Sunday, July 10, 2011

How do you motivate people to take the bus?

Or more correctly how do you motivate people to take the bus at a different time. One of the reasons traffic is so terrible is that we tend to live i lock step, hence the phenomenon known as "rush hour" This creates havoc for mass transit systems since if you build for peak, you have a lot of "rolling stock" being unused or underused most of the time. This is the same reason that on Mother's day you'll often get "all circuits are busy" messages when you call mom.

Singapore has invested a lot in their mass transit and the Economist explores the novel incentive system to encourage off peak ridership. Instead of directly paying individuals to leave earlier, they use a system of lottery tickets to get more chances at winning a larger prize. It works in the same way that slot machines do at casinos, the stakes are high enough that you win occasionally, (or others close by win) to keep you habitually tied to the new schedule.

It'll be interesting to see if it works in Singapore...


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