Other Travel Mode Alternatives
It is in the region’s public interest to plan for and foster alternatives to single-occupant vehicle (SOV) travel. Congestion is a problem for which both the cause and solution are influenced by the cumulative effect of individual choices. Alternative modes that serve multiple occupants are desirable for reducing congestion, which in turn reduces the need for roadway expansion projects and decreases vehicle emissions. These are critical components in this plan’s strategy for meeting mobility and air quality needs. Furthermore, alternative modes provide travel opportunities to those for whom auto use is not a possible or preferred option.
This webpage presents the non-SOV travel opportunities beyond transit that exist within the OKI region. Alternatives discussed are intended to provide viable options to automobile travel.
Ridesharing refers to carpools and vanpools, both of which reduce SOV travel. A carpool generally involves two to five people sharing a ride in a person’s automobile. A vanpool is a group of seven to 15 commuters who share a leased van for commuting.
OKI’s regional RideShare program helps establish and sustain carpools and vanpools through marketing, technical and support programs. This program was instituted in 1979 in response to the region’s status as an air quality non-attainment area and serves southwestern Ohio, northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana. RideShare’s free service matches commuters with potential carpool partners who live and work in the same area. Commuters are matched based on home address, work address and work hours. Commuters can process a carpool match list at http://www.rideshareonline.org or a representative is available to process applications by calling 513-241-RIDE.
Throughout the years, OKI has marketed the RideShare program using a variety of means including radio, print advertisements, public and private employer campaigns, special events, coordination with OKI’s Regional Clean Air program and distribution of promotional materials. RideShare marketing not only promotes the awareness of services offered by the program, but also works to change the attitudes and behaviors of tristate commuters.
Ridesharing benefits both the participants and the general public. Personal benefits are related to pick-up and drop-off convenience, reduced stress from driving or parking, and financial savings from reduced operating costs and extended vehicle life. The public benefits from fewer vehicles on the road which reduces congestion and related problems. During the summer ozone season, increased ridesharing can contribute to critical emission reductions. Public policy can influence ridesharing through fees that increase SOV travel costs, such as increased parking prices or gasoline taxes, or through preferential treatment for rideshare vehicles, such as high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes or reduced parking rates for multiple occupant vehicles.
As reported in the 2009-2013 American Community Survey, approximately 8 percent of workers commuted in carpools. For Ridesharing to expand, incentives are needed to offset the flexibility, independence and overall appeal of SOV travel. To change travel behavior, the public sector must take the initiative to promote rideshare to the general public and employers.
Workers Who Commute in Carpools
The vanpool program has two types of commuter vanpools: traditional and non-traditional. Traditional vanpools consist of a group of individuals voluntarily participating in a ridesharing arrangement utilizing a van. The van is leased by an individual in the group but that individual is not responsible for providing the insurance and maintenance of the vanpool. Non-traditional vanpools are leased by a third-party such as an employer. The third-party is responsible for providing the driver, insurance, maintenance and some administration.
RideShare subsidizes each vanpool in the amount of $400 per month toward the capital cost. The incentive program is in place to reduce the cost of vanpooling and to make the program more attractive to commuters than driving in a single-occupant vehicle.
New vanpools are always beginning added and old ones terminating depending on changes within the OKI region like company downsizing, early retirements, company buy-outs, schedule changes, new transit service, company relocations and expansions and company sponsored employee commute option plans.
Park and Pools
Park and Pool lots are the same as a Park and Ride in that they provide convenient parking areas for commuters. These lots are generally located in suburban areas and may have amenities such as benches, lighted waiting areas and newspaper racks available for riders. However, Park and Pools do not have transit service and therefore require a carpool or vanpool.
