The Commuter Connections program at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments launched a program called Flextime Rewards that gives suggested travel times to commuters and provides an incentive for commuters who avoid driving during peak congestion periods on four bottlenecked routes.
“Commuter Connections has been looking for new ways to help improve travel to and from work in the metro D.C. region,” said Nicholas Ramfos, Commuter Connections Director. “The Flextime Rewards Program will help reduce the number of vehicles sitting in traffic and provide a better commuting experience when traffic volumes are high or when a traffic incident occurs.”
Commuter Connections’ Flextime Rewards Program was developed in conjunction with the University of Maryland through an award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and encourages commuters to take advantage of flexible work schedules offered by their employers to avoid traveling during peak congestion periods, major incidents, or higher-than-average traffic days along selected corridors. In exchange, commuters who enroll and participate in the Flextime Rewards Program may be eligible to win a cash prize. To be eligible, participants must track their trip and enter their alternative departure time.
“It is great to see ARPA-E technology from the University of Maryland implemented by Commuter Connections,” said Dr. Lei Zhang, Director of the National Transportation Center at the University of Maryland. “The Flextime Rewards Program is a win-win for commuters, businesses, and the environment – saving time, energy, and money by staggering commute times to reduce congestion.”
Through the Flextime Rewards Program, commuters throughout the metropolitan Washington region can sign-up to receive free notifications when significant congestion is detected on their daily commute. In addition, commuters using the following bottlenecked routes during morning and afternoon rush hour commuting periods may be eligible to win cash prizes:
- I-495 Inner loop between VA-267 and I-270 Spur,
- I-495 Outer loop between I-95 and MD-193,
- I-66 Eastbound at VA-267, and
- DC-295 Southbound at Benning Road.
Flextime Rewards combines Commuter Connections’ software with the University of Maryland’s National Transportation Center incenTrip program to provide personalized, real-time traveler information that can calculate the estimated time of arrival. This data can be calculated up to 24 hours in advance and recalculates as traffic conditions change or an incident is detected. Commuter Connections uses this data to alert registered Flextime Rewards users that significant congestion has been identified along their route and will give alternative departure times that could improve the commuter’s trip.