Individual incentives for public transportation
Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- This strategy provides household assistance that can help address the negative economic impacts of COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
- Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- Consist of reimbursements, discounts, pretax deductions, or other financial methods of motivating individuals to use public transportation
- Aim to boost use of public transit and physical activity, potentially reducing obesity rates and increasing active transportation
- Implemented at various levels of government, including cities, states, and the federal government
- Variables such as flexible work schedules and changes in gas prices have been shown to play a role in influencing the uptake of transit use
Evidence and impacts
Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
- Increased public transit use
- Increased physical activity
- Increased transportation revenue
- Reduced transportation costs for employers and employees
Best practices in implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Communities without strong transit access will first require baseline investments in service improvements in order for incentives to increase utilization
- Increasing private vehicle user fees increases public transit use and reduces automobile use
- Transit pass incentive programs are particularly successful in increasing public transit use among college students
- Price sensitivity to transit fares depends on transit dependency, type of trip, time of day, and geographic conditions such as population density and character of the built environment
- Programs may include transportation subsidies, transit passes, and energy tax credit awards to organizations promoting the use of public transit.
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps evidence overview of individual incentives for public transportation Victoria Transport Policy Institute evaluation of public transit benefit and costs U.S. Department of Transportation. (2015). Expand public transportation systems and offer incentives. National Center for Transit Research. (2015). TDM commuter tax benefits.