FAQ for FlexPass Commuting Study

Collage of three photos: ABC Ramps, male working at home, busses on downtown Minneapolis street

 

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Who can participate in the study?

Anyone who either has a current monthly contract with ABC Ramps in downtown Minneapolis or who cancelled their parking contract with ABC Ramps since March 2020 can participate in the FlexPass research study. In the future we may expand enrollment to other users. If you are not eligible, you can provide your email and the name of your employer through the Enrollment Survey and you’ll be notified when FlexPass becomes more widely available.

How do I sign up?

Visit moveminneapolis.org/flexpass to sign up for FlexPass. The first step is to complete the Enrollment Survey.

What will study participants be asked to do?

After you’ve completed the Enrollment Survey, you’ll be asked to:

  • Sign the research study Consent Form. The FlexPass Enrollment Confirmation email will contain a link to electronically sign the Consent Form. You may review a static PDF of the Consent Form here. The Consent Form details the study procedures and the data that will collected during the study, including travel behavior, parking use, and transit use. If you have questions about the Consent Form, please contact [email protected]. You must sign the form before you can pick up your FlexPass card.
  • Pick up your FlexPass cardAfter you sign the Consent Form, you may pick up your card beginning on the 21st day of the month that you enroll. The card can be picked up at the ABC Ramps office located at Ramp A during their business hours. There, you’ll confirm your contract, get your card, and make your first month’s payment. The FlexPass card will activate at the start of the following month. If you have an existing contract with ABC Ramps, that contract will deactivate at the end of the month.
  • Download the Daynamica app on your smartphone. After you pick up your card, you will receive a username and password to log in to the mobile app. Daynamica will use location sensing technology (e.g., GPS) on your phone to record trip and activity data throughout the day. The app is available on the App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android). You will receive more information about using Daynamica during the study.
  • Use FlexPass. Use your FlexPass card for both parking and taking the bus or light rail. The card includes an unlimited monthly pass with Metro Transit.
  • Collect 14 days’ worth of data with Daynamica. While your FlexPass card is active, use the app on a daily basis to confirm your trip and activity details and edit details as needed. This process is fast and easy, and your privacy will be protected.
  • Complete short in-app surveys. Each activity and trip event will have a few questions associated with it. Confirming details and completing surveys will take about 10–20 minutes per day. Information for how to complete surveys can be found in the Daynamica user guide for FlexPass.
  • Respond to a short exit survey at the end of the study period. When you exit the research study or when the study ends, you will be sent an exit survey that takes around 10 minutes to complete.

Will I get paid to participate?

Study participants will receive a Visa gift card for up to $40. The amount depends on how many days of trip data you enter into the app.

Visa gift card value

Days of trip data entered

$40

14 days

$30

11 or more

$20

7 or more

 

A day of data collected with Daynamica is at least 23 hours of confirmed calendar events within one day and all of the surveys associated with that day are completed. We encourage participants to collect 14 consecutive days of data. Daynamica data must be collected while your FlexPass card is active.

While it’s free to participate in the FlexPass research study, you’ll need to pay for FlexPass. This costs less than your current parking contract. When you enroll in FlexPass, your parking contract will switch at the beginning of the following month.

How long is the study?

The study is anticipated to end May 1, 2021. Study participants are asked to collect their trip and activity details for just 14 days with Daynamica, but can continue using FlexPass through April 2021.

What are the benefits of FlexPass?

You may save money and reduce your driving—all without giving up your reserved parking spot. By joining the FlexPass Commuting Study, you can:

  • Contribute to research—Help researchers figure out effective ways to improve commutes, while potentially reducing congestion and pollution in the Twin Cities.
  • Save money—FlexPass costs less than a standard monthly parking contract, plus you’ll receive a Visa gift card for participating in the study. Some employers may let you buy FlexPass with pre-tax dollars, which means more take-home pay for you.
  • Keep your parking spot—Use your parking spot on the days you need it most. You’ll have a guaranteed parking spot for either 10 or 14 days per month, depending on which FlexPass option you choose.
  • Get unlimited transit—Take the bus or light rail as often as you want, weekdays and weekends, and get discounted fares on Northstar. Plan your trip at metrotransit.org.

How do I download the study’s app on my phone?

On your smartphone, go to Google Play (Android) or the App Store (iOS) and then download the Daynamica app. This is the app you’ll use to enter your daily trip and activity details. When you join the study, we will provide more detailed instructions on how to download and use the app. We will also tell you how to pause data collection and remove the app from your phone.

What information will be collected during the study?

The University will collect data from the enrollment and exit survey, Daynamica, the ABC Ramps Parking Operator, and Metro Transit.

The Daynamica app uses GPS and other location sensing technologies embedded in a smartphone to determine your real-time location. Based on this information, the app determines whether you are in an activity or trip status and records your activity location or trip trajectory. Trip and activity data include type, duration, and in-app survey responses associated with each event.

