Why Wait for the Feds? Let’s Make Our Own Incentives

An article in today’s Detroit Free Press shows how some companies (and even one federal agency) have decided not to wait for Congress to figure out how to reward bicyclists for improving their health, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants, and reducing congestion.

At the National Institutes of Health, workers can get five “bike bucks” for every 100 miles they commute, which they can redeem when buying supplies at two local bike shops. The program was the idea of Jill DiMauro, owner of Proteus Bicycles in College Park, Md., after talking to biologist Angela Atwood-Moore, who rides her bike six miles each way to the agency’s headquarters in Bethesda, Md.

“One parking spot is probably worth tens of thousands of dollars, and they just give it away. If they want people to stop using that spot, you make it more enticing,” [NIH scientist Marc Gwadz] said. “People aren’t going to change over just because you tell them about it.”

Looks like a good article to send to your local bike shop and your employer!

3 replies
  1. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    From what I’ve heard from a TDM (travel demand management) expert, self-reporting for such programs is actually pretty accurate. Not many folks try to cheat/game the program.

    But for commutes you could put RFID chips on bikes and detectors at the bike parking location. The employer already knows where you live and can calculate/estimate mileage.

    Depends somewhat on what they’re rewarding the cyclist for. If they wanted to reward you for ALL your riding (improves health/cuts healthcare costs), a simple readout from the bike(s) odometer(s) would suffice. (But then they need to reward walking, swimming,…)

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