Guaranteed Ride Home Program
OKI’s efforts also include a Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program. The GRH program is available for registered RideShare, TANK and Metro users. Although the GRH program is used relatively infrequently, it is a significant part of the RideShare program. Commuters have indicated that one reason for not participating in a carpool or vanpool is fear of being stranded at work in case of an emergency. The GRH program enables RideShare to persuade commuters who currently travel in single-occupancy vehicles to try another form of transportation such as, carpools, vanpools or transit. RideShare will reimburse registered commuters 80 percent of a cab fare home in case of an emergency or unexpected overtime up to four times per year.
In addition to OKI’s efforts, ridesharing can also be encouraged through employer policies or programs. Employer policy, for example, can provide designated specialized carpooling services, tax benefits, parking arrangements, alternative work schedules, trip reduction programs and teleworking.
Cluster Analysis Services
Cluster analysis service is provided upon request to companies through RideShare as a way to identify potential carpooling and vanpooling groups within a company’s employee base. The company provides RideShare a database of employees’ addresses and an identifying name or number. RideShare is then able to place a dot on a map at the exact home location of each employee. When all of the employees are plotted on the map, clusters of employees who live within close proximity of one another are identifiable. This information is then returned to the company and small group meetings are scheduled for each identified cluster to discuss the advantages of carpooling and vanpooling and the potential for implementing such programs.
Commuter Choice Tax Benefits Program
Qualified transportation fringe benefits (Section 132(f) of the Internal Revenue Code) or “Commuter Tax Benefits” are like money in the bank. Employers save on payroll related taxes. Employees save on federal income taxes. The Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2029) of December 2015 permanently established parity between parking benefit and transit/vanpool benefits. The result is that the exclusion amount for 2016, parking, transit and commuter highway vehicles are $255 per month. Employers can also reimburse their employees up to $20/month for qualified bicycle commuting. More information…
Trip Reduction Programs
In a Trip Reduction Program (TRP), employers offer a variety of travel demand management strategies to encourage their employees to reduce travel to and from the work site. Generally, the employer designates a coordinator to initiate and administer the program, which may involve quantifying program results and documenting successful strategies. In general, the most effective TRPs offer time or financial incentives to encourage employees to shift from driving alone to using an alternative travel mode.
Compared to applying TRP strategies to a region, corridor, or activity center, employer-based TRP programs are often the most effective in reducing trips. Commuters are more responsive to TRP strategies presented at the worksite than presented through other types of programs. In addition, the strategies selected for a TRP can address specific worksite and commuter characteristics, as opposed to the diversity of factors that influence commuter choice on a regional basis. Information can be targeted to those employees most likely to use alternative modes.
A TRP’s success is influenced by employer location, work force composition and employee commute patterns. Employers with effective TRPs are often located in high-density employment areas with transit service, HOV facilities and restricted parking and have a high proportion of service and skilled labor positions and a significant number of employees with long commutes (greater than 15 miles).
TRPs help reduce congestion and vehicle emissions but for employers to implement them voluntarily generally requires a strong interest in solving an on-site transportation problem (such as a parking shortage or employee tardiness from congestion), expanding employee benefits or reducing company expenses related to parking or tardiness
Alternative Work Schedules
Work schedules influence commuter travel patterns. In designing work schedules, employers influence peak period travel volumes and employee inclination to use transit, carpools, and other SOV alternatives. Because of these impacts, work schedules provide a means of managing travel demand.
There are three types of work schedules with potential applicability for managing travel demand.
- A flextime program allows employees to set arrival and departure times within a specified span of time. This allows commuters to avoid travel during the most congested times. Flextime helps spread peak traffic and facilitates carpool participation and transit ridership.
- A staggered work hours program allows groups of workers to arrive and leave at set intervals. This type of work schedule disperses congestion.
- A compressed workweek allows employees to work more hours in fewer days than they would in a conventional schedule of eight hours per day. A common option is to work four 10-hour days followed by a day off. This arrangement can divert work trips from peak periods and also reduce the number of work trips.
