Washington, D.C.—Commuter Connections is expanding its pilot program which encourages commuters in the Washington D.C. region to form new carpools in exchange for cash payouts. Known locally as ‘Pool Rewards, the initiative is another innovative way Commuter Connections is trying to promote carpooling to and from work instead of driving alone. Originally limited to three major highway bottlenecks, it will now be open to all newly formed registered carpools traveling anywhere within the region.
Commuters may qualify for a $1 each way incentive for carpooling during the ‘Pool Rewards pilot program. The offer is only being made for a limited time. Those interested must register to join or form a new carpool by March 31, 2010. In order to receive payment, participants are expected to regularly report travel time through an online system. Commuter Connections also helps area residents find potential ridesharing partners by providing registered commuters with free access to a list of other commuters who live and work near them, have similar work schedules, and are interested in carpooling.
Commuter Connections, a regional transportation network coordinated by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), is conducting the pilot program as part of its ongoing efforts to improve traffic flow, decrease air pollution and promote long-term changes in commuting behavior. ’Pool Rewards is similar to Atlanta’s highly successful Cash for Commuters effort. At the end of its first five years, the Atlanta program coaxed more than 29,000 drivers out of their cars and saved 32.8 million vehicle miles traveled, with 64 percent of its participants continuing to use commute alternatives at least once per week after the cash reward program ended.
“We are always looking for new ways to get people in the D.C. area to carpool,” said Commuter Connections Director Nicholas Ramfos. “Cash incentives have helped recruit new carpoolers in other areas, and we hope ‘Pool Rewards can replicate some of that success.”
Commuters who travel during peak commuting times can sign up for the ‘Pool Rewards program at www.commuterconnections.org. In addition, ridesharing commuters may also be eligible for other money-saving services such as the free regional Guaranteed Ride Home program that ensures a ride home when one of life’s unexpected emergencies arise. Some rules and limitations apply.