The psychology of daily versus monthly parking fees

Several major employers in Seattle are trying innovative ways to charge for commuter parking. These employers found that how parking for commuters is priced—on a daily vs. a monthly basis—makes a big difference in their employees’ commuting habits. By allowing their employees the flexibility to choose their commute mode on a day-to-day basis, these companies show sustained decreases in the number of employees commuting alone to work in their cars.

Downtown Seattle’s drive-alone commute share drops to 30 percent

Despite an influx of jobs in Seattle’s downtown area, the number of people driving to work has barely changed since 2010. According to a survey from Commute Seattle, a non-profit working with downtown employers, the working population in and around downtown increased by 45,000 in the past six years, but drive-alone commutes increased by approximately 2,255 morning trips. Drive-alone commute mode share decreased from 35 percent to 30 percent in the same time period. So how did the city accomplish that?

Downtown Seattle’s drive-alone commute share drops to 30 percent

Despite an influx of jobs in Seattle’s downtown area, the number of people driving to work has barely changed since 2010. According to a survey from Commute Seattle, a non-profit working with downtown employers, the working population in and around downtown increased by 45,000 in the past six years, but drive-alone commutes increased by approximately 2,255 morning trips. Drive-alone commute mode share decreased from 35 percent to 30 percent in the same time period. So how did the city accomplish that?

New research reinforces the importance of the built environment to cycling mode share

A recently published study from Montreal sheds new light on the importance of the built environment in influencing bicycle commuting and the resulting impacts on greenhouse gas emissions. The researchers also estimated the effect of bicycle infrastructure accessibility on cycling mode share. They estimated the effect of the new bicycle infrastructure as yielding a 1.7 percent reduction in transportation GHG emissions, roughly equivalent to the estimated effects of replacing the city’s buses with hybrid models and electrifying the city’s commuter trains.

San Francisco Bay Area MPO launches interactive performance measure portal

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which has drawn attention for its rigorous performance measure-driven transportation plan, is expanding its use of performance measures with a publicly accessible portal called Vital Signs. Launched on January 28, Vital Signs is “an interactive tool that Bay Area residents can use to track the region’s progress toward reaching key transportation, land use, environmental and economic policy goals,” MTC said in a press release.

Commuter tax benefits: Who wins and loses?

A new report from TransitCenter shines a light on the federal Commuter Tax Benefits program and the impact the program has on mode choice. While the concept of excluding from taxation income spent on transportation to work may sound reasonable, in practice the program is heavily skewed in favor of drivers, provides a disproportionate benefit to the wealthy, costs taxpayers billions of dollars per year in uncollected revenue, and adds over 800,000 car commuters, driving over 4.6 billion additional miles per year to the nation’s road system.

Private transit services offer commutes with amenities

Cities around the U.S. are seeing a new style of transit that is a cross between the (in)famous Google buses, smartphone-driven Uber and Lyft, and standard city transit systems. Neither exclusive to one company nor attempting to cover the city, these “pop-up bus services” are geared to those who live in certain neighborhoods and work downtown, have smartphones and a few extra dollars, and desire a direct commute and pleasant atmosphere.

Bicycle data: Filling the gaps

A decade’s worth of data now shows bicycle commuting and trip-making continuing to rise around the nation. And yet, by most measures, funding and infrastructure for bicycles have not kept pace. Neither have data collection and analysis. Recognizing the problems associated with missing data, transportation, researchers, and independent enthusiasts are all stepping up to fill that gap.