Reflecting on 2020 & Looking Ahead

At RideAmigos we are on a mission to change the way the world commutes for good by empowering everyone to make smarter transportation choices; and we partner with some of the most innovative employers and government agencies to do it. 

Over the years, agencies and employers have used RideAmigos to help commuters choose an alternative to driving alone over 25 million times and eliminated 237 million pounds of CO2.

Looking back on the past year, we are so proud of how our partners each rose to meet the challenges brought by the pandemic, economic crisis, and continued reckoning with access and inequities in our mobility ecosystem.  

Setting New Precedents

Overall in 2020, commuters used RideAmigos to report working remotely more than a million times in connection with employer or regional programs. They also logged just as many active trips, such as biking or walking, either to work or just to get outside. 

Before the pandemic set in, agencies and employers using RideAmigos were replacing over half a million SOV trips per month in 2020 with active trips, remote work or shared modes. 

Also in 2020 RideAmigos was part of a team that received an Association for Commuter Transportation Excellence in Research Award. The award recognized work with the City of Durham and Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight to bring a personalized commute plan pilot to scale and through this helped organizations achieve a mode shift of up to 10%.

Taking Action in a Crisis

When the COVID-19 crisis began, agencies and employers used RideAmigos to communicate safe commuting guidelines. They also responded to changing circumstances with rapid adjustments to incentive programs.

As the pandemic continued our clients began to reimagine commuter engagement strategies. This included: 

  • Launching programs to engage a hybrid workforce of remote and essential onsite employees.
  • Creating opportunities for community members who may have been unemployed or furloughed to stay engaged and learn about alternatives to driving alone.
  • Challenging employees and the public to build new habits by biking-to-anywhere 

2020 was a difficult year for the world and our community of transportation demand management (TDM) professionals was no exception. But we also came together in exciting ways. CommuteCon, always a virtual event, saw over 1,500 people join in. The April 2020 event was timed perfectly, providing a forum to discuss the unprecedented challenges and unique opportunities brought about by the pandemic. 

Looking Ahead 

We are continuing to work with our amazing customers as they reimagine the future with a reimagined commute experience for essential workers, future returns to the office, or hybrid work arrangements with smart parking management, subsidies and incentives, and other proven commuter behavior change programs.

We are continuously reinvesting in our products, and working to bring the latest insights from research into technology to our clients to create a better more sustainable commute experience. 

2021 promises to be a year of transformational and regenerative change. We’re looking forward to working together to harness this moment to make an even greater positive impact on our communities and the planet. If you are interested in learning more about how commuter engagement can support your evolving workplace, contact us to get started.

UBIT Taxes on Transportation Fringe Benefits Have Been Repealed. Here’s What it Means for Your Business.

In 2018, the federal government made some changes to its Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) policies. The changes required businesses to pay taxes on certain transportation fringe benefits offered to employees.

The UBIT changes were not popular, and they forced millions of businesses to remit payments on employee perks related to parking and public transportation benefits. American businesses were significantly impacted, and the new UBIT policies had negative effects on commuter programs.

Thanks in part to lobbyist advocacy, the government recently agreed to repeal its UBIT taxes on transportation fringe benefits. Here’s how the changes break down, and how they might affect you.

What did the UBIT taxes on transportation fringe benefits cover?

The 2018 changes that introduced UBIT taxes on transportation fringe benefits required companies to pay taxes on benefits related to parking and public transit. For example, companies that covered parking costs or offered free transit passes to commuters had to pay taxes on those expenditures, which were previously tax-free.

As a result, many companies saw their UBIT-related tax bills rise by as much as 21%.

What has changed?

In December 2019, the federal government repealed its UBIT taxes on transportation fringe benefits in response to pressure from businesses and lobby groups. The taxes were very unpopular and were negatively impacting employers’ commuter policies.

How are businesses affected by the changes?

The tax code change is retroactive to 2018, meaning that the companies that paid them qualify for refunds if they are exempt from these taxes under the new rules. If your company paid these taxes and is now exempt from them, be sure to notify your taxation, finance, and legal departments as you are entitled to have your tax payments on transportation fringe benefits returned to you.

About us

RideAmigos is a leading provider of powerful TDM software solutions and organizational commuter strategies. To learn more about how we help businesses of all sizes make life easier for commuters, get started today.

2018: Millions of Single Occupancy Vehicle Trips Avoided

As we prepare to welcome 2019, we’re pausing to reflect on the amazing positive impact RideAmigos partners have made on mobility, traffic, commuter wellness, and our planet.

We’re proud to be working with the leaders from Fortune 500 businesses, top research universities, and innovative government agencies engaging commuters to make a healthier, happier planet.

Here’s a look at some of what our partners have achieved this year:

RideAmigos users avoided millions of single occupancy vehicle trips in 2018.

