If gas prices are a concern, or post-Covid traffic seems worse, you may be a local commuter who is re-thinking their usual way of getting to work. And, there are new options to get to and from Fort Belvoir. For a limited time, commuters can get paid for trying out a better way to commute to Belvoir.
Defense commuters are encouraged to sign up for the Federal Highway Administration’s Smartphone Incentives program, which introduces commuters to new travel options to and from Belvoir. Through a free navigation app, participants will get suggestions to leave a little earlier or later than normal to avoid traffic; give public transit and carpooling a try; or even ride a bike to base, depending on their usual commute. Some can earn gift cards to their favorite stores and restaurants just for giving those suggestions a try.
As part of the program, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, in a partnership with Metropia, Inc., provides Belvoir employees access to GoEzy, an app that tailors suggestions to commuters’ specific routes.The app is now available and is largely geared toward drivers who use Belvoir’s Kingman Gate, which provides easy access to INSCOM, the Intelligence and Securities Command; and DLA, or the Defense Logistics Agency; and commuters who travel near Fort Belvoir North Area, where the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is. The app allows commuters to find better ways to get around the region by combining all travel options available.
Kingman Gate user
Peggy Tadej, director of military affairs at the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, advised commuters to “Go on the app, look for Fort Belvoir and join,” adding there’s a particular need for commuters who drive near or use Kingman Gate on their Belvoir commute.
“For Defense commuters, most can pull up to the gate with a CAC, drop people off and then come back out,” Tadej said.
The Defense-commute website, defensecommuter.org, gives people options, with a goal of getting people who drive by themselves off the roads and changing to being passengers in someone else’s car. The app also suggests ways to save time and money and avoid the stresses of traffic. As part of the pilot, a private carpool group for Belvoir within the app has been started.
The app lets drivers know where they can pick up passengers and the best times to arrive.
“We’re especially interested in those commuters who drive in from south of Fort Belvoir,” Tadej said.
Drivers using the HOV/Express Lanes on I-95 can easily get to Fort Belvoir North Area, drop off NGA employees and then continue on their own commute, she said. With three or more people in the car, the ride is free on the Express Lanes, saving drivers their usual toll fees.
“We’re trying to get 120 new passengers – who once drove in alone - to use the program over the next six months,” she said. “We want them to use any other method than driving by themselves,” she said. “Biking, walking, car-pooling or van-pooling. Every little bit helps alleviate congestion in the area and benefits the environment.”
Tadej also added that commuters who use a van pool or public transit, instead of driving, may be eligible for the federal transit benefit, which can earn someone $280 a month.
Information is available from defensecommuter.org.