An Incentive to End Traffic

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Traffic in Chicago, IL (Steven Vance/flickr)

If you're a driver on the Stanford University campus in California, you might just win some money these days for driving during off-peak hours as part of a new program that launched this spring. The program is called Capri, for Congestion and Parking Relief Incentives. 

Capri has already led some Stanford drivers, like Amaya Odiaga, the director of business operations for Stanford University’s physical education department, to change their behavior. Amaya recently won $15 in the program.

But not every traffic expert is sure the incentives program will lead to long-term results. Among them: Rachel Weinberger, professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Auto Motives: Understanding Car Use Behaviors.” 


Rachel Weinberger

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [3]


Unfortunately, alternative forms of travel are more difficult the further you live from work. Taking the bus to my job 30 miles away would require me to walk a mile from my home to the stop (not a big deal in summer; no fun in blizzards when it's pitch-dark out). Between bus transfers, etc., Google Maps estimates my trip would take up to three hours (I suspect that's a bit of an overestimation, but still). Another mile's walk between bus stop and work.

I signed up for my state's carpool-matching service. So far the only people I've heard from don't live or work that close to me, and they're all people without cars who want to be driven (since my goal is to reduce mileage on my car by sharing driving, having to go out of my way to pick up/drop off someone else is a step in the wrong direction).

Moving closer not much of an option as I've established a life here (including moving my mother from elsewhere to be near me), and there isn't much down that way/more congestion as far as population (coworkers who live down there can't believe I can just go to a restaurant and not have to wait half an hour to get in). Work was closer until I was moved to a different office.

Being able to make a short drive to work/take public transportation/carpool would be heaven.

Jun. 16 2012 06:57 PM
Brad from Detroit, MI

To me, the main inhibitor is that many local governments and employers do not help enable alternative forms of travel at least here in Michigan. I have a 20 mile one-way commute that I would ride my bike for (which would take me out of the traffic equation) but there are no bike lanes. There are no bike paths, bike bridges, etc. At the office, there are no bike locks, racks, or storage. There isn't lockers, showers, changing area at work, etc.

So while most people wouldn't opt for as long of a bike commute, if we really want to reduce traffic, there needs to be effective government and business policy updates to encourage it. Don't give incentives to drive at a different time. Give a nice incentive for people to take alternative transportation like bikes. Reduces traffic AND obesity. Proverbial two birds with one stone, if you will.

Jun. 13 2012 01:37 PM
homebuilding from oklahoma city


Far more can be done to help with car pooling.

No extra charge for THREE people in the car

Modest increases for TWO people in the car.

Highest cost for only ONE person in the car, especially and designated
rush hours.

Far more can be done to register for driving and riding in a carpool--
Matches could be made via a 'dating' questionnaire:
work hours in/out
no radio
npr only
no conversation
only ten minutes of conversation
no religion/politics

Nothing such as this exists to my knowledge, especially in my SUV rich 'culture'

Jun. 13 2012 11:09 AM

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