Free dinner? Free parking? Northern Virginia transportation leaders exploring creative options to incentivize commuter behavior

Imagine you’re getting ready to drive to work and suddenly an alert comes across your phone: There’s a disruption on your route causing back-ups, but if you alter your plans – maybe you take the bus or Metro, or you delay your trip slightly – you get free dinner on the higher transportation powers that be.

That could soon be a reality in Northern Virginia, according to transportation officials at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Future of Transportation panel discussion Thursday morning.

The plan is what Virginia Department of Transportation Chief Deputy Commissioner Cathy McGhee called “dynamic incentivization,” and it’s part of the Regional Multi-Modal Mobility Program (RM3P, as transportation officials call it), a collaboration between VDOT and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority that will aim to use real-time transportation data from the public and private sectors to “give the public the tools to make more informed travel choices.”