John Bernard, COO of Hytch and author of “Government That Works”
We love our cars. And the consequence of that love combined with an ever-growing population means
eventually we have to rethink the reality of getting around.
Typically, our cars are about 80 percent empty, as 76.3 percent of Americans drive alone to work. With
more people needing to get from place to place quickly and efficiently, mass public transit and shared
mobility are crucial – especially as business leaders attract far-away commuters to join their workforce.
Back in May, Nashville’s $5.4 billion transit plan – which would have installed miles of light rail, rapid bus
lines, new transit centers and more – was overwhelmingly rejected by voters.
Nashville would benefit from embracing shared mobility and needs to take the necessary steps to
effectively reduce traffic and increase economic growth.
Align around outcomes
When efforts fail, it’s because a common vision has not yet been created. The leadership work of
engagement and alignment only happens when leadership steps into the gap and then works to close it.
Creating a coalition led by business leaders is key to passing any plan that aims to change travel
behavior. The coalition must have specific measurable outcomes, which give the plan a richer context to
be accepted by voters. The “results revolution” born out of measurable outcomes is a strong tactic to
demonstrate what the issues are, and then work with the community to resolve them.
Encourage shared mobility
Last year’s Census data shows an increase in the proportion of workers who share a ride to the office
across a number of major cities nationwide. Simply put: ride sharing is making a comeback.
A recent study by MIT found shared mobility could reduce traffic congestion by 75 percent. Yet, for
many commuters, carpooling doesn’t come naturally. Business leaders must provide direct incentives to
encourage their employees to take part in this productivity boosting and energy saving solution using
low-tech methods already available, whether that be by encouraging carpooling with a coworker,
promoting walking and cycling, or enhancing existing mass transit lines.
Think in terms of economic opportunity
In February, Nashville ranked as the nation’s 23rd most-congested city, with commuters spending an
average of 34 hours in their cars each year. Those hours cost drivers more than $1,300 each in lost time,
and costs the city an estimated $517 million a year in direct and indirect costs associated with those
delays. The time commuters spend sitting in traffic is non-productive time. By taking that time back,
commuters could be inventing new business ideas, or working towards key company goals.
If Nashville’s failed transit plan would have passed, transit service would have been extended within a
half-mile of more than 1.5 million jobs in Middle Tennessee – more than triple the reach of the existing
People are more willing to change the way they move than we might imagine.
Sometimes, all it takes is a little nudge to get people to ride together.
About John Bernard
John Bernard is the Chief Operating Officer of Hytch, a Nashville-based social impact company that
rewards people to lower carbon emissions, protect clean air and reduce traffic congestion through
logging their shared commutes with the Hytch Rewards platform. John is a results-driven, lean-based
organizational transformation expert and entrepreneur, and the author of the best-selling book Business
at the Speed of Now. John is an expert on the subjects of best-practice management, social media inside
the organization and the modern workforce. His expertise has been featured in the global business media and his leadership played a major role in helping Hytch earn the Sustainable Transportation Award presented by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
For more information visit Hytch.com.