We can all learn from MIT’s experiment in changing commuter behavior
A theme that continues to come up in this expanding conversation around transportation is the notion that technology is the solution to our problems. While many might expect for Kendall Square to advocate for technological solutions to the transportation crisis, the reality that there are other valuable approaches is showcased in the Spotlight team’s coverage of the MIT transportation experiment (“Late, as always,” Page A1, Nov. 20).
With the right policies, employers can create lasting change, and the Kendall Square community is eager to prove that the MIT experiment in changing behavior wasn’t a fluke. This month, the Kendall Square Association kicked off Transportation ADVANCE, bringing together 19 Kendall companies who compete on innovation, to design and adopt experiments that will ease short-term commuting pain for employees by leveraging technology and employee benefits.
A crisis demands that everyone do what they can to help. The Kendall employer community is using data and peer learning to shift its members’ own behavior and put more people on transit. Now, we need our Legislature and governor to do their part and deliver a transportation package with policies designed to shift behavior and generate desperately needed revenue for our failing system.
Kendall Square Association
With its failed policy, state continues to make the car king
It was not surprising to read the Globe’s Spotlight series “Seeing red” on the region’s crippling traffic. Congestion and its impacts on quality of life and economic activity should not be viewed as a result of economic success, as state leaders claim. Congestion is a failure in planning and policy that has created an inefficient transportation system.
The car will always be king if we continue to place our priorities on the automobile, as appears to be the state Transportation Department’s goal. For decades, the state funded MassRIDES, a commuter services program, but it terminated it this year. Now, when visiting commute.com, long the state’s commuter information website, the only assistance provided is “to help you plan your trip on Massachusetts roadways.” There are no links to the MBTA or regional transit agencies, no promotion of bike paths, and no information on establishing an employer telecommuting program. The Transportation Department also diverted funding from the state’s transportation management associations, public-private partnerships providing services to more than 250,000 commuters.
How can the state expect to solve congestion when its actions are counter to this goal? The state must refocus its priorities and implement a comprehensive transportation demand management plan to take aggressive action on congestion and mobility.
Association for Commuter Transportation
Our obsession with free delivery is a big part of the problem
Regarding the issue of clogged city streets (“The tech effect,” Page A1, Nov. 21): One of the problems I see is the generous free-shipping perk offered by Amazon and other companies. If consumers had to pay a fee or shipping cost to get warehouse-to-door delivery service, they might just hold off until they had at least a few items on their list or a serious need for the products being so conveniently delivered to their doorstep. Does anybody need a coffee mug delivered overnight so badly as to justify a truck circling the block over and over just to get it to their door? Come on, people, a lot of the blame for all this traffic congestion begins right in our own homes when we click “Transaction Complete.”
By the way. there’s a great little family-owned gift shop I can walk to that has a terrific selection of coffee mugs that I can hold to see which is a comfortable fit in my hand. Not only can I get it in about an hour, but I’m contributing to my local economy and getting some exercise to boot.