The Parking Operator will disclose your parking activity data to the University of Minnesota. Parking activity data includes the transaction ID; transaction date and time; and ramp entry/exit location for each use of the FlexPass card or existing Monthly contract card between October 1, 2019 and May 1, 2021.

The University will collect personal transit use data from Metro Transit. Personal transit activity data includes transaction ID, transaction date and time, route number, direction (if applicable), boarding location, and transfer description for each use of your FlexPass card or existing Go-To Card (if applicable) between October 1, 2019 and May 1, 2021.

The consent to this disclosure will expire at the termination of the Consent Form.

Can I pause data collection?

If at any time you would like to pause location data collection with Daynamica, you may turn off this function in the Settings menu within the Daynamica app. Note that disabling the collection of location data may affect your eligibility for compensation in the Consent Form. Parking and transit use data collection cannot be paused during your participation in the study. Daynamica will also stop collecting information when you remove the app from your phone.      

Will my location data be shared?

Location data will only be shared with the University of Minnesota. The nature of this sharing will be governed by the terms of the research study Consent Form. For more information about the Daynamica app’s Privacy Policy see daynamica.com/privacy-policy/.

What if I enroll in the study but don't end up commuting?

No problem. You can wait to collect trip and activity data with Daynamica once you start regularly commuting to work. We are asking participants to collect 14 consecutive days of data with Daynamica while their FlexPass card is active, knowing that some days you may not commute to work and some days you may have off. We want to capture this trip and activity data even if it’s not work related.

What if I want to drop out of the study?

You can leave the study and go back to your original parking contract at any time. To drop out, contact University of Minnesota researcher Galen Ryan at [email protected].

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How does FlexPass differ from my current parking contract?

FlexPass is very similar to other monthly contracts with ABC Ramps. While it offers guaranteed access to ABC Ramps and in-and-out privileges, there are a few key differences:

  • Limited parking days—You can only park in the ramp either 10 or 14 days per month, depending on which FlexPass option you choose.
  • Unlimited transit—FlexPass includes unlimited Metro Transit rides on both light rail and buses.
  • Valid through April 2021 only—Currently, FlexPass will only be offered until May 1, 2021. We don’t know if it will continue to be available after that point. Either way, you’ll always have the option to go back to your original parking contract.

If I get FlexPass, what happens to my current contract?

Once you enroll in the FlexPass study, your current contract will remain active until the end of the month. You may pick up your FlexPass card beginning on the 21st day of the month that you enroll but it will not be active until the 1st of the following month. At this time, you will turn in your existing contract card. You’ll only be paying for one parking contract. You can go back to your original parking contract at any time.

Will I need separate cards for parking and transit?

No. Both your parking contract and your transit pass are conveniently loaded onto a single card. You’ll only need one card to get to and from work, whether you’re driving or taking transit.

What are the terms of my new FlexPass parking contract?

Limited parking days—You can only park in the ramp either 10 or 14 days per month, depending on which FlexPass option you choose.

  • Each day of parking you are guaranteed entry with a 12-hour period of in-and-out privileges. 
  • At the end of the 12-hour in-and-out period, you may exit the ramp within a remaining 12-hour period for no additional charge. 
  • If you re-enter the ramp within the remaining 12-hour period, your contract will be deducted for another day of parking.
  • If you stay beyond a 24-hour period, your contract will be deducted one day of parking and you will be charged the 24-hour rate for each 24-hour period that you stay (rounding down), payable by credit card when you exit the ramp.

Unlimited transit—FlexPass includes unlimited Metro Transit rides on both light rail and buses.

What happens when I use all my contracted parking days?

You are no longer guaranteed ramp entry. You can either pay for parking out-of-pocket or take transit. Parking reservations can be made ahead of time at mplsparking.com.

How do I check how many days I’ve parked?

You can check your parking and transit use with the FlexPass User Dashboard. The Dashboard will also present trip and activity data collected through Daynamica. Visit the “My FlexPass” tab to view parking use for each month. Study participants will receive a username and password for the Dashboard after they pick up their FlexPass card.

Your remaining parking use will also be displayed at the entry and exit gate when you use your card.

What do I get with a transit pass?

You’ll get unlimited Metro Transit rides on both light rail and buses. This includes express and local routes for Metro Transit and suburban bus lines. Note that the NorthStar rail requires additional funds north of Ramsey, but the first $3.25 is covered.

You can use your transit pass anytime you’d like, on both weekdays and weekends. Plan your trip at metrotransit.org.

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Will I be able to see the study results?

Yes, the general findings from the research study will be publicly available on this website. We expect to share them by the end of 2021.

What happens after the study ends?

Our hope is to continue offering FlexPass after the study ends on May 1, 2021. Whether FlexPass will be an option depends on the preliminary findings at the end of the study. If FlexPass is discontinued, participants will have the opportunity to purchase other contracts at ABC Ramps, including the standard Monthly contract.

For other questions about FlexPass and the research study, contact Galen Ryan at [email protected]