Challenge Your Employees for Bike Month 2018

National Bike Month, an annual tradition since 1956, is coming up in May. Sponsored nationally by the League of American Bicyclists, the National Bike Month event is designed to promote the many health and environmental benefits of cycling.

Each year, employers play a major role in National Bike Month’s success. Thousands of employers across the country hold friendly competitions and challenges designed to get their commuters actively participating. If you’re thinking of hosting a National Bike Month commuting challenge this year, we have a few tips that can help you encourage more robust participation rates.

Create Team-Based Competitions with Attractive Prizes

This go-to strategy is a surefire way to get the whole company engaged. Divide your commuter base up into teams, in whatever way works. For example, you could draw names at random, allow teams to self-select, or have teams for each department (accounting, human resources, etc.). Then, track team-based standings based on the number of bike commutes logged, or the number of miles biked, or both! Offer a prize to the team that wins the competition at the end of the month — something that will motivate people to keep taking part.

Add Smaller Weekly Prizes for Ongoing Engagement

It can be tough to keep people engaged if one team pulls way ahead in the standings, or if luck of the draw leaves another team with little hope of winning the month-long challenge. To encourage continued participation, offer smaller weekly prizes to teams or individuals that log the most trips or miles in each given week.

Run Raffles to Encourage Everyone

A similar strategy that also works well is to run a raffle draw for smaller prizes, giving participants one entry per logged bike commute. The drawings can be held weekly, giving everyone an incentive to participate at least a little bit. Of course, this strategy also rewards those who cycle frequently with more chances to win the draw, which is also a great motivator.

As always, the RideAmigos team is here to help with tools and tips to increase the reach and impact of your commuter programs, during National Bike Month and throughout the year. Please get in touch if we can help.

 

6 Tips for Marketing Your Commuter Program

The success of a commuter program can often depend on reaching and engaging the right audience.

Depending on the target audience, organizations need to market and promote commuter programs in different ways. Government organizations may be looking to reach commuters directly, or to partner with local employers. Businesses are seeking to engage and motivate their own employees. Educational institutions want to spread the word among staff, faculty, and students.

Whichever scenario you are facing, you’ll need a tailored communications plan to connect with your target audience. To that end, here are six helpful tips that will help you market commuter programs more effectively:

  • Start with surveys. Commuter surveys are invaluable tools for understanding commuter behavior and preferences. They are essential in the planning stages of a campaign, especially for learning which alternative modes of transportation your commuter base would be most likely to try.
  • Emphasize benefits that matter to commuters. Surveys can also deliver valuable insights into what matters most to your target commuter base. You can use that information to design campaigns and marketing materials that emphasize benefits. For example, students might be looking to save money, so focusing on that interest might help you appeal to them.
  • Use simple graphics to create eye-catching, easy-to-understand pictorial representations. There are many free or inexpensive graphics platforms you can use to put together visuals that quickly and clearly express your program’s fundamentals. Try pairing graphics with relevant statistics to draw attention to a particular problem associated with commuting, or to illustrate a specific benefit you’re trying to achieve.
  • Create a strong, two-sentence summary for your program. When you market commuter programs, you’ve got to engage people in a simple and direct way. Have a clean, easily digestible, and compelling two-sentence summary of the program to add to your script anytime you talk about your efforts.
  • Make the most of existing communications channels. Before you try to create brand-new channels for communications, use ones that already exist. For instance, use recurring departmental or interdepartmental meetings as an opportunity to market commuter programs, or leverage employee newsletters, campus newspapers, or existing advertising networks to help get the word out.
  • Designate a “point person” to deliver your message. In large organizations, it’s better to designate a “point person” who can deliver your message directly to team members than it is for an anonymous, unconnected individual to reach out to the entire commuter base. Messages are more readily accepted when they’re delivered by someone you know, so try to get departmental or team-based reps involved in your program.

For more insight, check out this talk on marketing techniques from our CommuteCon 2017 event, or contact us to discuss your program. We’re here to help you deliver commuter programs that generate enthusiasm, high participation rates, and real results.

