The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is considering the use of blockchain technology to incentivize safer driving practices by drivers and passengers alike. The DOT is currently seeking public comment on the idea, which would also see a study being funded to determine whether or not this is a viable option for a cashless society.
How can we to harness new technologies, such as blockchains, to create a more efficient transportation system?
This article explores these questions and more regarding the potential benefits and pitfalls of using crypto token incentives for commercial drivers.
In its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, the Department of Transportation unveiled a list of proposed research areas this week, including one proposing to examine the use of crypto tokens to encourage consumers to make better use of modes of transportation.
In the pre-solicitation notice issued on January 6, the research area states that parking spaces for consumers, workers, and other drivers will become limited as the US recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the DOT, a scarcity of shared parking resources and the uncertainty of finding open spaces without coordination represents a major opportunity for real-time influence on commuters’ decisions.
With blockchain technology, a novel approach to incentivizing alternatives to driving could be devised. For example, travelers can use tokens to reserve parking or receive tokens for agreeing to use another mode of transportation instead of driving. The system may offer increasing incentives, such as tokens or discounts as spaces are reserved and become scarcer, for travelers to choose not to reserve a space or to take a different mode of transportation, such as public transportation and other shared mobility options.With blockchain technology, users can access reserved parking spaces and earn incentives by enabling tracked, trusted payment transactions.
“Moreover, a blockchain-based system would provide real-time, transparent information on travel incentives; provide secure decentralized token management; and ensure data credibility; gamification strategies could be implemented as a further incentive, and the system could be coordinated across multiple facilities and scaled and coordinated,” the DOT document continued.
According to the document, the research area is early, and the specific funding is not specified. The document calls for the preparation of a proof-of-concept report on a mobile application through which incentives would be distributed.A pilot program would be the focus of the follow-up phases.
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