The Role of Cash Incentives and Insights from Hytch Rewards Data Featured in chapter three of the USDOT Report

27 April 2021

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Emerging from the pandemic, more people will be driving more cars, adding more miles, mostly alone (as usual). The study seeks to understand whether mode-shifting incentives and disincentives could be applied to encourage more sharing and active mode trips that reduce vehicle miles traveled and congestion.

The study acknowledges the implications that automobile occupancy has on infrastructure and policies that aim to alleviate congestion, curtail vehicle emissions, and support economic growth.

The study identifies two approaches that have emerged in promoting a decrease in single-occupancy vehicles and those are shared options in ride-hailing applications and ride-sharing app-based incentive tools. The study used data compiled during Hytch's pilot project in 2018. This is a victory for Hytch investors, for the Greater Nashville and Middle Tennessee region, because we are still the first and only example of a large community delivering to the public a cash incentive for all forms of mobility, at scale.

Here is the summary of findings:

  • Users of the transportation network company (TNC) are most willing to share rides on solo trips, weekend trips, trips from work, trips home, and trips to entertainment or personal business.
  • A price difference of $1.16 per mile would increase the probability of sharing for general trips by 10 percentage points (from roughly 30-40% of trips).
  • A travel time difference of 18 seconds per mile would increase the probability of sharing for general trips by 10 percentage points (again, from roughly 30-40%).
  • Trips to or from the airport or other intermodal travel centers were very insensitive to price, likely due to time sensitivity. Similarly, trips paid for by a third party were also insensitive to price differences.
  • Almost 35% of TNC users would not share a ride for any price savings presented, even without any time penalty.

The purpose of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of the factors influencing traveler decisions about driving or taking a shared ride, including learning about the tradeoffs among desired features of different travel options and trip price.

Read the full report here.