Stanford Electrical Engineering

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May 2013

Stanford adds walkers, bikers to traffic incentive-based study

A year-old Stanford University program to reduce rush-hour traffic in the area by rewarding its off-peak drivers with cash prizes is working well, so the university is expanding the study to compensate faculty and staff who walk or bike to work.

That last component, called "Walk 'N Talk," is a wellness effort unrelated to traffic congestion, but expansion of the original project to bikers and pedestrians enabled the crediting of walking meetings.

"Capri" (Congestion and Parking Relief Incentives) verifies drivers arriving during off-peak hours by using scanners installed at campus entry points. To credit participants who bike or walk at least a mile to campus on weekdays, the research team of investigator Balaji Prabhakar developed a smart phone application that relies on GPS. The system verifies only the distance traveled and that the trip starts or ends on campus, based on the user hitting a start/stop button.

"I'm a big fan of what Capri has done so far in reducing traffic congestion," said Stanford Provost John Etchemendy.

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