How to Create a Culture of Public Transit: The 'Marci Option'

From The Atlantic: How to Create a Culture of Public Transit: The 'Marci Option' : ""

Marci and her team see leaving the car at home as a lifestyle choice rather than a sacrifice—something you'd read about in Real Simple or Oprah.

But is that really true? Last week I went to an exurban office park in San Ramon, California where 33 percent of the park's 30,000 workers leave their cars at home. Despite the fact that Bishop Ranch is 37 miles from San Francisco, a dozen miles from the nearest BART rail station, and home to Chevron's corporate offices, its parking lots are surprisingly empty, and it has won many awards for transit. Marci McGuire, the program manager for the Ranch's Transportation center, describes the attitude at the park as "a culture" where it's cool to have a bus pass. "When you do it right, it's like a cult," she says.

I spent a couple of hours with Marci to find out how she nurtures this cult that gets 10,000 people out of their cars daily. It seemed to me that there were three aspects of the program that operate counter to the current thinking. First, logistically, there are a lot of buses that terminate and originate within a few blocks of all the 30,000 jobs in the park. Secondly, the focus of the transit program is not exclusively environmental, but encompasses health, stress, and financial benefits. Thirdly, though there are 500 businesses at the park, a single office takes pride in its ability to get people on transit, and thus there's an evangelical zeal to the whole operation. It's not "just a program"--it's Marci and her team's program.

David Levinson

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on April 20, 2011 9:13 AM.

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