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Why Commuter Incentive Programs Are Important

Society at-large is becoming increasingly aware of the problems created by the overuse of single-occupancy vehicles. Even so, traffic congestion, pollution, and urban parking challenges still pose serious concerns. Commuting continues to be an enormous source of environmental impact.

Individual employers have an important role to play in moving towards a greener, healthier tomorrow. By taking the lead and encouraging commuters to use smarter, environmentally friendlier modes of travel, businesses can accelerate the path to progress.

The most effective way to get people to start using alternative ways of getting to work is to offer commuter incentive programs. These programs give commuters an added reason to embrace smarter modes of travel. Here’s why:

Help people take that all-important first step

Often the single biggest obstacle to change is taking that initial step, abandoning comfortable habits in order to try something new and different. This resistance is a common and natural part of the change cycle. Ask any smoker who’s managed to “butt out” about those difficult first days.

Incentive programs create financial, social, and community benefits to participants. They’re ideal for jump-starting commuter programs and getting people moving in the right direction.

Commuter incentive programs can target sub-groups in an equitable manner

Identifying specific sub-groups of employees who need a stronger nudge towards smart commuting is a good strategy. But, it’s difficult to mobilize these commuters into action without calling them out for having habits that you want to change. Targeted incentive programs offer an straightforward solution to a complex challenge.

Incentives are positive change makers

Congestion pricing. Exorbitant parking fees. Fuel surcharges. These are all examples of negative motivations for behavior change. They punish people for doing bad, rather than rewarding them for doing good.

Commuter incentive programs are just the opposite. They serve as positive change makers. From a psychological standpoint they’re a much more effective way to get people to adopt new habits.

The RideAmigos suite of commuter management software tools puts incredible power into the hands of organizations that want to create positive change. With a wide range of features for implementing commuter incentives and challenges, RideAmigos makes it easy for program administrators to get employees thinking differently about how they get to work.

Our goal at RideAmigos is to make commuter programs as easy and effective as possible. Want to find out how your current programs could be improved? Take our quick, 2-question survey and receive a free program analysis based on your top priorities:

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Using Pokémon Go to promote smart commuting

The Pokémon Go craze is sweeping the country like a tidal wave! This addictive game has already generated a massive following of die-hard players since its recent release. With ongoing international debuts, its popularity isn’t expected to slow.

How can those of us with an interest in encouraging smarter commuting use this huge trend as a way to lure more people to skip the solo drive?

Transit

Several municipalities are actively promoting Pokémon Go as part of their local public transit networks. L.A.’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has launched a Twitter account instructing players on the places they can go to catch Pokémon within their system. Other transit marketers and managers can follow their lead and promote playing while riding as a great way to “catch ‘em all” while also catching a ride to work.

Bike

Playing Pokémon Go while driving is never a good idea. Playing while biking can be promoted as a safer and healthier alternative. Using a smartphone securely mounted on a bike’s handlebars, a cyclist can see when Pokémon, PokéStops, or gyms are near. Riders can then easily detour off the street or bike path and out of harm’s way while they capture, battle, or train. Encouraging commuters to play Pokémon Go by bike might even inspire them to take the long way home, leading to more fun, more health benefits, and a higher likelihood they’ll bike to work in the future!

Rideshare

One of the best ways to promote smart commuting to players of Pokémon Go is through rideshare programs. Employees and neighbors can form a group with fellow Pokémon trainers, taking turns driving so everyone has a chance to play. They’ll have fun enjoying the wildly popular game, enhancing social and professional connections, and cutting down on traffic congestion.

If your business or organization is looking for tools to promote smarter, environmentally friendly commuting alternatives, our RideAmigos software platform offers a complete range of solutions. From public transit and biking to ridesharing and vanpooling, the RideAmigos platform delivers. Not only that, but we can even incorporate special Pokémon-related incentives or marketing!  To learn more, just contact us or sign up to check out our free, comprehensive demo video.

Tech Tools to Solve the Parking Crunch

Parking is a major cause of traffic congestion and urban air pollution. How can technology help?

It’s a problem that practically every city dweller is familiar with: reaching a destination, only to find there’s nowhere to park.

A recent research project compiled by University of California-Los Angeles professor Donald Shoup found that it can take the average driver up to 14 minutes to find a parking spot. As much as 74 percent of parking congestion in major urban centers results from drivers looking for parking.

Clearly, parking is a major contributor to urban traffic and pollution problems. In searching for solutions, individual drivers and municipalities, businesses, and universities can take advantage of new technological tools to make parking easier, faster and more efficient.    

