MOD Sandbox Demonstrations Independent Evaluation: City of Palo Alto and Prospect Silicon Valley Bay Area Fair Value Commuting (FVC) Demonstration Project Evaluation Plan

Abstract: 

The MOD Sandbox Demonstrations are sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The MOD Sandbox Demonstrations Independent Evaluation is sponsored by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), jointly by the Intelligent Transportation Systems - Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) and the FTA. All documents are USDOT publications. You may access the document at: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/40260

The Bay Area FVC Demonstration seeks to reduce Bay Area SOV commute share by implementing a FVC set of solutions designed to address many of the issues described above. Stanford University’s commute program provides the conceptual FVC starting point. Stanford reduced SOV from 75 percent to 50 percent (with transit share increasing from 8 percent to 31 percent), eliminating the need for $107 million in new parking structures. Two key concepts will be demonstrated with this project: 

  • An integrated “Commuter Wallet” software platform will attempt to maximize convenience for commuters to plan, compare, and pay for alternative transportation modes. Enterprise backend systems will be coordinated to present commute incentives and benefits seamlessly to employees. 
  • Either a “feebate” system or a “cash out” system will be demonstrated. A “feebate” system will simultaneously assess fees for SOV use (assigning a “fair value”) and redirect the income received to fund incentives for use of alternative transportation modes, creating a self-sustaining commute program. A “cash out” system is an incentive-based program where an incentive is paid to non-SOV employees. While a pure cash out program would not address the “fee” part, it is highly likely that a cash out program would generate measurable reductions in car use by participating employees. 

The FVC project consists of five components: 

  1. Component #1: Enterprise Commute Trip Reduction (ECTR) software platforms automate employer commute programs. ECTR platforms will integrate with employer human resources and payroll functions and distribute benefits such as loading Clipper transit fare cards and allowing pre-tax commuter benefits purchase of transit passes, while collecting and reporting commuter mode choices. The project partner vendor is RideAmigos. 
  2. Component #2: Commuter Wallet is a mobile multimodal trip planning and payment app that will be developed with a seamless combination of public/private transit, bikeshare, rideshare, carshare, and electric scooter/bike share. Commuter Wallet integrates MOD products such as Lyft line, UberPOOL, Waze Carpool, Scoop, ZipCar, and Car2Go. A development partner will be procured to help build out the required feature set and to integrate the Commuter Wallet with ECTR. 
  3. Component #3: A “revenue-neutral workplace parking feebate” charges a fee for SOV commutes and rebates that revenue to non-SOV commutes, structured so that there is no cost to employers. Or a “cash out” system is used to incentivize non-SOV commutes. 
  4. Component #4: “Gap Filling” describes analytics to identify commutes with poor alternatives and subsequent attempts to improve them. Some examples of gap filling include: subsidizing Lyft/Uber rides to and from transit stops; e-scooter loan-to-own to provide first/last mile connections to transit; bike network improvements to connect to transit; microtransit to provide first/last mile service to higher-order transit services. 
  5. Component #5: Identifying and alleviating systemic obstacles such as: a) enable better public transit routes that cross county borders, b) better integrate transit fares within multi-agency trips, c) integrate transportation payment systems, and d) develop a healthy, interoperable mobility software ecosystem, following open standards. 

The project will: a) collaborate directly with the top vendors that contribute to FVC by enhancing software/hardware feature sets and interoperability, b) pilot FVC at four employers, and c) collaboratively analyze commute patterns and develop/pilot new gap-fillers such as low-income subsidy and loan-to-own. 

Author: 
Gustave Cordahi
Susan Shaheen, PhD
Elliot Martin, PhD
Mikaela Hoffman-Stapleton
Publication date: 
December 1, 2018
Publication type: 
Report