Miami Rewards Residents For Leaving Their Cars Home

People will earn points for using public transportation, biking, skating or walking to work.


(dennizn /

When you hear from your local municipality its usually means you owe money for something like taxes or parking tickets. It's not usual for your city or town to give you money – actually more like a voucher – but Miami-Dade county in Florida is switching things up a bit and doing just that for residents who leave their cars home.

The county is plagued with gridlock and was looking for a way to reduce traffic and improve the quality of life for the people who live there. That's why county leaders decided to team up with a new mobility app Velocia that believes in rewarding people every time they commute via public transportation.

Miami's mayor Carlos Gimenez announced the new partnership between Miami-Dade County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works and o at a press conference on December 5. He said that the county is always looking to improve the traffic congestion.

“Velocia is a revolutionary mobility app that offers rewards for smart decisions that help people break the habit of traveling alone in cars,” Gimenez said. “This app offers great incentives to use many of the transit innovations that we have achieved in the past eight years,” said Gimenez.

The idea for using rewards came from a Fastrack Institute – nonprofit foundation that tackles urban issues –  2017 program according to The Miami Herald.

Residents that use trains or busses, carpool to work, or even use scooters, bicycles, or their feet to get to work will translate into rewards. The reward, according to Velocia is a virtual currency called Velos that can be redeemed for public transportation tickets, bikeshare time, or other mobility types like Ubers or Lyft.

It's easy to use, just download the app on your iPhone or Android and then leave your car at home and the mobility app tracks what transportation you use; yes, Big Brother is watching.

“Incentives and rewards can change how people move around,” David Winterstein, Velocia CEO told  The Miami Herald; “The ultimate goal is to reduce traffic and reduce carbon emissions.”

Barbara Walters, 75, was one of the users who signed on during a soft August launch. “I wouldn’t call myself a tree-hugger, but I wanted to do my part,” she said. “It’s a lot easier than you think.” She believes that the program is a win/win for everyone.

Municipalities wordwide are working on ways to reduce car use to cut back on greenhouse emissions and to make cities more livable. Places like Amsterdam, Netherlands and Hamburg, Germany are committed to making walking and biking the dominant form of transportation in their city-centers. Other cities are providing free public transportation to cut down on car use.

If more US municipalities adopt programs like the Velocia app, it could go along way to reduce smog, greenhouse gasses, and wasted time sitting in gridlocked streets. It really would be a win/win for city residents.

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