News

Federal grant aims to boost Valley's traffic-reduction efforts

Local cities and Joint Venture Silicon Valley get $1 million for development of mobility solutions

An effort by Palo Alto, Mountain View and neighboring cities to get drivers to instead use trains, buses and other modes of transportation just got a lift from the federal government -- a $1 million grant aimed at accelerating the switch.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the grant to fund what's known as the Bay Area Fair Value Commuting Demonstration project, which aims to reduce Bay Area's rate of solo drivers from about 75 percent to about 50 percent. The two-year grant, which was announced on Oct. 13, is part of the federal department's "Mobility on Demand" initiative, which is designed to help cities use the latest technology to solve transportation challenges.

The money would specifically be used to pursue a program known as "Fair Value Commuting," which relies on new mobile apps, expanded transit services and fees to shift people away from cars and toward other modes of transportation. One component of the program is developing software that "automates employers' commute programs and provides a real-time commute dashboard to integrate with public transit," according to an announcement from the city.

Another component of the project is a mobile app for planning trips that integrates the many services available in the area, including transit, bikeshare programs and services such as Scoop, Lyft, Zipcar and Uber.

The program also includes new fees that solo drivers would be charged; revenue from these fees would fund programs that support other types of commuting. There would be solutions to the "first- and last-mile" problems (getting people from their starting points to public transit or from public transit to their final destinations) by creating new connections between transit hubs, homes and workplaces. Another aim, according to the city's announcement, is to alleviate systemic obstacles by enabling better public transit routes across county borders, modernizing transit payment and creating shared mobility-software systems.

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The grant application was spearheaded by the City of Palo Alto and Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a nonprofit that works with businesses and municipal governments to research and address regional challenges. They were representing a 23-member consortium that includes a number of area cities, companies and agencies, among them Mountain View, Redwood City, Microsoft, Google, Samtrans, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

The project summary submitted by Joint Venture and Palo Alto notes that Fair Value Commuting program is about 40 percent of the way to becoming a "robust, scalable solution."

"Our project aspires to fully mature the solution within 24 months," the summary states.

Palo Alto City Manager James Keene, who chairs Joint Venture's Climate Prosperity Program, is one of several city leaders who have been involved in the effort. Bay Area cities, he said in a statement, "can only solve our transportation challenges through a regional approach that expands mobility options using smart technology that is integrated into our existing public transit infrastructure."

"This grant allows us to continue to make progress on commute alternatives for the future," Keene said.

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Russ Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture, called the $1 million grant a "great win" for the Managers' Mobility Partnership -- a working group of Joint Venture staff along with officials from Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Redwood City and Stanford University.

"We are all working together to transform mobility in Silicon Valley," Hancock said in a statement.

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Federal grant aims to boost Valley's traffic-reduction efforts

Local cities and Joint Venture Silicon Valley get $1 million for development of mobility solutions

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 4:55 pm

An effort by Palo Alto, Mountain View and neighboring cities to get drivers to instead use trains, buses and other modes of transportation just got a lift from the federal government -- a $1 million grant aimed at accelerating the switch.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the grant to fund what's known as the Bay Area Fair Value Commuting Demonstration project, which aims to reduce Bay Area's rate of solo drivers from about 75 percent to about 50 percent. The two-year grant, which was announced on Oct. 13, is part of the federal department's "Mobility on Demand" initiative, which is designed to help cities use the latest technology to solve transportation challenges.

The money would specifically be used to pursue a program known as "Fair Value Commuting," which relies on new mobile apps, expanded transit services and fees to shift people away from cars and toward other modes of transportation. One component of the program is developing software that "automates employers' commute programs and provides a real-time commute dashboard to integrate with public transit," according to an announcement from the city.

Another component of the project is a mobile app for planning trips that integrates the many services available in the area, including transit, bikeshare programs and services such as Scoop, Lyft, Zipcar and Uber.

The program also includes new fees that solo drivers would be charged; revenue from these fees would fund programs that support other types of commuting. There would be solutions to the "first- and last-mile" problems (getting people from their starting points to public transit or from public transit to their final destinations) by creating new connections between transit hubs, homes and workplaces. Another aim, according to the city's announcement, is to alleviate systemic obstacles by enabling better public transit routes across county borders, modernizing transit payment and creating shared mobility-software systems.

The grant application was spearheaded by the City of Palo Alto and Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a nonprofit that works with businesses and municipal governments to research and address regional challenges. They were representing a 23-member consortium that includes a number of area cities, companies and agencies, among them Mountain View, Redwood City, Microsoft, Google, Samtrans, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

The project summary submitted by Joint Venture and Palo Alto notes that Fair Value Commuting program is about 40 percent of the way to becoming a "robust, scalable solution."

"Our project aspires to fully mature the solution within 24 months," the summary states.

Palo Alto City Manager James Keene, who chairs Joint Venture's Climate Prosperity Program, is one of several city leaders who have been involved in the effort. Bay Area cities, he said in a statement, "can only solve our transportation challenges through a regional approach that expands mobility options using smart technology that is integrated into our existing public transit infrastructure."

"This grant allows us to continue to make progress on commute alternatives for the future," Keene said.

Russ Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture, called the $1 million grant a "great win" for the Managers' Mobility Partnership -- a working group of Joint Venture staff along with officials from Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Redwood City and Stanford University.

"We are all working together to transform mobility in Silicon Valley," Hancock said in a statement.

Comments

Curious
North Bayshore
on Nov 30, 2016 at 3:09 pm
Curious, North Bayshore
on Nov 30, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Is it me or does $1 million not sound like very much given the scale of work and the number of municipalities partaking.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2016 at 9:35 pm
The Business Man, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2016 at 9:35 pm

I agree.

$1 Million will not cover the cost of the serious redesign of the Caltrain stations alone. Most need at least 4 times their current parking resources to even make Cal Train a viable alternative.

The simple truth is the auto industry has had California as a golden state because it has successfully diverted any significant resources away from the effective design of a mass transit alternative.

As a professional, I would love mass transit if it was designed and planned to accommodate the typical traffic of the Valley and Bay because I would rather rest while going to work. The stress of driving alone can fatigue you before you even get to work.

If California is going to achieve its greenhouse gases goals, it may need to have a mini manhattan project to achieve it. It could be very costly, but if done right the benefits should be enormous, and the return on investment should achieve a break even point in a relatively short time. But it will be at least a 10 year objective.

But no one today looks at situations 10 years in advance. I hate to say it, business only works to achieve a 1 year plan of action at a time. And you wonder why a lot of good business have died in the last decade.

Oh well.


Name hidden
Sylvan Park

on Mar 13, 2017 at 2:30 am
Name hidden, Sylvan Park

on Mar 13, 2017 at 2:30 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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