April 17, 2009


(1) $2 Daily Workplace Parking Charge + $4 Cashout and (2) Instant Ridesharing: Hope Amidst 15 Failed Pilots


(1): This complicated driving reduction pricing proposal won’t be the first out the door, but after business rejects carbon pricing and voters reject congestion charging, this policy could arise as a more palatable alternative.

Past efforts to convert free workplace parking to charged or cashout have not flourished. This new scheme begins with $0.25/day charge and $1/day cashout. Charges/cashout increase over time to $2/$4 as other companies adopt the scheme, addressing the previous recruiting/retention objection. Trust-based, self-reporting enables very low-cost implementation, addressing the previous cost objection. The scheme is marketed to workers as a climate-protecting measure. Potential U.S. commute VMT savings is 23%, reducing 51.7M tons CO2/year. Compared to past efforts, this scheme uses a) collective, phased action to overcome the Tragedy of the Commons, b) simultaneous charge and cashout, c) trust-based reporting, and d) monetization of saved parking spaces. A company that voluntarily implements this scheme risks productivity-reducing internal employee strife between climate protectors and climate skeptics. To address this objection, a “good cop, bad cop” strategy is proposed. This policy research is informed by behavioral psychologists, listserv sounding boards, and advocacy to nine large Silicon Valley employers.

(2): With traditional carpools, members are selected and then the carpool proceeds most weekdays for months without change. With dynamic ridesharing, one-time carpools are arranged within 3 days of the trip. With new GPS cellphone technology (Apple iPhone & Google Android T-Mobile phones), “instant ridesharing” is enabled, where one-time rides are arranged within minutes of the start of the trip. With instant ridesharing, a person may carpool every day, but with the flexibility of a different departure time and group of people each day. IRS can handle schedule variations in a manner that makes transportation routine and hassle-free. See here.

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