connect / 2015

Green Commuter LA2050

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Green Commuter

Green Commuter emphasizes sustainability and maximizing the efficiency of the existing transportation network at a human scale. This proposal expands the upcoming launch of our pilot programs offering complete car sharing and vanpooling services using the latest technology and zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to facilitate travel across the greater LA area. We offer the most comprehensive program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion, all while reducing commuting costs.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Antelope Valley
  • City of Los Angeles

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Connect” metrics?

  • Median travel time to work
  • Attendance at cultural events
  • Number of public transit riders
  • Transit-accessible housing and employment (the share of housing units and percentage of jobs that are located near transit)
  • Access to free wifi (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to connect.

Green Commuter will make LA the best place to connect by offering a tool to help LA residents, commuters, and visitors get from one place to another in an environmentally-friendly, convenient, affordable, and innovative way.

Current vanpool commuters only use their vans between 10 to 15 hours per week (an average of a 1 to 1.5 hour commute each way for five days). With only 6-9% of usage during any point of a given week, the van stays unused for the remaining 91-94% of time. In order to address this deficiency and maximize utilization and efficiency of the vehicles, Green Commuter has developed a new model that will use the vanpool vehicle, when it is not commuting people to and from work, as a public car share vehicle or to replace an employer or municipality’s fleet vehicle. The goal is for the synergy between all systems to dramatically increase the benefits of their stand-alone schemes.

The synergistic model couples zero-emission vehicles with ride sharing and car sharing, offering one of the most comprehensive programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion while simultaneously reducing the commuting costs of its members. Currently, the only vehicle to meet the needs of this innovate model is the all-electric Tesla Model X. A 7-passenger utility vehicle, the Model X offers the essential battery capacity for the long-range driving needed to allow for car sharing, vanpooling, and fleet replacement on a daily basis.

Green Commuter plans to launch in early 2016 and a grant from LA 2050 would help expand our first pilot program in order to reach more people. As an LA2050 report noted, “People live where they do because they want to get a quality education, a good job, an affordable home, and maintain (or build new) social ties. Transportation helps accomplish these goals.” Green Commuter’s goal builds on all these objectives to make sure that transportation is affordable, green, and convenient. In many instances, people have limited access to public transportation and, without a service like Green Commuter, would have no mobility options or otherwise be restricted to the costs associated with using a single vehicle. Therefore, Green Commuter’s innovative strategy will help reduce single occupancy vehicle use in Los Angeles and, in turn, help mitigate traffic and air pollution.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Green Commuter’s success will be measured primarily by the deployment of its all-electric, zero-emission fleet, but also by its ability to meet its goals to alleviate traffic, mitigate air pollution, and reduce the cost of commuting.

Vanpooling is the most affordable way to commute and Green Commuter will offer its vanpool services at a monthly cost that is less than what other current vanpool providers charge. Additionally, car sharing also helps improve mobility options, particularly for disadvantaged communities. Every all-electric vanpool avoids, on average, the emission of 39 MTCO2 per year and every car share removes 9-13 vehicles from the road. Therefore, utilization of Green Commuter’s model will quantifiably reduce commuting costs for its riders, help improve air quality, and remove vehicles from the road. Green Commuter will collect and monitor data from each of its vehicles to both evaluate and demonstrates its ongoing impact.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support