Would ‘carrots’ change your driving behavior?

WASHINGTON – Nobody likes being stuck in traffic, but are you being given an incentive to change your commute?

What if changing your commute came with a payday?

It may not work for every organization, but researchers at Stanford University put a similar program in place and it became so popular that it will soon be expanded to cover parking.

Stanford received a $3 million research grant from the Department of Transportation to start Capri, or the “Congestion and Parking Relief Incentives” program, according to The New York Times.

The program gives employees the chance to win up to $50, added to their paychecks, by changing their commutes to off-peak times.

A social network component to Stanford’s lottery lets friends see the “good” behaviors of others, something researchers say reinforces changes and commitments to change.

Experts tell the Times that the problem with congestion is too often “sticks,” such as tolls, are used to change behavior, instead of “carrots,” or incentives.

But Charles Komanoff, a transportation expert for New York, says “little carrots” won’t change drivers’ decisions in New York or in San Francisco.

WTOP’s Adam Tuss contributed to this report. Follow Adam and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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