CommuteCon 2018 Highlights and Recap

CommuteCon 2018 was the largest and most successful episode of our annual commuter management and TDM conference to date, with nearly double the registrations and attendees compared to the 2017 event. Professionals from all over the world took part in CommuteCon 2018, and speakers representing a complete range of sectors including enterprise, government, and universities delivered talks filled with meaningful insights and valuable takeaways.

We’ve received great feedback about this year’s event from members of our audience. This year’s attendees were particularly enthusiastic about the presentations by keynote speakers Susan Shaheen and Simon Mainwaring. Shaheen, who co-directs UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, gave an illuminating talk on the social benefits of shared mobility. Mainwaring, founder and CEO of We First Branding, gave us a peek behind the curtain at some of his most effective strategies for leading conversations that drive social change. We’re incredibly fortunate and thankful that they took the time to join us.

The two keynotes, along with 18 other informative sessions, are available to view and download at commutecon.com. Other audience favorites included:

Hundreds of TDM professionals and stakeholders came together to join the live webcast, with many attending in groups of two to five people or more. It was a landmark event for the global commuter management community, and we’re beyond pleased that it was such a resounding success.

CommuteCon 2018 was presented by RideAmigos. We are grateful to our Sponsors,  JUMP and Scoop; Friends of the conference, Car2Go, CityFi, Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions, Lyft Business, First Transit, TransitScreen, UBER for Business, Waze Carpool, and Zipcar; and our Association Partner, the Association for Commuter Transportation.

The CommuteCon team is thrilled to announce that we’ve set the date for next year’s event. CommuteCon 2019 will take place on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 – mark your calendars now! Like previous conferences, CommuteCon 2019 will be an accessible, community-oriented platform for the free exchange of ideas and strategies, all while helping TDM professionals expand their impact and inspiration. Visit commutecon.com to sign up for conference updates.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make CommuteCon 2018 such a meaningful and valuable event. We hope see you next year!

Tips to Jump-Start Your Commuter Program This Winter

These proven commuter program tips drive higher participation rates

A growing number of businesses and organizations are being proactive about encouraging commuters to try smarter ways to get to work. Given the increased effort on this front, there is also a growing number of success stories that offer valuable lessons to those seeking to launch commuter programs of their own.

Winter is a great time to launch a commuter program, as they offer a fun way to beat the doldrums and keep employees engaged. If you’re going to be launching a program for the first time, or if you’re looking for ways to make your existing efforts more successful, these proven commuter program tips will give you a big boost:

  • Start with a strategy. Begin by looking at your facilities and the commuter base within your organization, and figure out exactly what kind of change you want to drive. Are you struggling with limited parking? If so, you’ll want to encourage ridesharing. Is your place of business located on a major public transit route? Then try to get people using the bus or subway.
  • Use benefits and incentives to drive participation. Here’s one of the most important commuter program tips you’ll ever learn: people are more likely to get involved if they benefit in some way by participating. Turn your commuter program into a game with prizes for teams who log the most trips or miles, or offer incentives to those who reach specific smart commuting thresholds. Parking cash-outs, tax incentive programs, and earn-a-bike programs are all proven ways to drum up greater levels of participation.
  • Use surveys to generate insights. Inform your strategic planning by distributing surveys that ask commuters about their transportation habits. Figure out how many people commute to work, how far their commutes are, how much money they spend on commuting each month, and which alternative methods they would be most likely to try. You can also ask about factors that might prevent them from participating in a commuter program so you can further tailor your efforts to preemptively address their concerns.
  • Track your results. By keeping close tabs on the statistical results of your efforts, you’ll generate important insights into what worked and what could be improved on next time around.

With an industry-leading suite of commuter management software tools that supports these and many other functions, RideAmigos is here to help make your commuter program a smashing success. Get started today!

