The myth of the single mode man : how the mobility pass better meets actual travel demand
How the mobility pass better meets actual travel demand
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Frederick P. Salvucci.
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The goal of this thesis is to investigate how employer transportation subsidy programs can result in more sustainable outcomes. Cities are growth machines that increasingly seek to mitigate the effects of that growth caused by commensurate increases in auto usage, including congestion and emissions. Employers have an interest in reducing the costs of providing parking, and reducing local congestion, in part to attract and retain employees. Because of coincidental interests, municipalities and employers are natural allies in the fight to control the spatial effects of auto usage. Employers are the nexus for breaking the cycle of auto usage. Federal transportation fringe benefits that allow transit passes to be paid through the employer on a pre-tax basis can subsidize increased usage of transit. The initial research focuses on MIT because of its evolving environmental mission, its size, which allows it to internalize externalities, and its students, who will shape policies that affect mode choice both in the US and internationally. The myth of the single mode man is that people take the same mode to commute to work each day. In practice this myth results in subsidies that encourage more employees to drive than otherwise would. MIT survey data indicates that the single mode man is a good model for significant populations in urban areas: those who are either transit captive, or have a completely car-oriented work or home location. However, a significant portion of the population -- 30%+ at MIT -- is multimodal; they take different modes to work depending on the day.(cont) Traditional employer subsidies of transit passes do not serve this group well, because they may not take transit enough to opt in to a transit pass program. Current employer subsidies are a hodgepodge of past decisions, historical accidents, and good intentions. They encourage employees to make choices that are 1) economically inefficient for the individual, 2) cost the employer money, and 3) cause congestion and pollution. Employers' current tools to regulate demand for parking while attracting and retaining employees seem to have reached diminishing returns. Universal Access passes have shown promising results in reaching the remaining drivers by providing low cost access to zero marginal cost transit. With these passes, employers pay a single price for all of their employees' transit usage for a defined period. Reducing the barriers to mode switch by allowing mode blending (partial mode switch) can result in an "everyone wins" situation for the employer, the municipality, the transit agency, employees, and society as a whole. This thesis proposes and predicts the effects of one such program at MIT, the Mobility Pass, which provides a single transportation benefit combining parking and a Universal Access pass on a smart card. The proposal is promising as an approach for employers in metropolitan areas with transit systems, and provides insight into multimodal activities for a substantial minority of the public that can help shape the design of programs elsewhere.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning; and, (S.M. in Transportation)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2009.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Includes bibliographical references (p. 247-255).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning., Civil and Environmental Engineering.