A Great Start: Smarter Parking

Here are a few examples of the innovative, technology-driven strategies municipalities are using to help manage parking-related issues:

San Francisco – The SFPark system  is one of the most successful examples of dynamic, technology-based solutions to parking challenges. Interfacing directly with the city’s parking infrastructure, SFPark tracks availability in real time, alerting users to parking garages that have the greatest number of available spaces. Drivers can head straight to where the parking is, rather than wasting time and fuel searching for a spot.

Boston – In Boston’s south end, similar technology is in use. A new app, called the Parker, displays parking availability information in real time, and also delivers turn-by-turn directions to drivers.

Minnesota – A recent collaboration between the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies and MnDOT uses cameras to automatically detect parking available at truck stops. Real-time data is made available through the web, electronic road signs, and even in-cab messaging.

Sydney – The city of Sydney has developed its own unique take, designed for commuters who drive into the city for work. There, drivers can use an app developed by parking company Divvy to find vacant spaces available for rent in buildings. Commuters can save hundreds of dollars a month by renting a spot instead of paying for street parking, all while eliminating congestion.

Even Better: Reduce the Need

Making the most efficient use of available parking is an important step, but an even more effective route is reducing the need for parking by making it easier for people to carpool, bike, walk, or take public transit. To that end, here are some proven techniques organizations use to cut back on parking demand:

  • Colleges and universities can launch rideshare networks and vanpool services, or subsidize public transportation passes to get people using alternative modes. These campus parking solutions can save schools huge amounts of money by liberating them from the need to build onerous and expensive new parking facilities.
  • Businesses who own or lease their parking facilities can use innovative techniques to encourage employees to ditch the solo drive in favor of smart alternatives. Proven strategies to reduce enterprise parking costs include parking cash-out programs, earn-a-bike programs, and challenge and incentive programs that reward commuters for sharing rides, using transit, or adopting active commuting.
  • Government employers can use similar techniques to drive behavior change and scale down parking demand. Maximizing government parking is especially important, since public funds are used to cover operating costs.
  • Municipalities are moving toward strategies that make solo driving and parking less appealing from a cost perspective. Faced with more expensive parking and other tolls, many would-be solo motorists will make better use of available alternatives.

All of these programs and policies can be designed, promoted, refined, and administered with advanced software tools specifically designed for the transportation demand management market.

Manage Parking Needs with the RideAmigos Platform

Transportation demand management software like the RideAmigos platform offers powerful tools for managing parking assets and reducing parking demand. Our software can integrate with parking infrastructure in dynamic ways, and it can also help you create and manage programs that reduce or even eliminate the need for parking altogether. Through powerful trip planning tools and highly customizable incentive programs, our platform helps users take advantage of the many available alternatives to solo driving.

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Photo Credit: Steve Morgan

Plan Now for Fall Semester University Parking Needs

Use summer downtime to plan ahead for the upcoming fall semester’s parking requirements

With graduation having come and gone for another year, college and university administrators can start thinking ahead to the upcoming fall semester. Though campus parking lots may be empty now, in a couple of months they’ll be brimming with vehicles as students, faculty, and staff compete for spots.

Advance planning is the key to managing parking and vehicle overflow issues. Strategies can be broadly grouped into three main categories: creating sound parking policies, making the most of mass transit options, and introducing new ways to manage traffic flow.

Colleges and universities have generated beneficial results by adjusting their parking policies, using techniques like:

  • Assigning parking passes based on seniority and the individual’s role in the campus community, giving first dibs to the longest-tenured community members and those with a demonstrated need for on-campus parking
  • Introducing mobile parking meters, which improve traffic flow by preventing the need for drivers to find stationary meters
  • Increasing parking rates so more people choose alternative modes of transportation

To that end, university administrators can encourage community members to take better advantage of mass transit options:

  • Offer subsidized transit passes, or work transit pass costs into existing student fee schedules
  • Use campus shuttles to help staff and students get around large campuses quickly and without driving

Finally, keep traffic flow rates under control by:

  • Spreading out class schedules over the course of the day to reduce traffic congestion
  • Making central campus areas inaccessible to drivers, forcing them to park on the periphery of the campus and walk, bike, or use shuttles
  • Eliminating daytime traffic altogether; a growing number of universities have completely shut down campuses to vehicles during daytime hours to great effect

Technological tools can support campus transportation initiatives

Transportation demand management software like the RideAmigos platform offers major benefits to colleges and universities looking to reduce parking demand. Our platform’s commute trip planner tool is invaluable for staff and students who live off campus, helping them build efficient and green-friendly transportation plans that help them save money while reducing traffic burdens. Administrators can set up incentive programs and challenges to encourage the use of transportation alternatives. Event travel planning and event ridesharing programs help ease congestion during extra-busy times, like homecoming, football games, and parents’ weekends. 

