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Let's get serious about Transportation Demand Management & Fair Value Commuting

Reduce SOV trips in commuting by strengthening TDM policies, "carrot/stick" commute clubs & community shuttles

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How are you connected to Sunnyvale?

  • I live in Sunnyvale.

What type of applicant are you?

  • Community member

Stage of Development.

  • Early concept or idea (<few months of work)

What problem are you aiming to solve? (100 words)

Reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips, traffic congestion & stress, greenhouse gases & other air pollutants in commuting. Reduce need for costly parking spaces, especially in public buildings

Tell us more about your climate strategy or solution (500 words)

Transportation demand management policies for industrial parks, corporate sites with >100 employees, & large high-density developments should be strengthened, with penalties if vehicle trips exceed an allotted number. This would incentivize job and housing centers to solve commute traffic congestion problems they create.
Stanford University has to limit its traffic, or else pay a hefty fine. The "carrot/stick" model at Stanford has been successful in reducing SOV commute. Stick: Employees have to pay for parking. Carrot (Commute Club): For not driving, employees receive commute/transit benefits and even cash rewards. Vanpooling enjoys free parking. There are allowances for the occasions when commute club members do have to drive. The Marguerite shuttles, free and open to all, connect different parts of the campus to Palo Alto & Menlo Park Caltrain Transit Centers, & Fremont BART station, & shopping centers. The peak hour shuttles have schedules well matched to train schedules. The shuttles have public and private funding partners (see Marguerite pdf). There is a special shuttle to the SLAC National Laboratory partnering with Rosewood Hotel and Hewlett Foundation on Sand Hill Rd. Incidentally, parking is free at SLAC, as charging for parking is forbidden at a DOE facility, so ~< 2% of SLAC employees use public transit ( I counted one morning) - totally different from main campus.
Many hybrid shuttles have been replaced by electric ones.
Parking on campus is free on weekends and after 4 p.m. on weekdays, to facilitate public attendance at lectures and events.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (100 words)

The most basic foundation for fair value commuting is paying for parking and being rewarded for not driving solo, supported by shuttles that fill in the gaps left by VTA transit. But this requires getting more serious rigorous about transportation demand management policies and monitoring. For too long, just a bus stop represents access to public transit. But to make a dent in traffic congestion, good connectivity to mass transit systems is needed.

Explain how your idea would be implemented in Sunnyvale (700 words)

(1) Revisit and inject rigor into the city's transportation demand management policies.
This should include a TDM plan for city staff at Civic Center.
(2) Community inputs for shuttle routes and schedules. I would suggest shuttles should connect industrial parks in northern Sunnyvale, Sunnyvale Caltrain Transit Center to Civic Center, major intersections on El Camino Real, to Wolfe/Homstead, and in collaboration with Cupertino, to Wolfe/Stevens Creek. Volunteers to drive cars for mock shuttle runs.
(3) Work with companies, job and housing centers, hospitals and clinics, BAAQMD and other public agencies, City of Cupertino to set up and fund shuttles (electric). Some companies already run shuttles, and discussions should be made about using their under-utilized capacities.
(4) While the focus is on commute traffic, off-hour community shuttles can benefit people with limited or no mobility, connecting them to the Community & Senior Center, main library and branch library, Kaiser, Palo Alto Medical Foundation ...

What kind of impact will your idea have? (250 words)

Reduction in carbon & pollutant emissions
Reduce traffic congestion
Facilitate public transit ridership
Reduce stress
People get to talk and know each other on shuttles
Enhance mobility of some segment of the population

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of people affected. (250 words)

Policy change/upgrade is needed for this to work. Without a stick associated with driving, people ignore the carrots.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (300 words)

Monitoring vehicle trips at job/housing centers, and coordinating carpools and vanpools would require developments in apps and sensors.
Traffic and road data gathered by the city should be open data, to facilitate understanding and solutions.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with our partners?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Attachments: Please upload relevant attachments or graphics or show us how you came up with your idea.

The idea is not mine. I am only drawing awareness to what has been done elsewhere.

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