What we know about Vanpooling:
Vanpooling is recognized as playing an important role in helping to manage traffic congestion. Nevertheless, commuters are often reluctant to adopt vanpooling. Under the right conditions and with appropriate programs in place, some commuters are willing to try vanpooling on their regular commutes.
Both employers and employees often recognize the role vanpooling can play in managing traffic congestion. However, vanpooling is one of the least common or “last to be adopted” commute choices.
In fact, when faced with traffic congestion, commuters tend to adjust in ways other than changing modes of transportation. For example, at the Springfield Interchange, commuters reported that they have been more likely to leave home earlier (39%) or change their route (32%) in response to the construction than to try another transportation mode (including vanpooling) (12%).
When ridesharing, commuters are more likely to carpool than vanpool. Among commuters traveling through the Springfield Interchange, for example, 10% of commuters ride/drive in carpools with one other person, 9% carpool with two or more others, and 9% carpool on an informal basis (slug). In contrast, only 5% commute in vanpools.
· Those SOV commuters traveling through the Springfield Interchange who would try an alternative transportation mode in the future are more likely to try carpooling (20%) than vanpooling (7%).
· For many commuters, carpooling seems an easier “transition” from SOV to some form of ridesharing because it is most similar to driving in their own vehicle.
The most common reasons for vanpooling are saving money (45%), convenience (34%) and saving time (20%). Most often, commuters indicate that they would not commute in a vanpool because it does not fit their work schedule (26%), it is inconvenient (14%), they need their car (8%) or just “don’t want to” (8%).
Programs that support or make it easier to vanpool can increase use of vanpooling. For example, 58% of Springfield Interchange commuters who switched to vanpooling said that having a convenient park-n-ride lot played an important role in their switch.
In Northern Virginia, most (81%) of the vanpools serve the I-95 corridor, while only 13% and 3% serve I-66 and Dulles Toll Road, respectively. Most of the vanpools travel over 90 miles each day. On average, 9 passengers per van are using employer-provided Metrocheck vouchers.
Recruiting new riders is the single biggest challenge facing vanpool owner/operators.
2003: “Northern Virginia HOV Attitude and Usage Study”
2004: “Northern Virginia AdVantage Vanpool Product Study”