Making a difference for employees and communities

Organizations partnering with RideAmigos are saving money, burning more calories, and reducing their greenhouse gas output by thousands of tons.

They’re doing it by offering better information and the incentives to make smart choices. Together, we’re changing the way people commute – creating a happier, healthier future for everyone.

We at RideAmigos are so grateful for the opportunity to support your success. Thanks for joining in our mission, using our tools, and leading the way for so many others. Thank you for helping us create a better world.

We look forward to continuing to empower transportation heroes in 2019 with cutting edge trip planning, ridematching, incentives management and gamification, and to share our collective wealth of knowledge and experience in the RideAmigos Academy.

To make RideAmigos part of your own 2019 success story, get started here today!

Congratulations to the 2018 ACT 40 Under 40!

The faces of the 2018 ACT 40 under 40

RideAmigos congratulates the 2019 class of 40 leaders in transportation demand management (TDM) under the age of 40. The Association for Commuter Transportation recognized these emerging professionals at the TDM Forum in Nashville, Tennessee in November.

This group of honorees represent the present and future of practice and advocacy for smart commuter transportation.

We are especially proud of our own Corey Tucker, Director of Customer Success, and Grant Heger, Director of Technical Services for being recognized this year.

We are also honored to work with so many of these brilliant professionals. Learn more about the 40 under 40 and read more about the recipients at actweb.org/act-40-under-40/.

Four Things To Watch for at the 2018 ACT TDM Forum in Nashville

The 2018 ACT TDM Forum is happening on November 13 and 14 in Nashville, Tennessee, and we’ll be watching it closely. The Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) holds several conferences and events throughout the year in addition to its annual International Conference in the summer. This forum on transportation demand management (TDM) is a key opportunity for anyone working on commuter mobility and transportation in the private or public sector.

Just like last year’s event in Las Vegas, this one has an agenda focused on preparing TDM professionals to keep up with the latest changes in technology, policy, and the evolving mobility ecosystem. Starting with the opening keynote from Gary Gaston, CEO of Nashville Civic Design Center, it promises to be an inspiring two days. And like the other events organized by ACT, what happens at the TDM Forum is a great indication of where the industry is heading.

Whether you’ll be attending in person or not, here are the important things we think you should watch for:

Breakout Sessions

An impressive agenda is taking shape and we’re excited about the topics and panelists that are showing up. From new dockless scooters to big data, we’ll be splitting up to make sure we don’t miss any of the breakout sessions featuring leaders in TDM.

Kicking off the sessions on Tuesday morning, RideAmigos Director of Customer Success, Corey Tucker, will be moderating an important discussion of how organizations can leverage mobility data to make better operational decisions.

We’re also looking forward to hearing from Lucy Tice and Jessica Sanborn from Google talk about what drives commuter choices. While you’re counting down to Nashville, check out this Coffee Talk in which Lucy shared how Google incentivized employees to bike to work.

More sessions are still being added, so check out the full agenda here.

40 under 40

The ACT 40 Under 40 Awards recognize emerging leaders in TDM. According to ACT, “the awards provide recognition for ambitious leaders who are working to find creative TDM solutions to improve the quality of life of commuters and the livability of communities.”

Each year, the 40 under 40 represent agencies, companies, and academic institutions that are leading change. In 2017, five RideAmigos clients, including Peter Williamson, were among the honorees when awards were presented in Las Vegas. RideAmigos co-founder Jeffrey Chernick is also a past honoree.

We always keep an eye on this list of 40 industry trailblazers and the organizations they represent to learn from their success and see what they’ll do next.

Who Shows Up

If you were at the 2018 ACT International Conference in Anaheim, you probably noticed something: IT. IS. GROWING.

From innovative mobility providers and technology vendors to an ever-increasing number of organizations prioritizing commuter transportation programs, the new faces at each ACT event are signaling that TDM is starting to take center stage. Whether you have been working to solve commuter mobility challenges for decades or are new to the industry, you should see the growth of this amazing community as a really positive sign.

Don’t miss this and other opportunities during the year to hear from and network with industry thought leaders, commuter management professionals from around the world, and new mobility providers.

RideAmigos Updates

We recently released major updates to the RideAmigos mobile apps and commuter engagement platform. But we have lots more in store. Our team will be on hand in Nashville with some exciting things to show you. If you’re already a RideAmigos customer, you can also get early previews through Academy Office Hours webinar series.

If you’ll be coming to the ACT TDM Forum and you’d like to meet with our team, email act@rideamigos.com. If you can’t make it, you can contact us for a demo and consultation. Either way, we’d love to meet you to learn about your challenges and share some of what we’re excited about this Fall.