CommuteCon 2018 is Bigger Than Ever

A New Year has begun and that means our team is gearing up for the third annual CommuteCon on February 7. In 2018, what was already the world’s largest online commuter transportation conference is going to be bigger and better than ever. We’re incredibly excited to present a program that covers the most important trends and issues in commuter and transportation demand management in 2018 and beyond. This year’s theme, “Smart Mobility with Purpose,” invites commuter transportation leaders to reflect on and celebrate the important impact their work has on their communities and the world.

CommuteCon is a unique, free opportunity for transportation and commuter management professionals from around the world to connect and experience presentations from industry thought leaders, policy-makers and practitioners from diverse fields in the public and private sectors – all without leaving the office. We are so excited about the amazing lineup of presenters for CommuteCon 2018. With more than a dozen valuable sessions and lightning talks on key topics in commuter transportation and demand management, plus two incredible keynotes, this five-hour event is the essential virtual conference to propel you forward in your mission this year.

Opening Keynote: Susan Shaheen, Ph.D.

It will be an honor to welcome Susan Shaheen back to CommuteCon this year. Susan is the Director of Innovative Mobility Research, a co-director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center, and Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California Berkeley.  

Susan is an internationally recognized thought leader whose work focuses on applying technology to mobility challenges. She has been a pioneer in research on commuter carsharing and continues to contribute to the study of smart vehicle sharing, intelligent parking management, sustainable transportation technology and infrastructure, as well as other areas.

She has a Ph.D. in ecology from UC Davis, focusing on the energy and environmental aspects of transportation, and an M.S. in public policy analysis from the University of Rochester. In the past, she served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, and as the Policy and Behavioral Research Program Leader at California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways.

She currently serves on the ITS World Congress program committee, and the editorial board of IJST, and is chair of the subcommittee for Shared-UseVehicle Public Transport Systems of the Transportation Research Board.

Second Keynote: Simon Mainwaring

For the second keynote presentation, attendees will hear from Simon Mainwaring, founder of We First, a leading brand and leadership consultancy that empowers people and organizations to lead and make a positive impact on the world.  

A global thought leader in purpose-driven strategy and brand development, Simon is also a member of the Executive Committee of Sustainable Brands, the Steering Committee of the Business Alliance for the Future, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London and the World Business Academy in the United States. He alsoserved as interim CMO at TOMS, where he helped to lead innovative marketing strategies.

Simon contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, and Huffington Post on branding and social technology and was featured on the cover of the National Speaker Magazine.

His book, We First: How brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World (Palgrave Macmillan) is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon bestseller. He has worked with an incredible portfolio of brands including Nike, Coca-Cola, Toyota, and Motorola, and has won dozens of awards. Simon will call upon CommuteCon participants to connect with the purpose behind our shared mission and draw inspiration from the impact our community is make on our world.

Full Agenda Coming Soon…

CommuteCon 2018 will feature speakers from across the private sector, leading research universities, and state and local government. Attendees will have a front-row seat for presentations on the important issues in transportation management including commuter incentives, parking demand management, program development and marketing, employee transportation, tax and regulatory impacts, local and regional economic development, and more.

The program will be full of opportunities to learn what other leading organizations are doing to manage a variety of commuter challenges and build sustainable, smart communities. Most sessions will include a short virtual Q&A period so attendees can engage with the presenters and dig deeper into the issues that matter. Stay tuned at commutecon.com for updates to the agenda and a full list of speakers and sessions.

We hope you’ll join us February 7 for this incredible day. Visit commutecon.com to register to attend the free online conference, and stay up-to-date with additions to the agenda and opportunities to connect with other commuter transportation professionals. In the meantime, if you missed CommuteCon last year, you can catch up with our recorded presentations.

Look at All We Accomplished Together in 2017!

As we wrap up this holiday season, here at RideAmigos HQ we’re feeling incredibly grateful for the year we’ve had. Our growing community of partners and users are making huge positive impacts on our world.

Together, we’re making a real difference for individuals and communities.
Together, we’re saving more money, burning more calories, and reducing tons of CO2.
Together, we’re changing the way people commute – creating a happier, healthier future for everyone.