Ready to learn more? Please contact us or view a free, comprehensive video demonstration of our revolutionary software.

Photo credit: mehmet canli

Overcoming Congestion By Empowering Commuters

All too often, conventional approaches to fighting traffic congestion amount to little more than wasted taxpayer money.

To the growing frustration of many taxpayers, municipalities and government agencies around the country are throwing money at inefficient ways to relieve the ever-present problem of traffic congestion. Consider the following examples:

  • Colorado’s state government recently proposed a $1.2 billion plan to widen the I-70 freeway in Denver
  • The city of Louisville, Kentucky is bankrolling the expansion of the I-71 freeway from four lanes to six
  • The state of Iowa wants to broaden U.S. Highway 20 up to four lanes to accommodate the growing demands of car-based travel
  • Alabama’s state government supports to widen the I-20/59 freeway — a highway that runs right through Birmingham’s city center

While they may provide the illusion of relief over the short term, these approaches amount to more pollution, more concrete, more construction and more problems in the future. They aren’t effectively addressing the root causes of gridlock and traffic-generated pollution; they’re simply masking the issue. We need commuters to think differently about their transportation options.

Planning for a better future can’t be done by catering to the needs of single-occupancy vehicles. Rather, governments must find ways to inspire commuters and travelers to make better use of alternatives like biking, walking, ridesharing, carpooling, vanpooling and public transit. How? By putting a new generation of powerful transportation planning tools into the hands of an increasingly larger base of users.

At RideAmigos, we’ve created a smarter way forward in the form of our critically-acclaimed transportation demand management software platform. It enables municipalities and governments to strategize and promote alternatives that generate meaningful results by transforming the ways people think about getting from point A to B.

Empowering commuters to make fully-informed transportation decisions is our specialty at RideAmigos. We provide end users with innovative and easy-to-use tools like an interactive commuter dashboard and multimodal trip planner to consider the wide array of options beyond single-occupancy vehicles.

A small investment in technology can pay big dividends and facilitate more effective allocation of limited resources.

Our user-focused software has been proven time and time again to reduce reliance on single-occupancy vehicles and make alternative options more accessible and more convenient than ever before. Effective solutions to traffic congestion happen when municipalities and governments take decisive steps to make it easier for people to leave their cars at home, and that’s the power of the RideAmigos platform.

Make better use of taxpayer dollars and be part of the solution rather than just sweeping the problem under the rug of a widened freeway. Contact RideAmigos today for an informative, eye-opening demonstration of the incredible power of our unique technology.

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Reducing Parking Costs

Reducing parking costs doesn’t just boost your bottom line, it also helps the environment and creates a safer community

Providing employees with safe, accessible parking places can cost businesses thousands of dollars per month. This is especially true for companies with offices in high-demand areas, where multiple enterprises have to compete for limited resources.

The most direct path to reducing parking costs is to get employees to leave their cars at home and find alternative ways of getting to work. After all, the cheapest parking spot is one that isn’t needed in the first place.

It isn’t just businesses that can benefit by reducing demand for parking. Community colleges and universities are constantly struggling to make the best possible use of their limited parking resources. Assigning and managing parking passes can be a complicated process that drains finances and makes inefficient use of employee time.

Campus safety is another big concern for college and university administrators. One of the best ways to build a pedestrian-friendly school community is to scale back the number of vehicles using campus roads. Commuter management software tools like the RideAmigos platform helps achieve this while simultaneously reducing demand for parking.

Helping commuters find efficient transportation alternatives is the key to reducing parking costs

Connecting commuters to transportation options that don’t require parking is the simplest and most effective way to cut costs and enhance community safety. The RideAmigos platform puts powerful tools in the hands of businesses and organizations, making it easy to:

  • Create and manage carpool, bikepool, and rideshare networks
  • Put commuters who live in the same area in contact with each other
  • Find a complete range of local transportation alternatives, including public transit, rideshares, vanpools, and walking/biking routes
  • Save journey details for easy future reference
  • Create and manage commuter challenge and incentive programs that give people added impetus to participate
  • Build custom commuter networks for easier program management
  • Generate custom reports to track program progress and make strategic improvements

Together, these capabilities have the potential to dramatically reduce parking costs and relieve traffic congestion.

With an industry-leading suite of powerful commuter management features, the RideAmigos platform is the ideal partner for enterprises and organizations looking to cut parking costs by getting community members out of single-occupancy vehicles.

To learn more about how our revolutionary platform can help your business or organization reduce parking needs and increase commuter satisfaction, contact us today or sign up to view our free video demonstration.