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Pay drivers to use alternative routes during rush hour

Mitigate traffic congestion at key places and times by incentivizing alternative routes for drivers

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This is an alternative/addition to Paidtogo's initial proposal to incentivize alternative transportation options. This proposal would be to use our existing platform infrastructure to incentive drivers (SOV drivers in particular), to use alternative routes during rush hour and in high congestion areas. By integrating Waze and Google API's, and layering in contextual intelligence and  machine learning, we can know where traffic is the worst and propose an alternative route that may take a little longer or be a little farther. Drivers would be incentivized with cash and rewards for taking the alternative route. Incentives would come from public and private sponsors, city grants and donations. It will be important to work with city planners and TDM experts to properly deploy this program.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Camilla is a die hard driver and is not interested in active commutes or public transportation due to her long commute and lack of easy alternative commute options. She feels her only option is to drive to work. Using the Paidtogo app, she is offered an alternative route that takes 10-15 minutes longer and uses less congested streets. The app has offered her $1.25 to take this alternative route based on internal algorithms set up with help from Miami city traffic demand management specialists. Her commute is paid for by sponsors that can advertise to her in app, and offer her location based offers that she can redeem by "checking in". She gets paid for taking an alternative route, and on that alternative route there is a coffee shop that is offering her 50 cents off a Latte if she checks in. In addition, the city of Miami is using parking meter funds to offer Camilla an additional 50 cents for taking the alternative route. The result is 3 stacked incentives from multiple sponsors.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users
  • Prototype - you have built a prototype and tested it with potential users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Aaron Soth-Evans - CEO - 14 years experience with web development, marketing, analytics and business ownership Robert Eriksen - CTO - Over 30 years programming experience including work at Intel

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $75,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

We are ready to launch our beta product - Paidtogo - which will be ready for testing by the end of September. Paidtogo is focused on promoting alternative transportation commutes by detecting, analyzing and incentivizing commuters. The features and functionality to track drivers and incentivize alternative routes is an addition to this platform infrastructure. Please refer to our original application for how we would roll out the pilot program with these additional features. We will take $10,000 of prize winnings and add it to our Miami incentives pool for alternative routes.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

We are building a traffic demand management dashboard for city planners that can analyze traffic congestion and our user behavior. The dashboard will show a "heat map" of the most congested areas at certain times. City planners can then use incentives (from public and private sources) to effectively mitigate traffic based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Incentives can be ramped up and down based on traffic congestion. The result is real time traffic demand management. We would measure the success of this pilot by reviewing our app analytics and user activity to determine if users are taking alternative routes and if the result is a drop in traffic congestion at key times and places. We would survey users to find out how effective and desirable this program is and how we can make it better for commuters and sponsors.


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Photo of Aaron Soth-Evans

Hi Matteo,

Thanks for reading the proposal! Good questions. This is obviously a new frontier and we don't claim to have all the answers figured out yet. However, the concept is solid and here's how we see it working:

1) regarding incentives - We are focused on stacked or multiple incentives from different sources. Some incentives will come from in-app ads from sponsors. Some incentives would come from location based local retailers along the alternative route offering a discount for a "check-in". When a commuter is close to a participating business, local retailers would send a push notification to the app with a special offer that can be redeemed upon a check-in. It will definitely require some work to get the advertising right but in the long run I believe its a viable business model.

2) Regarding the value of incentives over time in a vehicle - We would start with 25 cents per mile and allow sponsors to bid for advertising space (similar to google adwords). Sponsors competing for ad space and check-ins should drive the incentives up.

For this model to work effectively, we would add a "check-in to earn" feature that would require users to check-in (and potentially provide proof of purchase) in order to receive an incentive from the local sponsor. This would essentially work as a loyalty and rewards program that is giving "cash back" for stopping by their store. It could also be framed as "paying for your gas" to make the trip to the store. The bottom line is that in exchange for taking an alternative route and checking into a business, the commuter is rewarded with cash and special offers. This could be a monumental shift in advertising as businesses would be eager to pay people to come through their doors. If they can establish a positive ROI on their ad dollars, they will continue to increase their bids for check-ins. We believe that in the next few years a multi billion dollar industry of mobility based ad incentives WILL emerge but it currently doesn't really exist. The current model is that most ad dollars go to the platform (facebook, google, radio, tv, etc...). Things could shift dramatically to where more ad dollars go directly to consumers to take an action (ie check-ins or offer redemptions).

3) Govt grants and subsidies - While we are working to make this model work with the private sector, let's not count out governments. Incentives are a tricky subject when dealing with tax money, but eventually cities (and tax payers) will find out that it's actually much cheaper to incentivize alternative commutes and routes than it is to build new infrastructure to handle traffic congestion. At some point in the near future they will come to this conclusion and billions of tax dollars will start to move towards incentives because they will have no other options (besides penalties) to make any real impact on traffic congestion.

Hope I answered your questions if not let me know



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