Check out what we accomplished during 2017:

RideAmigos partners have accomplished so much!

RideAmigos 2017 Impact Snapshot

To all of our partners: thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We are so grateful for the opportunity to support your success. Thanks for joining in our mission, using our tools, and doing amazing work. Thanks for sharing and learning with each other through the RideAmigos Academy. Thank you for helping us create a better world.

If you’re not a RideAmigos partner or user yet, we hope 2018 brings you an opportunity to join our community.

To make RideAmigos part of your own 2018 success story, get started with us today.

Learning From The TDM Pros: An Interview With Peter Williamson

Here at RideAmigos we love celebrating the success of our partners and helping others learn from their wisdom!

Peter Williamson is the Employer Outreach Coordinator for the San Luis Obispo Council of Government’s (SLOCOG) commuter program, the Back ‘N’ Forth Club, which supports employers in shifting commuter behavior. Peter is also one of the all-star members of the RideAmigos Academy, where he’s a frequent webinar conversation partner and a leader in our Coffee Talk X initiative.

Peter was recently recognized as one of the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) 2017 “Top 40 Under 40.” We sat down with him to learn more about his work helping employers support smart commute choices in their workplaces:

Peter Williamson - SLOCOGRideAmigos: Congrats on your recent award, and on a successful Rideshare Week 2017! I know you’re still crunching numbers and analyzing outcomes, but are there any things you learned from this year’s challenge? Any lessons for next year?

Peter Williamson: The goal of Rideshare Week is to develop an awareness of how we commute and the impact that our commute choices have on our wallets, health, and community. We asked community members to pledge to make at least one smart commute choice during Rideshare Week (October 2-6th) to reduce the number of single occupant vehicles on our region’s roadways. In SLO County, 683 commuters pledged to commute by carpool, vanpool, bike, foot, or bus, and then logged their trips at iRideshare.org.

Our Back ‘N’ Forth Club challenge put employers into two categories: 20+ employees or 60+ employees. The usual suspects (Cal Poly and SRAM) made the biggest impact and won this year’s Rideshare Week Challenge. Our winners receive a paid Best Workplaces for Commuters designation. This award puts our employers on the national map, and provides them with a valuable recruitment tool.

In addition to an online pledge, we asked willing employers to host a roll-up banner that employees could sign. One unexpected outcome was that some employees went outside of the box and expressed mode pride (i.e.: signed Peter – [draw a picture of a bike] 3 x a week!). I would like to do our part to encourage this next year (perhaps by having Lead Super Commuter/ETCs set the precedent).

For the challenge, I want to make it more competitive for Cal Poly, MINDBODY, and all other employers. I hope to accomplish this by mirroring what I did with the county my first year at SLOCOG. This would mean breaking Cal Poly and MINDBODY into sub networks by department. These departments could compete against other employers and departments based on size, making it more competitive for everyone. This effort simultaneously improves program communication at these larger employer sites.

Rideshare Week 2017 Trip Log Stats:

  • 2,749 single-occupant vehicle trips eliminated
  • 39,022 less vehicle miles traveled
  • 9.8 tons of CO2 prevented
  • $12,339 in commute costs saved
  • 156,415 calories burned

RA: As an Employer Outreach Coordinator you spend a lot of time and energy working with organizations to help them promote and support alternatives to solo driving. How do you help employers see the value in promoting alternative commuting options?

PW: The two biggest factors when approaching a new employer are: what is the time/money commitment, and who else is doing it? I take employers through the following outline:

  • What is the expected return on investment for starting a program?
    • Free extension of human resources and benefits
    • Reduced parking demand
    • National and regional recognition
    • Recruit talent from big cities
    • Retain employees that live further away
    • Payroll tax savings
    • Measurable environmental impacts
    • Reduced employee stress and health costs
    • And support for the local community
  • I highlight a few of the many tools, incentives, and services we offer participating employers.
  • I explain different participation designations and similar employers participating in each designation.
  • I ask the employer to nominate a program liaison (Lead Super Commuter / ETC).

