FAQ: FlexPass Commuting Study

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 in the last three months 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 [link to]Enrollment Survey and you’ll be notified when FlexPass becomes more widely available.

How do I sign up?

Visit moveminneapolis.org to sign up for FlexPass and enroll in the study.

What will study participants be asked to do?

After you’ve completed the [Link to enrolment survey]Enrollment Survey, you’ll be asked to:

  • Pick up your FlexPass card. Cards can be picked up at the ABC Ramps office located at the Ramp A ground-floor lobby. There, you’ll confirm your contract, get your card, and sign a consent form.
  • Sign the research study Consent Form. You will review and sign the [begin hyperlink to Consent Form]Consent Form[end hyperlink] when you pick up your FlexPass card. The Consent Form details that data that will collected during the study, including parking and transit use.
  • Download the Daynamica app on your smartphone. Daynamica will be 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 [insert link]Google Play (Android).
  • 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. 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 [begin hyperlink]the Daynamica user guide[end hyperlink] 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 valueDays of trip data entered
$4014 days
$3011 or more
$207 or more

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 automatically and immediately.

How long is the study?

The study is anticipated to end January 1, 2021. Study participants are asked to collect their trip and activity details for 14 days with Daynamica, but can continue using FlexPass for the rest of 2020.

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 [insert link]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. For further assistance contact University of Minnesota researcher Galen Ryan at ryan0783@umn.edu.

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 ABC Ramps Parking Operator will disclose your parking activity data to the University of Minnesota. This includes any parking activity data associated with your account between October 1, 2019, and January 1, 2021. The University will collect personal transit use data from Metro Transit. The consent to this disclosure will expire at the termination of the Consent Form.

The Daynamica app uses GPS and other location sensing technologies embedded in a smartphone to determine the real-time location of the phone. Based on such location information, the app then determines whether you are in an activity or trip status and records your activity location and trip trajectory.

Trip and activity data include type, duration, and in-app survey responses correlated with each event.

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.    

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 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 ryan0783@umn.edu.

Parking and taking transit

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 for 2020 only—Currently, FlexPass will only be offered until January 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?

Your parking contract will automatically switch to FlexPass when you enroll. You’ll only be paying for one parking contract. You can go back to your original parking contract at any time.

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

No problem. Just enter your trip details in the app on the days you do commute.

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 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.

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

Check the user dashboard on Daynamica, the app you’ll use to enter your daily trip and activity details.

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.

Future plans

Will I be able to see the study results?

Yes, the study results will be publicly available at flexpass.umn.edu. We expect to share this by March 31, 2021.

What happens after the study ends?

Our hope is to continue offering FlexPass after the study ends on January 1, 2021. Whether FlexPass will be an option depends on the study’s results. If FlexPass is discontinued, participants will have the opportunity to purchase other contracts at ABC Ramps, including the standard monthly contract.

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