RideAmigos Customers are Winners at 2018 Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) Awards

 

On August 1, the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) hosted its 2018 international conference. This year’s gathering was held in Anaheim, California, and during the event, 15 individuals or organizations received awards for their outstanding achievements in transportation demand management (TDM). The entire RideAmigos team is excited to announce that  eleven of the twenty-nine ACT Award finalists and four of the winners use RideAmigos to power their innovative commuter programs.

First, the Parking Services division at California State University-Los Angeles copped a Marketing and Outreach award for its successful efforts to promote alternatives to solo driving, implement forward-thinking commuter projects and policies, and reduce the local environmental impact of commuting.

Next, the City of Austin Smart Commute Rewards program earned an award in the Commuting Options category. This program allows city employees in the fast-growing city of Austin, Texas earn rewards for logging commutes with solo driving alternatives. The program’s manager, Tien-Tien Chan, said, “We are honored to be selected for this award,” and added that, “I find it immensely valuable to see how other companies and jurisdictions are creatively tackling the problems that we all face.”

Third, Go Redmond won in the Commuting Options – Biking category. The initiative is a partnership between the Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association (GRTMA), King County Metro, and the City of Redmond, and it aims to increase bicycle ridership year-round as a commuting alternative. Go Redmond also provides a wealth of informational resources to people and organizations looking to reduce their carbon footprint while embracing smarter transportation alternatives.

Finally, the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) Transportation department captured the Commuting Options – Public Transportation award for its intensive efforts to make public transit, cycling, carpooling, and vanpooling more accessible to its commuter base of 80,000 staff and students.

All four of these organizations rely on the revolutionary, tool-rich RideAmigos platform to create, administer, and power their commuter programs. We’d be proud to be a part of your success story in 2019. Get started with RideAmigos today, and improve mobility, sustainability, and organizational health and wellness by putting the power of our cutting-edge software to work for your organization.

RideAmigos at ACT Conference 2018

The Association for Commuter Transportation International Conference is taking place July 29th through August 1st, and RideAmigos is proud to be a sponsor and exhibitor.

The best part for us is that so many of our awesome customers will be part of making this year’s event extra-special. As we’ve said time and time again, working for our amazing user community is what makes us love what we do. If you’re not already part of the RideAmigos Academy, check out all the ways you can connect with our customers and our team in Anaheim. You’ll see what we mean!

Presentations and Panels

Don’t miss hearing from some RideAmigos customers at one of these interesting and informative sessions at this year’s conference:

Bike Share on Campus: Emerging best practices
(Monday, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM)

David Sorrell, who manages the TDM program at UC Berkeley, will be on a panel discussing how dockless bike share systems have changed, how we think about and plan for bicycle commuting, and how his program is responding.

Rethinking Residential TDM
(Monday, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM)

This panel features Tien-Tien Chan, TDM Program Manager at the City of Austin, along with others behind residential TDM campaigns from around the nation. Together they will discuss how they measured success and share valuable lessons learned.

Three Winning Incentive Strategies in Practice
(Monday, 1:30 – 2:45 PM)

A panel of experts from across industries will focus on the commuter incentives strategies that are driving real, measurable results, including daily incentives, commuter stores, and parking cash-out programs. This panel features three RideAmigos clients; Brittany Barrett, Assistant Director of Transportation at Emory University; Kim Comstock, Commuter Programs Manager at  Commute.org, and Tien-Tien Chan, TDM Program Manager at the City of Austin. It will also be moderated by our own Corey Tucker, Director of Programs and Customer Success at RideAmigos.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: New Mobility Approaches for Your Workplace of Campus
(Tuesday, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM)

Amy McCrary, Senior Sustainable Transportation Specialist at Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, California will be part of a panel discussing how to help commuters to rethink how they move to, from and around your facilities.

The Cost of Competition: Subsidy and Incentive Strategies for All Employer Markets
(Tuesday, 1:45 PM – 3:00 PM)

Kim Comstock of Commute.org in San Mateo County will join another panel to discuss how employers can differentiate themselves in recruitment and retention by leveraging commuter benefits and incentives. This panel will share examples of how organizations of different scales implemented successful strategies that fit their budgets and needs.

Vanpool Group Formation: Getting All the Pieces to Fall into Place
(Tuesday, 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM)

Does this sound familiar: You have a group of people interested in vanpooling but, in practice, it’s difficult to get them all going? In this session, Patty Olmsted, Senior Business Outreach Specialist at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, and other experienced panelists will share real-life vanpool group formation tips to overcome the challenges and get more people in vanpools.

Scale UP! TDM Strategies for Large Employers
(Tuesday, 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM)

Shawn Chavira, Associate Director of Transportation, USC Transportation, and other panelists will help us understand what kinds of commuter benefits programs work for large employers to reduce the transportation frustrations of their employees, visitors and surrounding community.