RA: Transportation demand management (TDM) programming is obviously a year-round endeavor, but do you have any particularly favorite seasons or annual programs? What makes them your favorite?

PW: Of all SLOCOG/RIDESHARE’s campaigns, nothing compares with the community participation and awareness associated with Bike Month. It’s very well established, likely because our staff used to spend half of the year focused on this campaign. For me it’s valuable because Bike Month is the perfect opportunity to grow employer support of the Back ‘N’ Forth Club. Each year, I’m pushing employers to take their commitment a step further. Spring means employers are calling me, rather than the other way around.

RA: From transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft to autonomous vehicles, technology is rapidly expanding the options people have for transportation. How do you see emerging technologies impacting your TDM programs in the future?

PW: Uber and Lyft have already had an impact locally, whether good (less drinking and driving) or bad (more cars in higher-traffic areas). Our guaranteed ride home policy is very flexible, so we’ve noticed a trend in people selecting Uber/Lyft over the original options of a taxi, rental car, or shuttle. I hope technology continues to make data collection and program enforcement easy. I also hope technology reduces traffic congestion, and does not increase it, the fear being that people send their autonomous cars home to park themselves resulting in twice as many trips!

RA: Any parting advice or morsels of wisdom for someone who is new to this movement of shifting commuter behavior for the common good?

PW: Every day is filled with highs and lows that deliver the inspiration I need to keep moving towards a multi-modal world. What started as training for a 200-mile bike ride has grown into a career and lifestyle full of passion. It takes time to change commute behavior, but with a lot of persistence, passion, and patience, TDM professionals do make a difference. What seems like a dead end now will turn into an opportunity next year!

RA: Thanks for your time, and congratulations again on your recent recognition and all your programs’ success!

PW: Thank you!

We’re proud to count Peter and the whole team at SLOCOG as partners in the RideAmigos family, working together to transform transportation. To learn more about how you can shift commuter behavior more effectively and efficiently, contact us today!

 

Announcing New Commuter Benefit Solutions Integration

RideAmigos and Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions are teaming up

The RideAmigos team has exciting news: we’re adding new platform integrations with Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions, and we couldn’t be more excited about the ways this will benefit our partners.

Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions is the nation’s only comprehensive commuter benefit solutions provider and number one resource for commuter savings. Since 1985,Edenred has served Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, top third party benefit administrators and the nation’s largest metropolitan area transit authorities.

With its premier solution offerings; Commuter Check, a nationwide commuter benefits program for employers; and WiredCommute, a private label program for third party administrators, Edenred is able to provide a one-stop total solution experience.Edenred’s mission is to make tax-free commuter benefits a staple in employee benefits packages nationwide.

Here’s a snapshot of some key Commuter Benefit Solutions numbers:

  • The company serves more than 12,000 employers representing over 1.9 million
    employees, including many Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies.
  • The company also maintains partnerships with over 50 national third-party
    administrators, more than 350 transit agencies, hundreds of bike shops, and over
    5,000 parking locations.

Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions has a strong core focus on managing and delivering both employer and employee-based commuter pre-tax benefits programs. These programs help enterprises generate savings of up to 7.65% per year on their payroll taxes while helping employees generate huge savings on their taxable incomes. They provide extensive support, including dedicated account managers, nationwide coverage, convenient product delivery, and a complete suite of support services.

RideAmigos is proud to be creating connections between Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions products and our industry-leading commuter management software. Our partnership will give the businesses and organizations that use our platform easy access to one of the world’s most powerful commuter benefit management programs. The goal is to make generating, tracking, and maximizing both employer- and employee-based tax savings as convenient and profitable as possible.

To learn more, check out the recent Coffee Talk webinar we held with Commuter Benefit Solutions to discuss their product and our plans, or contact us directly.

