Multi-Modal Transportation

Using multiple modes of transportation is the best approach for some individuals and companies to conserve fuel and reduce vehicle miles traveled. Between ridesharing, mass transit, and active transit, many travelers have access to numerous alternative transportation options.

Vehicle fleet managers, corporate decision makers, and public transportation planners can use these examples of resources to help travelers use multi-modal transportation.

  • OpenTripPlanner Map – an online tool from TriMet that helps Portland, Oregon, travelers plan trips through a combination of transportation modes including transit (bus or train), walking, and bicycling.
  • 511 – a one-stop source from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for commuters in the San Francisco Bay area to access information about ridesharing, mass transit, bicycling, and traffic.
  • Metro Trip Planner – an online tool from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority that assists travelers in the Washington, D.C. metro area in planning trips by bus, train, or both.
  • getDowntown – a partnership in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that provides local businesses and employees with information and assistance with multi-modal commuting.
  • SmarTrips – a program from the Portland Bureau of Transportation that helps people in Portland, Oregon, plan the optimal mix of alternative transportation modes.

A 2010 evaluation by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium found that targeted, customized information marketed to individuals was effective at changing traveler behavior to reduce VMT and petroleum use.


In addition to saving fuel and money, people who use alternative transportation may enjoy incentives like these:

  • Commuter Rewards – a program from the Clean Air Campaign at Georgia College that rewards registered commuters with cash, gift cards, and other prizes.
  • Take a Break from the Exhaust(PDF) – an employee competition from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control that tracks voluntary actions to reduce vehicle miles traveled and pollution to encourage employees to use alternative transportation.

Park-and-Ride Lots

Park-and-ride lots are strategically located near roads widely used by commuters and are often near transit stations. Park-and-ride lots are convenient places to meet rideshare partners or switch transportation modes to mass transit. Public transportation planners can help commuters take advantage of park-and-ride lots by making information easy to access online. For example, San Francisco's 511 website provides interactive maps of park-and-ride lots and a list of park-and-ride lots with information about bike racks and transit connections. "Kiss-and-ride" lots also give commuters the option to catch a ride to the transit station in a friend or family member's vehicle.

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