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Now That’s Just Smart: A Smart Region Getting Smarter

Smart City to Smart Region. Transit Alliance hosted an incredible sneak peek at the GNRC’s pioneering new program to help motivate new commuter behaviors to fit regional objectives through the Hytch platform: 

  

  

A few weeks ago, I attended an event hosted by Hytch, LLC. This was no ordinary Zoom. Replete with a two-dimensional stage set in front of a room full of round-top tables, this platform was impressive. But the message was the real star of the show. 

  

The Transit Alliance is committed to building support for funding regional transit. We are always looking for ways to reach that goal. We believe that this new program through the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) is a viable tool to help the Middle Tennessee region get there. 

  

During the event, Hytch explained how its platform has had two years of success at proving incentives can motivate and sustain commuter behavior change for pennies on the dollar.  

  

“In an era of smartphones and smart TVs and smart cars, it’s about time we invest in smarter commutes.” 

-Jessica Dauphin, President and CEO, Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee 

 

Speakers like Charlie Apigian from Middle Tennessee State University and Dr. James Kuffner, Toyota’s Chief Digital Officer, talked about data and the critical nature of data science in our lives today and into the future. But it was the discussion with Michael Skipper, Director at GNRC that turned on the lights. 

  

The strategy is simple: leverage Federal Surface Transportation Block Grants to fund incentives for regional commuters through Hytch. 

  

It’s like pioneering in the wild west. 

  

Most cities are battling congestion, air quality, and high vehicle miles traveled, but continue to have lackluster outcomes despite their best efforts. 

  

Can cities and regions help support and motivate commuter change from driving alone to carpooling, taking transit, or taking an alternate route–especially when budgets are already strained? 

  

Hytch believes they can. They only need to incentivize residents to choose behaviors that support regional objectives. 

  

“Nothing is going to change until we do.” 

  -Jessica Dauphin 

 

It was like watching a light bulb turn on. 

  

Not too long after, Hytch asked if the Transit Alliance would like to take this message to our audience for a sneak peek.  

  

(Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.)  

  

We hosted an intimate, virtual gathering on that same incredible platform (Remo for those interested) with Transit Alliance partners, contributors, and TCLA Alumni.  

  

Congressional Representative Mark Green called in with some wonderful comments (at 52:30), and newly elected State Senator Heidi Campbell was there with some questions (at 53:36). 

  

As thought leaders in the heart of Tennessee, it is our duty to stay up to date on trends and programs that can help our region remain economically competitive and sustainable, healthy and environmentally sound, equitable and strategic. 

  

If COVID-19 has taught us anything it is that transit is essential. It is the thing that keeps our city and region thriving. 

  

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