The traffic in Nashville is bad and getting noticeably worse.

“It certainly has changed in Nashville and it is changing every day, [and] not for the better,” says Nolensville mayor Jimmy Alexander. “[It’s] the same thing out here [in Nolensville]. We’ve had a spurt of growth here that is unprecedented. When I moved here [in 1999] we had 5,900 people and now we have over 10,000. And when you look at it, the people who are driving through here … it’s one person per car. We can do better than that.”

We have to do better. Otherwise the traffic in the Nashville metropolitan area might soon become reminiscent of traffic in Atlanta. That is, if it isn’t there already.

According to the TomTom Traffic Index, Nashville currently has the 24th-worst traffic in North America, with Atlanta just seven spots ‘ahead’ in the rankings at #17.

And the growth that Alexander referred to shows no sign of abating. Williamson County led the nation in job growth in 2016 at 6.5 percent, and with 68 percent of Williamson County’s workforce residing outside the county, there are more and more cars on the road in and around Nolensville.

But if anyone has perspective on the arc of Nashville’s traffic woes — not to mention the will and wherewithal to address the issue in meaningful ways — it’s Alexander.

“I grew up in the heart of downtown Nashville and my family was always involved in politics,” he said. “My brother was a council member for 16 years, my son for eight years. And I always had an interest in it because I worked with the Metro Planning Commission for 42 years.”

But Alexander knows there isn’t a silver bullet to address local congestion issues. The solution will need to be multi-faceted.

“It would help a great deal,” he says, if more people in and around Nolensville started sharing rides, noting that a tiny fraction of the town’s commuters carpool to and from work. That’s why Alexander is excited about Hytch Rewards, a free smartphone app that uses synchronized GPS technology to validate and reward ridesharing via sponsored cash rewards.

Since launching in February, Hytch has recorded more than 53,225 carpooled trips, adding up to more than  2 million vehicle miles not driven as a result of carpooling.

The cash payments “definitely give you an incentive,” Hytch user Jansen Donsbach said in a recent article in the The Tennessean, adding that without the payments “I don’t know that I would think about [carpooling] as much.”

And with more and more local businesses sponsoring Hytch, the opportunities to earn cash rewards are increasing all the time. Last month Brentwood, Tennessee-based Reliant Bank announced it is paying commuters up to four cents per mile to share rides in an eight-county area in Middle Tennessee, as well as Chattanooga’s Hamilton County.

Meanwhile, other local partners include Nissan North America and Onin Staffing.

H.G. Hill is also on board — contributing a penny per mile in rewards in Williamson County, and a five-cent per mile bonus for carpooling to Maryland Farms in Brentwood. Together with Franklin Synergy Bank and Sprint (each contributing a penny per mile), both the driver and passenger(s) can make up to

12 cents per mile to leave a car at home.

“I hope all the people will take advantage of the Hytch Rewards program,” Alexander offers, before noting that taking just one out of every ten cars off the road would make a noticeable difference in reducing local traffic congestion.

Do your part to reduce traffic and improve air quality in Nashville by downloading the Hytch app. Then invite friends, neighbors, and co-workers to do the same.

Sharing a ride is easy when everyone in the car gets paid to join you!

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