Multi-Modal Transportation

Coordinating and using multiple modes of transportation is a good approach for some individuals and companies to conserve fuel and reduce vehicle miles traveled. Between ridesharing, mass transit, and active transit, many travelers have access to numerous alternative transportation options. Some transit agencies even offer mobile ticketing apps or pre-loaded transit cards that are interoperable with bike-sharing systems or other mobility services.

Fleet managers, corporate decision makers, and public transportation planners can use these examples of resources to help travelers use multi-modal transportation.

  • Citymapper is an online tool and app that enables travelers to combine walking, bicycle (including bike share), bus, train, ferry, and transportation network companies to complete a desired trip. It also calculates how many calories your trip will burn. This app is now available in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC-Baltimore, as well as many cities outside the United States.
  • OpenTripPlanner Map is an online tool from TriMet that helps Portland, Oregon, travelers plan trips through a combination of transportation modes including transit (bus or train), walking, and bicycling.
  • 511 is a one-stop source from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for commuters in the San Francisco Bay area to access information about ridesharing, mass transit, bicycling, and traffic.
  • getDowntown is a partnership in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that provides local businesses and employees with information and assistance with multi-modal commuting.
  • SmarTrips is a program from the Portland Bureau of Transportation that helps people in Portland, Oregon, plan the optimal mix of alternative transportation modes.

Transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft are also beginning to integrate their ridehailing services with other transportation modes, such as bikes, transit, and scooters.

Incentives

In addition to saving fuel and money, people who use alternative transportation may enjoy incentives like these:

  • Commuter Rewards – a program from the Clean Air Campaign at Georgia College that rewards registered commuters with cash, gift cards, and other prizes
  • Commuter Gamification – many people are incentivized by their competitive nature through the gamification of various tasks. Transportation is one such task, and the RideAmigos website offers many tips for how to create an alternative commuting game

Park-and-Ride Lots

Park-and-ride lots are strategically located near roads widely used by commuters and are often near transit stations. Park-and-ride lots are convenient places to meet rideshare partners or switch transportation modes to mass transit. Public transportation planners can help commuters take advantage of park-and-ride lots by making information easy to access online. For example, Denver’s Regional Transportation District website provides interactive maps of park-and-ride lots and a list of park-and-ride lots with information about fees, parking spaces, and transit connections. "Kiss-and-ride" lots and lanes facilitate the quick transfer to and from public transportation and a waiting vehicle.