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Regional Consortium Wins $1 Million Federal Grant for Technology-based Commute Alternatives

A regional consortium of stakeholders has teamed up to win a $1 million federal grant for a demonstration project to reduce single-occupant vehicle driving from 75 percent to 50 percent in the Bay area using commuter trip reduction software, a multimodal trip planning app and workplace parking rebates, the City of Palo Alto and Joint Venture Silicon Valley announced today.

The grant is for the Bay Area Fair Value Commuting Demonstration project, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Mobility on Demand initiative. The initiative is designed to help communities nationwide incorporate the latest technology into their public transit services, including first/last mile connections, smart congestion management, improved shuttle services and more. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the award publicly on Oct. 13 at the White House Frontiers Conference.

"We can only solve our transportation challenges through a regional approach that expands mobility options using smart technology that is integrated into our existing public transit infrastructure," said Palo Alto City Manager James Keene. “This grant allows us to continue to make progress on commute alternatives for the future.”

The regional grant was part of nearly $8 million in funding for projects that use smartphone apps, open data platforms and other advanced technologies to better connect transit riders to their destinations, aided by private companies and research institutions in fields such as software development, ride and bikesharing.

The two-year demonstration project grant is being spearheaded by the City of Palo Alto and Joint Venture Silicon Valley on behalf of a 23-member consortium and eight project supporters including local cities/county, transit agencies, nonprofits, employers, rideshare vendors and planning agencies.      

“This grant is a great win for the Managers’ Mobility Partnership recently formed by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, Stanford University and the cities of Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Redwood City to address regional transportation issues,” said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture. “We are all working together to transform mobility in Silicon Valley.”

Specifically, the demonstration project has five components that include:

  • Enterprise Commute Trip Reduction (ECTR) software that automates employer commute programs and provides a real time commute dashboard to integrate with public transit
  • Mobility Aggregation (MobAG) that is a mobile multimodal trip planning app with a seamless combination of public/private transit, bike, car and rideshare services, electric scooter/bike loans and integration with on demand services such as Lyft, Scoop and Zipcar
  • A “revenue neutral workplace parking feebate” that charges a fee for single occupant vehicle commutes and rebates that revenue to non-SOV commutes
  • “Gap Filling” to improve options such as low-income transit subsidies, first/last mile connections with public transit, e-bikes for eight mile commutes, telecommuting and other strategies
  • Alleviating systematic obstacles such as enabling better public transit routes across county borders, modernization of transit payments and shared mobility software systems. 
The Bay Area Fair Value Commuting program is modeled after Stanford’s commute program that charges single occupancy drivers and uses that revenue to fund alternatives including computer rail passes, bikes and on-demand rideshare services. The university has reduced its single occupancy drivers by 25 percent and eliminated the need for $107 million in new parking structures.   

For more information on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s overall grants in advanced technology transportation, click here. For additional details on the administration’s Mobility on Demand Sandbox grants, click here. For a full list of consortium members, click here.

Last Updated October 17, 2016