How to Get Your Employer to Start a Commuter Benefits Program

Employers and employees generally want the same thing when it comes to the daily commute: they want to arrive at work happy, relaxed, and on time. The problem is that while solo driving may often seem like the most convenient commuting option, it’s actually the most stressful. Long commutes, traffic congestion, bad weather, and construction all conspire to reduce a solo driver’s chances of arriving at work happy, relaxed, and on time.

With rising awareness about the many benefits of skipping the solo drive, more and more employees want support from their employers to help make better alternatives more accessible. Commuter benefits programs provide incentives and support for a wide array of commute options, yet they remain a relatively new concept to many employers. In some cases, it’s the commuters themselves who are driving companies to support smarter ways of getting to work.

If you’d like to encourage your employer to provide more support for commuters who want to use alternatives to solo driving, there’s a simple strategy you can use:

Get your employer to see how starting a commuter benefits program can add value to your organization’s bottom line!

Do this by emphasizing the tangible and intangible benefits of fewer solo-driving employees:

  • Active modes of commuting deliver a long list of health benefits. Beyond the obvious goal of building a healthier workforce, this means that businesses stand to save on health insurance costs while reducing illness-related productivity losses.
  • When fewer employees drive to work, businesses can reduce demand for parking and the costs associated with them. These costs can be steep, so chances are good that management will listen.
  • Supporting a commuter benefits program sends a strong message about the company’s values. This is a particularly important aspect of attracting and retaining the best and most qualified employees, since more and more people want to work for companies with a proven track record of providing commuting support for their employees.

Getting started is simple. First, conduct a survey among your fellow commuters to learn more about the current commuter behaviors in your company. Then, created a custom-tailored appeal based on your findings that speaks to the specific interests of the commuters you work with and the needs of your organization.

Once you’ve sold your organization on the value of a commuter benefits program, they’ll need the right tools to get a program going. With powerful ridematching, incentives programs, automated trip tracking, data analysis, reporting, and administration tools, RideAmigos can help your employer implement and manage a commuter benefits program easily and efficiently. Learn more about commuter benefits, or get started with RideAmigos today!

Encouraging Employees to Use Transit

Even though trends are changing, we still live in a car-centric culture. That means a lot of people are still choosing solo driving even when convenient and cost-effective alternatives are available. For example, encouraging employee transit use delivers many benefits.

First, studies show that commuters who choose modes other than solo driving tend to have higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction. Experts surmise this is because they spend less time stressed out behind the wheel of a car in congested traffic. Using transit also helps commuters save money on gas and vehicle maintenance costs, all while reducing parking demand and benefiting the environment.

Here are some easy and proven ways to encourage employee transit use:

  • Provide subsidized or free transit passes to employees. This is one of the most direct and effective ways to get people off the solo driving habit and into buses, trains, and subways.
  • Play up the tax benefits of alternative commuting, which help employees and businesses alike. By taking advantage of the monthly tax-deductible allowance for alternative commuting expenses employees can cut their tax burdens by hundreds of dollars a year, all while helping businesses reduce their payroll tax obligations.
  • Create last-mile vanpool programs that provide easy point-to-point access between your business and local transit hubs. One of the main reasons commuters avoid transit is because destination stations are too far from the workplace. Vanpools solve that problem, easily and efficiently.
  • Offer first-mile connections using ride-hailing services like Lyft or Uber. By providing free or subsidized passes for employees to use between their home and transit hubs you can knock down one more barrier to smarter commuting.
  • Offer a guaranteed ride home program to ensure employees that they have a fast, efficient ride home in their back pocket in the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstance.

Chances are you’ll experience the best results if you combine several of these strategies, or use all of them. Watch your employees’ reliance on solo driving diminish, and enjoy the benefits of a happier, less stressed, and more productive workforce.

Managing multi-layered commuter programs using strategies like these can start to seem complicated in a hurry, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Even complex programs are easy to implement using the tools available through a commuter management platform like RideAmigos. Want to learn more about how RideAmigos can help you use these ideas to increase employee transit use and decrease solo driving? Get started today!