Washington Business Alliance Teams With Tech Firm to Tame Seattle Traffic

Partnership is promoting use of phone app that rewards carbon-friendly commuting

April 22, 2019By Bill Conroy

Partnership is promoting use of phone app that rewards carbon-friendly commuting

The Washington Business Alliance, a statewide business organization, is teaming up with social-impact tech company Hytch LLC of Nashville to promote carpooling and other shared transportation as well as to gather data to on how rewards and incentives can help to promote a reduction in carbon emissions.

Hytch offers a free mobile-phone app that provides users with incentives for reducing their transportation carbon footprints, including showing trees saved and providing an opportunity to earn cash rewards for carpooling, rideshares or use of public transit. The cash rewards, however, only apply to app users who live in so-called “sponsored-areas” or who work for an employer who has agreed to sponsor such rewards.

“Municipalities, companies, and organizations who recognize the benefits that reduced traffic will have on our communities, environment and personal well-being ― that’s who sponsors you in geo-defined reward zones,” Hytch’s website explains.

The Washington Business Alliance (WaBA) and Hytch also will make use of aggregate data gathered from use of the app to “help transit authorities, municipalities and employers understand user behavior and to get better results from their Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) investments,” according to a statement released by WaBA and Hytch.

Washington’s new CTR law, which affects some 300 Seattle-area employers, requires business with 100 or more employees to mitigate their traffic footprint through efforts that reduce driving. Hytch, launched last year, says its app has helped to eliminate some 5.8 million vehicle miles in the Nashville area.

“Use of positive reinforcement complements and leverages the many excellent supply-side Commute Trip Reduction efforts,” says David Giuliani, co-founder and president of WaBA and the co-inventor of the Sonicare toothbrush.. “We are excited to work with Hytch to apply this technology to transportation congestion and carbon pollution.”

Earlier this month, the nonprofit Commute Seattle announced it was teaming with software company Tableau and the Seattle and Washington departments of transportation to unveil an interactive online tool that allows employers to assess their employees’ commuting patterns to aid them in reducing traffic congestion in Seattle’s downtown.

The partnership between the Seattle producer of data-visualization software, Commute Seattle and the two public-sector transportation regulators is focused on reducing the number of single-occupancy commute trips into downtown Seattle.