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Pay Drivers for using alternative routes at peak travel times and places

Paidtogo can help mitigate traffic congestion by paying drivers to take alternative routes

Photo of Aaron Soth-Evans
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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 incentivize 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 could be incentivized with cash and rewards for taking the alternative route. Incentives would come from public and private sponsors, city grants, parking meter revenue, and/or 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 Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh established a grant 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, search engine marketing, SEO, 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

  • $100,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

We are ready to launch our beta product - Paidtogo - which will be ready for testing in October. 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 and would take an additional 3-6 months to implement the program. 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 Pittsburgh Public Community incentives pool for alternative routes.

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

Success is ultimately based on reducing traffic congestion and pollution. Also, are drivers using and liking the app? 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 near 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.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Diana Avart

Hi Aaron Soth-Evans ,

This is a really creative idea - thanks for submitting it! My one question is how will you prevent the app from overloading routes that actually aren't made to handle significantly higher levels of traffic, such as residential areas? Will you be able to give the routes that were made for higher capacities of traffic higher incentives and remove incentives base on what they are made to handle instead of purely the number of cars?

- Diana, Facilitator

Photo of Aaron Soth-Evans

Hi Diana,

Thanks for the good questions. We would work with city planners to find the most congested routes and the best alternatives for those routes. We can either offer more incentives for taking that alternative route, or offer no incentives if they deviate from the suggested route. This is one of the things we would need to work out with city TDM experts. Eventually through artificial intelligence and machine learning, the system could learn the optimal incentive for the right place and time to keep traffic flowing smoothly.