Innovation That Matters

Hotel rewards visitors for smart transportation choices

Travel & Tourism

We’ve seen a variety of perks bestowed upon drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles, but the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass., may just go further than we’ve ever observed. Not content to offer just free charging for such vehicles — as the Sea-Tac Airport and at least one McDonald’s have both been known to do — the hotel has developed an array of integrated benefits for consumers who make smart transportation choices of many kinds. To be sure, there is a free charging station in the hotel’s Charles Square Garage for drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as free bicycle parking for those who travel on two wheels. But the benefits are far more numerous than that. Working with Propark America, the garage now uses NanoMAX, for example, a new, patented detection system that measures the size of vehicles entering a parking facility and adjusts the parking rate accordingly. Smaller, environmentally friendly vehicles are assessed a smaller rate as a reward to the driver for operating a vehicle that has a lesser impact on the environment. The garage also has a special area reserved for guests who drive smaller vehicles such as Mini Coopers and Smart Cars; in addition to specially marked parking spots, the section is adorned with high-resolution wall graphics, colourful floor coatings and energy efficient lighting. A tire inflation station lets visitors fill their tires for maximum fuel efficiency, while a free bicycle lending program for guests of the hotel provides Electra Amsterdam Classic bicycles with handlebar-mounted basket, helmet, lock and a map to local bike trails. All of which is a lovely illustration of an old expression: If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Scattered efforts targeting one type of vehicle or another are certainly better than nothing, but there are multiple ways to help the environment. It’s this kind of integrated and full-service approach that’s likely to make an impression — and a difference. (Related: Portland airport installs bike assembly station for travellersAustrian phone booths repurposed to charge electric vehiclesHelping parking operators create a charging infrastructure for electric vehiclesEco-iconic license plates for green vehiclesTuned-in garage for hybrid vehicles.) Spotted by: Raymond Kollau



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