Topic Resources

Tools Used
Initiated By
  • Community of Playa Vista, California USA
  • 4.9% decrease (a decrease of 3.5 percentage points from 71.4% to 67.9%) in peak time drive alone mode share across the entire community over seven months
  • Corresponding increases in carpool trips, cycling trips and transit Trips
Landmark Case Study

Playa Vista Ability2Change

Playa Vista's Ability2Change program is a great example of a targeted, strategic approach to transport behavior change. It features careful market segmentation and barrier removal, with different initiatives for different people. In just seven months it yielded a 4.9% decrease in peak time drive alone mode share across the entire community (a decrease of 3.5 percentage points from 71.4% to 67.9%), with corresponding increases in carpool, cycling and transit trips. Listen to the program manager and ask questions during our case study webinar on February 24, 2017.


Note: To minimize site maintenance costs, all case studies on this site are written in the past tense, even if they are ongoing as is the case with this particular program.

Playa Vista is a great setting for testing innovative transportation demand management (TDM) strategies as it is a brand new development on the Westside of Los Angeles, which has some of North America’s most congested streets, and is now home to some of the world’s most innovative brands including Google, Belkin, Yahoo, EA Games, the Honest Company, Brookfield Residential, IMAX and others. This development is also mandated by local government to extensively and continuously measure commuter behaviors, resulting in an extensive database on existing commute behaviors for granular segmentation and intervention focus.

Playa Vista created Compass -- a program designed to change commuter behavior, not just promote transportation options. To deliver on this behavior change focus, Compass created the Ability2Change campaigns, based on the work of BJ Fogg and Robert Cialdini. The crux of these Ability2Change campaigns is matching the right SOV commuter with the right mode and supportive programming at the right time. This produces custom services, and incentives built specifically to overcome key barriers.

Setting Objectives

This program’s goal was to decrease single-occupant-vehicle (SOV) peak period behaviors in Playa Vista, California. There are no targets to report.

Getting Informed

The first step in each Ability2Change campaign was to visualize the home locations of SOVs. Next, the transportation infrastructure was analyzed to identify regions where one could successfully (safely and realistically) start the desired behaviors. Additionally, the home locations of existing transit, bicycle, walking path and carpool users were analyzed to identify where these behaviors were already succeeding on their own without help. Next, focus groups were conducted with existing users of non-SOV modes to identify how to “create more people like them”, and best promote Ability2Change programming and incentives. Then a network of employer representatives from each worksite helped identify realistic channels to deliver these programs. Finally, a beneficial and ongoing dialogue was created with partner transportation organizations.

Delivering the Program

Compass Playa Vista implemented three mode-specific Ability2Change campaigns. All campaigns used segmented email communications to create a network of existing mode-specific brand ambassadors at priority worksites, and prioritized specific modes to obtain the best return on investment. 

Further details will be provided based on the case study webinar to be presented on February 24, 2017.

Measuring Achievements

Campaign impacts were measured primarily through an annual commuter survey conducted in October as well as gate counts at office parking garage entrances. In addition, specific modal campaigns used trip reporting on the Compass Playa Vista website to measure participation and engagement. Finally, Bike Month participants were surveyed in late June, 2016 and Culver CityBus Transit Pass users had their transit passes audited in July 2016 to validate impacts.


Ultimately, the goal of the campaigns was to decrease peak period trips at Playa Vista and to increase Average Vehicle Ridership (AVR), a regional metric calculated by dividing the total number of employees exiting the worksite at peak period by the number of cars exiting the worksite during that specific time interval. AVR was measured using a regionally developed survey form and a requirement for a response rate of over 60% of commuters.

In a seven-month span of implementing the Ability2Change campaigns (April 2015-October 2015), Compass achieved a decrease in the amount of individuals across the entire community who drove alone to Playa Vista during the peak period annual commuter survey, from 71.4 percent in 2014 to 67.9 percent in 2015. During that same time:

  • Carpool Trips increased by 12% (to 9.5 % in 2015 from 8.5% in 2014)
  • Biking Trips increased by 53% (to 2.6% in 2015 from 1.7 % in 2014)
  • Transit Trips (rail, plane, bus) increased by 10% (to 4.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014)

The AVR for the 2015 evening peak hour was 1.34, which is a 13% increase compared to the AVR of 1.19 observed in 2014. 

Return on Investment: It cost Compass $10,800 for each percentage point decrease in SOV behavior across the entire development.

Playa Vista is a growing and dynamic development. In April of 2015, the commuter population was 3,000 daily commuters. However, at the time of submission, the total commuter population was nearing 6,000 people.

In April 2015, the Compass program began providing technology services to allow employees to report sustainable trips. Within a year, commuters incentivized to report trips had seen the following impacts in total:

  • 20,042 sustainable trips reported
  • 283,705 miles of more sustainable travel
  • 1,048,687 calories burned
  • 65.1 tons of CO2 emissions prevented
  • $85,431 dollars saved by commuters


Aaron Gaul
Playa Vista Compass


Landmark Designation

The panel that designated this case study consisted of:

  • David Levinger from The Mobility Education Foundation
  • Geoff Noxon from Noxon Associates
  • JoAnn Woodhall from Translink
  • Nathalie Lapointe from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
  • Phil Winters from the University of South Florida
  • Ryan Lanyon from the City of Toronto.

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