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Downtown Boise: Wallet program offers transit savings

Downtown Mobility Collaborative program to launch in October

Click the cover to read and download the 2019 Downtown Boise publication.

Click the cover to read and download the 2019 Downtown Boise publication in which this story is included.

A newly formed group of public and private partners have come together to address mobility in downtown Boise, expand available transportation options and increase connectivity, convenience and accessibility of current transportation options.

The initial group that came together to fund the Downtown Mobility Collaborative was the City of Boise, Valley Regional Transit, the Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC), Boise State University and the Ada County Highway District (ACHD). Since then, several other partners have joined, including the Downtown Boise Association, St. Luke’s, Ada County and more.

In October, the collaborative will launch transportation “wallets.” These integrative passes for the downtown community come at a discounted rate, and will integrate multiple options of transportation into one payment, providing ease of use.

“A package of mobility options works best for an employer to provide for their employees,” says Kaite Justice, program director of the Downtown Mobility Collaborative Office. “That way, you don’t have to go through so many different hoops to use different mobilities and services.”

Along with transportation wallets, the collaborative will launch a robust website that will work as a “one-stop shop,” providing a variety of nearby transportation options and resources. It is designed to help people find out which bus stops, bikes and scooters are available nearby.

“It’s going to be a great resource and provide information that keeps people from even wanting to try any different mode of transportation, because they don’t really know what’s out there,” Justice says.

Bikes, scooters and automobiles! Multiple modes of transit keep Boise on the move. Photo by Pete Grady

Eventually, the collaborative hopes to develop an integrative mobility app where individuals can manage their employee incentive program, pay for and track trips, identify all their transportation resources and figure out a way to get to destinations that require multiple modes of transportation.

The Treasure Valley is growing, and downtown Boise alone is going to see an increase of about 20,000 workers by 2040, according to Justice. That will lead to an additional 200,000 trips a day, and the increase will lead to further challenges with downtown traffic and parking while raising the concern of air quality.

“During fire season, we have really bad air quality that gets trapped in the valley, and when everyone is driving during that time it makes the air quality even worse,” Justice says. “If someone has convenient options when the air quality is bad, and don’t want to make it worse, that could make a difference.”

Environmentally and economically, there are major benefits to using shared transportation options, especially in a fast-growing city like Boise. According to the most recent census survey, only 36% of commuters downtown take a more sustainable mode of transit to work than driving alone.

Since downtown Boise is the strongest economic center and employment hub in the region, transportation options are critical to employers, employees and visitors alike.

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