In addition to those benefits related to transportation, studies show that these work schedules provide other benefits to participating employers and employees. Employers may benefit from reductions in tardiness, sick time and absenteeism and from increased employee productivity. Participating employees enjoy greater flexibility for conducting their non-work responsibilities. Benefits are relatively inexpensive with costs primarily related to program set-up and perhaps for extended office hours. OKI promotes alternative work schedules as part of the RideShare program.
Teleworking reduces congestion by reducing commuter travel. Under a telework arrangement, employees perform work at home, typically one to three days a week, thereby eliminating work trips on those days. Telecommuters use computers, telephones, modems and fax machines to link to clients and other employees at the work place.
Teleworking produces benefits for the region, the employer and the employee. The region benefits from reductions in congestion, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. For businesses, teleworking is often reported as improving productivity and helping to recruit and retain valuable employees. It may also reduce office space needs. The teleworker’s benefits include travel cost and time savings, greater flexibility in managing their work and personal lives, and less stress.
Teleworking’s growth is a response to market, technological and social forces. On the economic front, the shift from goods production to information and services supports the growth of teleworking and so does teleworking’s use of relatively low cost equipment. Advances in computer and telecommunications technologies further boost teleworking, especially advances in data transmission and simultaneous voice and data transmissions. Teleworking is increasingly being recognized as a way of helping employees to better balance work and home life. Employers are realizing that the availability of teleworking is a recruiting and retention tool. It is evident that at least a portion of the demand for transportation infrastructure can be met by the increased capacity of the teleworking infrastructure.
While teleworking seems likely to grow, its rate of growth depends largely on its acceptance and popularity with employers and employees. The future of teleworking will be affected by individual responses to managerial, supervision, communication and social issues.
Parking price and availability are factors in some people’s choice of travel mode. To manage travel demand, the public and private sectors can design parking policies to discourage SOV use or encourage the use of SOV alternatives. In central business districts, parking can be managed to discourage long-term parking for commuting purposes at the same time that short-term parking is feasible for shopping and other errands. Parking management is most effective if it is applied in combination with other traffic demand management strategies.
Responsibility for managing parking supply and pricing is divided among different entities. Private developers and employers can remove, reduce or cash out employer provided parking subsidies. They can also reverse “early bird” or monthly discounts favoring long-term commuter parking. Private sector can also impose parking pricing and discount parking for carpoolers. In the public sector, local governments may implement many pricing approaches. These approaches could include: government entities imposing or increasing fees and surcharges for solo drivers or long term parkers in public parking facilities, giving preference to car and vanpoolers, taxing parking providers or revising zoning laws to reduce minimum parking supply requirements.
Private Roadway Transportation Providers
In addition to publicly-operated bus systems, private businesses provide transportation services within the OKI region and trips to other major metropolitan areas.
- Private Intercity Bus Facilities and Companies. Greyhound Bus Line and Megabus provide intercity bus service and connect the region with other metropolitan areas around the United States. The Greyhound Bus Line station is located in downtown Cincinnati. Megabus does not have a station but uses on-street boarding locations in or near downtown Cincinnati and provides service to Chicago, Columbus, Indianapolis and Lexington.
- Zipcars. In 2011, the University of Cincinnati became the first institution in the region to provide zipcar services. Zipcar provides a reliable transportation option by renting out a vehicle per hour or by day. The rates range between $7.50 and $8.50 per hour or $69 per day Monday – Thursday and $8.50 and $9.50 or $77 per day Friday – Sunday. Rates include gas, insurance and 180 miles free per day. There are two locations on the University of Cincinnati campus, one off Jefferson Avenue with a Ford Focus and Nissan Sentra, and the second location in front of McMicken Hall including another Ford Focus, a Kia Forte, and a Honda Civic. Members are given a Zipcard which provides access to any Zipcar around the world. Most locations use a reservation system for Zipcar usage.
- Taxicabs. Numerous taxicab companies serve the OKI region. In 2015, 440 taxicabs were licensed in the city.
