Carma and Toyota Double Car Occupancy

Carma and Toyota Demonstrate Traffic-Busting High-Occupancy Car Rates With Successful Technology Pilot

Goal to Support Toyota’s Environmental Action Plan by Measuring and Growing Car Occupancy Rates at North America Headquarters
 
PLANO, TX (Nov. 13, 2018) – Carma Technology Corporation and Toyota Motors North America are successfully concluding a pilot demonstration of traffic-busting technology that provided shared transportation services for team members at Toyota’s North American headquarters in Plano. The pilot focuses on measuring and growing car occupancy rates, thereby reducing impact on local traffic congestion, air pollution and parking demand.

The pilot has succeeded in doubling the U.S. average car occupancy rate at peak travel times to 2.18 persons for pilot participants, demonstrating the potential for high-occupancy travel incentives and technology to eliminate rush-hour traffic. With almost half of all 4,000 Toyota HQ team members signing up to the service, the pilot has achieved more than 12,000 Verified Occupancy™ trips - across 200,000 shared miles.

Team members use Carma’s mobile app to access a fleet of 34 hybrid Toyota vehicles for shared commute and on-site carshare services. The app, which has a 4 ½ star rating on the App Store, enables users to book a seat as a driver or rider, but also includes automatic driver approval and Bluetooth-enabled car access. The reach of this ride-or-drive commute network extends across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, with routes originating each morning across 21 neighborhoods.  

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"Everyone hates rush hour traffic, and yet it's caused by most of us driving alone," said Lawrence Mulligan, CEO of Carma Technology Corp. "That's why we're excited to partner with Toyota to demonstrate that a focus on car occupancy rates is the key first step to unlocking gridlock in our cities. We're delighted with the results, and the fact that more than 90% of our users said they found the technology easy to use."

Traffic congestion is a non-linear problem, with research estimating a peak-hour reduction of traffic volumes of just 2-5% relating to a reduction in total delay of 27-35%. Therefore, the most effective way to fight traffic is to make it easier and more rewarding for people not to drive alone. A doubling of car occupancy rates in our cities would effectively eradicate the predictable tidal wave of traffic congestion that twice-daily afflicts every city in the United States each weekday.

“Sustainable transportation is a key pillar of our environmental action plan at Toyota Motors North America,” said Jaycie Chitwood, Manager, Strategic Partnerships. “Our partnership with Carma demonstrates this commitment by providing team members with a convenient, affordable and environmentally-friendly alternative to driving alone that reduces congestion and carbon emissions in Plano.”

In addition to finding the technology easy to use, Toyota team members have experienced less tangible benefits from carpooling with their coworkers. “It has been really great for networking,” said Kay Frano, Market Planning Strategist, Toyota. “I have met so many new people that work in different departments I would never have met if it wasn’t for this car sharing program.” Frano and her fellow commuters have even created a monthly after-hours event for all the Toyota team members using the service in their area of town.

In addition to these social benefits, a survey of team members highlighted a better work / life balance and staying on a consistent schedule as other top reasons for consistently participating in the program. “My team knows I am going to show up at a specific time each morning and will leave at a set time each afternoon,” states Shelby Kehr, Information Systems at Toyota. “They no longer pull me into last minute meetings that are not on the calendar at the end of the day.”

Carma’s technology for automatically verifying vehicle occupancy is founded on its seminal and expanding patent portfolio (see US 7,840,427, priority date: 2007). Its innovative and fully automated approach makes it easier than ever before to measure car occupancy rates and will next be deployed in partnership with North Central Texas Council of Governments and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Road users across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex will be able to earn toll discounts on TEXpress Lanes by using Carma’s smartphone app to automatically verify that there are at least 2 people in their car. Carma is licensing its technology for further deployment in metropolitan areas throughout the United States.

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