Changing the Way We Get Around

Congratulations, Bay Meadows residents! Our recent resident survey shows you’re switching up how you get around in big numbers. Thanks to your efforts, plus help from ConnectSanMateo and other programs, walking, biking and riding Caltrain means less time stuck in traffic and more free time to enjoy life.

Just what does it take to make significant changes in a community’s (or a region’s) transportation behaviors? That was the topic of a recent forum at SPUR in San Francisco, the regional planning and urban research think tank.

Bay Meadows’ latest resident survey revealed that 45% of residents commute via Caltrain and 74% walk or bike to shopping, dining or other activities on a regular basis. With numbers like these, our midurban village is ranking high as a model transit-oriented-development that is nudging significant changes in transportation behaviors.

As with smoking or eating, it takes a little work to change daily habits. This is especially true when we’re encouraging people to make the transition from driving alone to using a mix of transit, shuttles, carpools, shared cars, biking, walking and other modes.

As a master-planned community, Bay Meadows presented an opportunity to design a transit-oriented development to function optimally, with zest and energy, where people are on the sidewalks and in cafes, with walking and biking a part of the social fabric.

At SPUR’s forum, leaders from BART, UC Berkeley and Carma, a carpooling and sharing business, discussed strategies they’re pursuing or studying for success. What are proven successful strategies for changing traveler behavior?

In parallel with the cultural shift taking place – with more people gravitating to urban-style living – innovations in transportation technology have played a key role, as well. From ride-hailing services to autonomous vehicles to electric bikes, change is on the horizon.

Speakers at SPUR have studied the following, which present great opportunities to remove single-driver cars from our crowded roads:

Car-Sharing – including peer to peer and fleets of company-owned cars; one study revealed that for every 3-10 cars removed for car-sharing, greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 10%.

Car-Pooling – While car-pooling is at its lowest ever in the country, municipalities are exploring such policies as changing single-vehicle lanes on freeways to High Occupancy 3 vehicles (3+ passengers) while tolling single-vehicle lands.

Transit – BART is rolling a pilot incentive program, dubbed BART Travel Perks, a carrot-based approach that uses “game-theory” to encourage users to compete for points. With BART’s capacity stretched, this program will reward riders who slightly nudge their commute times to the “shoulders” of peak hours. The program is based on a highly successful project conducted in Singapore.

Of course, San Mateo residents have it easy; with the new website, it’s a breeze to figure out the best mode to get you from Point A to Point B.

A Caltrain shuttle, to solve "last-mile" problems, operated by SamTrans

A Caltrain shuttle, to solve “last-mile” problems, operated by SamTrans

Do you love living on the Peninsula? Share your San Mateo pride with the rest of the Bay Area! Tag photos of the best parts of your local life using #baymeadowslife or email and you’ll be automatically entered into our Fame x Frame Photo Contest. WIN up to $50 monthly or a year-end Grand Prize of $500! Get all the details here!

Watch for dates – to be announced – for a live pop-up photo gallery exhibit early 2017, of all the great shots from 2016!