- Uber and Lyft. In addition to traditional taxi cabs, Uber and Lyft are popular transportation network companies that allow passengers to hail a ride with their smartphone.
- Red Bike. Red bike is a bike-sharing program that meets the transportation, health, and environmental needs of our communities. There are currently 50 stations in Cincinnati, Covington, Newport and Bellevue with seven new stations coming in July 2016. There are 435 bikes that rotate throughout the stations. An annual pass is $80 which includes unlimited bike rides up to 60 minutes for 365 days or you can purchase a day pass for $8 which includes unlimited bike rides up to 60 minutes for 24 hours.
- Pedicab. Since 2010, pedicabs have been a resource for short distance travel in and around downtown Cincinnati, Newport and Bellevue. These bike taxis can usually carry two to three passengers and include seat belts and a canopy so that they are able to continue operating in rainy or colder weather conditions.
The OKI region has an extensive aviation system that includes a complex array of airspace, flight paths and multiple facilities that support air travel. Due to the fact that airports can be significant traffic generators, one aspect of air travel’s role in the transportation planning process is the consideration of airport impacts on the surface or roadway network.
The OKI airport system serves all forms of air travel. General aviation activities occurring throughout the OKI region include corporate flight departments, pleasure flying, medivac, gliding and skydiving. The bulk of these operations take place at 29 smaller, reliever private facilities and other general aviation airports across the region.
The region has two airports that operate using an air traffic control tower – Cincinnati Municipal Airport (Lunken Field) and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. CVG is the primary airport of the OKI region. Since a Delta hub realignment in 2005, CVG has experienced a dramatic drop in passenger air traffic. However, air freight cargo has been a positive growth opportunity for CVG. With the return of DHL’s hub operation to CVG in 2009, tonnage has increased 130%. DHL is slated to complete its most recent expansion in November 2016. This improvement includes a ramp expansion that will accommodate up to 16 additional aircraft, new equipment to increase sorting capacity and additional warehouse space. Once complete, it will push DHL’s total capital investment at CVG past the $281 million mark since 2009 and employment to over 2300 people. DHL officials cite international e-commerce as one of the main reasons for its continued growth; the CVG hub connects the U.S. to the company’s global network. At CVG, DHL processes 50 million international shipments annually, connects nearly 100 service centers, and is one of three global hubs operated by the company. Ninety-eight percent of all North American DHL cargo comes through CVG. In another positive action, CVG completed an Airport Master Plan Update in late 2012. In the update, CVG re-envisioned itself as a regional airport servicing the needs of the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area versus the international hub it was in the not too distant past. CVG made financial investments to maintain a state-of-the-art facility with amenities customers demand in today’s air travel market such as IT work stations, restaurants and comfortable waiting areas. Terminals were downsized to both reduce overall maintenance and operation costs and, more importantly, simplify and facilitate more efficient visitor accessibility.
- Cincinnati Municipal Airport-Lunken Field. Lunken Airport is publicly-owned by the City of Cincinnati. Aircraft operations average about 187 per day with over half (58%) serving as transient general aviation, 28% local general aviation, 14% air taxi and 1% military.
Other nearby publicly-owned airports with instrument procedures include:
River Ferry Service
Anderson Ferry Boat Inc. operates an automobile ferry service on the Ohio River between the foot of Anderson Ferry Road in Hamilton County and River Road (KY 8) in Boone County near the Kenton-Boone County line. The Anderson Ferry operates every 15 minutes Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. until 9:45 p.m., on Saturday and holidays from 7:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 9:45 p.m. The cost per automobile is $5.00 per river crossing. The ferry transports an average of 400 to 500 vehicles across the river per day. Due to the absence of river crossings in that area, the ferry is also important for transporting bicyclists for a charge of $1.00. The fare for pedestrians is 50 cents. The ferry is also on the route of the trans-continental American Discovery Trail. The website (http://andersonferryofficial.com/) has online ticketing and reduced pricing for multi-trip pass advance purchases.