The EPA's Carpool Incentive Programs as part of its Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative (CCLI) defines carpools as consisting of "two or more persons driving together in a privately owned vehicle." It identifies that while some employees choose to carpool regardless of incentives, carpool incentive programs can help to encourage increased participation in carpooling. Possible incentive programs include reduced cost or free parking, preferred or reserved parking, and/or reward programs. These incentives, along with rideshare matching assistance, can be enacted solely by employers, but cities can get involved too by making vehicles (especially low emission vehicles) available to participating employers as is the case in the city of Irvine, CA through its Zero Emission Vehicle-Network Enabled Transport program (ZEV-NET).
Strategies and Greenhouse Gas Reduction
Cost to the City
Costs to the city may include the purchase of vehicles for carpooling and vanpooling, allocating parking spaces for use by carpoolers, and costs associated with publicizing regional rideshare organizations and alternative transportation options. The Portland Department of Transportation spent $150,000 for its social marketing campaign, Travel Smart.
Barriers for employers
Barriers for City
Benefits cited by the EPA's Carpool Incentive Programs:
As cited by the EPA's Carpool Incentive Programs:
The first example is an employer success story, but it relies on a publicly funded rideshare organization. The program could also benefit from city involvement and/or be applied to carpooling programs for employees in public buildings.
Emory University-Atlanta, Georgia
Emory University has about 14,000 faculty and staff and contains a major hospital and clinic. Administered by the university's Alternative Transportation office, the univeristy's carpool program in 2001 consisted of 400 carpoolers registered in 170 carpools (an average vehicle occupancy of 2.08 persons). The program was developed in order to alleviate parking congestion on campus, and it therefore provides incentives to carpoolers by way of reduced parking rates and/or reserved spaces. The program distinguishes three categories of carpoolers based on the number of full-time registered employees in the carpool. The program is publicized through events such as commuter fairs and Staff Days, as well as e-mail lists. Interested carpoolers register with Atlanta's Commute Connections rideshare service. The program is enforced by issuing special hangtags for carpool vehicles, gated parking lots, and requiring carpoolers to re-register annually.
Contact: Wanda Teichert, Program Development Coordinator with the Alternative Transportation office
City Success Stories
Irvine, California-ZEV-NET Shared-Use Vehicles
The Zero Emission Vehicle-Network Enabled Transport program (ZEV-NET) is public-private partnership that was implemented in April of 2002, which provides the employees of participating employers with electric (zero-emission) vehicles for transportation to and from the Irvine Transportation Center. Eligible drivers use a Web-based system to reserve vehicles for use during the day and vehicles are returned to the Transportation Center at the end of the day to be recharged. The city has experienced benefits ranging from reduced traffic congestion in the city, cleaner air quality, and raised awareness of alternate fuels, and the promotion of mass transit and carpool use.
Portland, Oregon-City Transit-Pass Subsidy Programs
The Portland Office of Transportation's Trip Reduction Incentive Program (TRIP) provides city employees with either a $25/month bus pass, carpool parking, or bike/walk incentive. The program was initiated in 1995, and through 2004 has resulted in a 20 percent decrease in weekly automobile trips to the downtown area. Approximately 1,300 of the 2,700 downtown employees have participated in the program.
Portland, Oregon-Travel Smart Program
The Portland Department of Transportation's (PDOT) Travel Smart program is an individualized marketing campaign that uses surveys to identify individuals that are interested in changing their travel habits and provides them with information about transportation alternatives such as transit, biking, walking or carpooling. The project was first introduced in Southwest Portland in 2002, costing $150,000, and through 2004 has contacted about 10,000 local residents per year and resulted in 440,000 fewer vehicle miles traveled per year.
Portland, Oregon-Online Ridesharing Service
The PDOT has promoted the city's online ridesharing service, www.carpoolmatchNW.org, through advertising on city buses, by mail, and through transportation events. Since it's introduction in 2002 through 2004, more that 2,000 people have participated in the service and the PDOT is confident that the program is on schedule to achieving it's goal of reducing 70,000 metric tons of CO2 and 161 million vehicle miles traveled by 2012.