U.Va. Upgrades Incentives for Car Pooling

June 30, 2010 — The University of Virginia is increasing its car pool incentives.

Under a new plan, which takes effect on July 1, two-person car pools will receive a 25 percent discount on parking permits, up from 10 percent, and three-person car pools will receive a 40 percent discount on parking fees, up from 25 percent. Four-person car pools will continue to park for free. To receive benefits, car poolers need to be enrolled in the University's Cavpool program.

The University promotes car pooling because it relieves traffic congestion, reduces employees' commuting stress and cuts costs for both the commuter and the University.

"A reduction in parking demand will offset the need to build additional parking structures on land that could be used for academics and research," said Rebecca White, director of the Department of Parking and Transportation.

A 2008 survey indicates that about 1,300 to 1,400 U.Va. employees are currently using car pools to commute to the University. This represents about 10 percent of U.Va.'s workforce.

Cavpool members are permitted to park in preferred locations and may receive up to 20 "occasional parker" permits for the days they must drive themselves.

"More than 60 percent of employees live too far away to make use of biking, walking or mass transit," White said. "However, populations are dense enough for very successful car pooling. About 90 percent of employees live within a half-mile of another U.Va. employee. We want to promote car pooling as a viable option because the more people who use the service increases the chances of finding suitable ride-share matches."
 
Car poolers can also benefit from Zipcar, a service that permits members to reserve cars for a brief period of time. Cavpool members who also join ZipCar receive an annual $15 Zipcar driving credit.

"Zipcar provides car poolers without a vehicle low-cost access to cars by the hour to run errands during the workday," White said. "Cavpool members may also enroll in the 'Guaranteed Ride Home' program, which provides transportation home if they are stranded due to a family or personal emergency." 
 
Parking and Transportation surveys find the heaviest concentrations of current car poolers within 10 miles and from between 21 to 30 miles of the University. The largest numbers of riders are from Charlottesville, Palmyra and Waynesboro.