The National Academies

Transit IDEA J-04/IDEA 099 [Completed (IDEA)]

Bike Love
[ TCRP J-04 (Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis--The Transit IDEA Program) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
Staff Responsibility: Velvet Fitzpatrick
Research Agency: Palo Alto Transportation Management Association (TMA)
Principal Investigator: Justine Burt
Fiscal Year: 2020

In this project, Palo Alto Transportation Management Association implemented a new cross-platform mobile app, “Bike Love” that provides daily incentives for verifiable active mode first-mile commute trips to transit and active mode commutes from home to work, up to $600 per year per commuter. Automated travel mode detection identifies bike, e-bike, e-scooter, and e-skateboard trips. Commute trips are verified to stop or start within geofences at 30 Caltrain (commuter rail) stations and two Palo Alto job centers. Incentive dollars are instantly redeemed at local merchants via reloadable Apple Wallet Virtual Visa cards, a new type of payment card. 67% of incentive dollars are spent in Palo Alto, recycling funds back into the local economy. Rapid program growth was achieved by a persuade-to-join-program commute survey and via door-to-door outreach to 800 small businesses. In only eight weeks, the research team’s marketing outreach motivated 106 Palo Alto workers to participate in the project. Commuter retention was 60%, above the team’s 50% retention expectation.  Successful marketing outreach motivated 106 Palo Alto workers to apply to join the Bike Love program. The software team discovered and implemented improved financial technology (fintech), eliminating expected onboarding problems with merchants, and enabling Tap and Pay at all merchants accepting Apple Pay. Travel mode detection was 95% accurate. There were 158 Virtual Visa transactions at 90 different merchants worth a total of $2,355 with an average transaction amount of $14.90. The project was overwhelmed by onboarding issues. Only 33 out of 106 commuters completed the entire seven-step onboarding process. For future software releases, numerous improvements to the onboarding process have been identified. 


The final report is available

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