ACT Award Finalists

If you cross paths with any of these RideAmigos customers, be sure to congratulate them on being recognized as finalists for ACT Awards in these impressive categories:

California State University, Los Angeles, Transportation Services – Marketing and Outreach, University

City of Austin Smart Commute Rewards – Commuting Options, Carpooling

GoRedmond – Commuting Options, Biking

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission – Marketing and Outreach, Public

Patty Olmsted, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission – Commuting Options, Vanpooling

Stanford Research Park Transportation Management Association – Outstanding TMA

Tien-Tien Chan, City of Austin Transportation Department – Excellence in Advocacy

TravelWise, Region of Waterloo and Sustainable Waterloo Region – Commuting Options, Carpooling

UCLA Transportation – Commuting Options, Biking AND Commuting Options, Public Transit

Kudos to all these amazing programs, teams, and individuals – you’re all transportation heroes in our book! We love working with and learning from leaders like you who are at the top of their field.

RideAmigos ACT Commuter Challenge

Drop by the RideAmigos booth to take part in the RideAmigos ACT Commuter Challenge! We’ll be giving away $50 gift cards for most CO2 saved, most single occupancy vehicle (SOV) miles avoided, and most calories burned. Even if you don’t top the charts, you’ll still have a chance at a random giveaways of our new Transportation Hero t-shirts.

RideAmigos Academy Meet-up

If you’re a RideAmigos customer, you should already have your calendars blocked off for Tuesday night’s user meet-up and appreciation dinner. Need more convincing? Here are 5 reason’s not to miss this year’s meet-up.

Annual Closing Night Karaoke Party

There’s no better way to wrap up another great ACT conference than the annual karaoke party. This year’s party will be bigger and better than ever, just a short walk from the conference hotel in the Anaheim Garden Walk at 8pm on Tuesday, July 31st. We’re also excited to welcome Lime as a co-sponsor of this year’s event. They might even bring some of their famous electric scooters. If you’re not already on the list, sign up for your free ticket now!

If you’re looking for a RideAmigos team member to chat with about the latest and greatest updates to our platform, programs, and mobile apps, just drop by booth #27 or send a note to act@rideamigos.com. We’d love to meet you in person and learn about the work you’re working to engage commuters in your area!

ACT 2018. Let’s do this!

5 Reasons Not to Miss This Year’s Academy Meet-Up in Anaheim

ACT RideAmigos Academy Meet-up 2017

The RideAmigos Academy is a tremendous resource for RideAmigos customers, providing opportunities for learning, sharing, and support. Each year at the Association for Commuter Transportation’s International Conference, RideAmigos customers and partners have the special opportunity to meet up in-person for even more value and fun.

Here are 5 reasons that RideAmigos Academy members should make sure to mark your calendars for 6-8pm on Tuesday, July 31st for this year’s meet-up at the ACT conference in Anaheim, California:

1) Connect with RideAmigos Power Users

The unique strength of the RideAmigos Academy is the opportunity to learn from and share with other transportation professionals who use RideAmigos on a daily basis. Our in-person meet-up gives you the chance to connect with the Academy members you’ve heard from during our monthly webinars and to compare notes with other users. Find out how industry leaders are leveraging the many tools within RideAmigos, and which TDM strategies are proving most effective.

2) Learn What’s Coming Next

Academy members are always at the forefront of RideAmigos product updates and announcements. We’ve got some big news coming up around this year’s ACT conference and the Academy meet-up will be a great opportunity to learn how these new additions will help you create and manage impactful commuter programs.

3) Help Shape the Future of RideAmigos

Here at RideAmigos we’re always listening to our customers and watching the evolution of the smart mobility ecosystem to determine how to provide the best products in the business. This year’s Academy event will feature an in-depth exploration and discussion of industry trends, which will ultimately inform future RideAmigos tools and programs.

4) Free Food and Drinks

You’ve got to eat, right? Why not do so for free, and have a drink on us while you’re at it! As a way to show our appreciation for you, our beloved Academy members, your food and drinks are provided. Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal?

5) Stick Around for the Annual Karaoke Party

In case you aren’t aware, the most famous party of the year for the commuter management industry also happens on the last night of the ACT conference. The annual RideAmigos karaoke party is not to be missed, and if you’re at the Academy meet-up you’re already there. Starting at 8pm we’ll transition into party mode, so be ready to belt out some duets with your colleagues and close out the conference right. The karaoke party is free and open to anyone attending the ACT conference.

Click here to register for the Academy Meet-up

Click here to register for the Karaoke Party

If you’re in the market for better tools and resources for running your commuter programs, you won’t find a more active, engaged, and fun user group than the RideAmigos Academy, and membership is included for all RideAmigos platform and network administrators. Want to learn more? Get started with RideAmigos today.

Real Commuter Gamification in the Tour de Redmond

Washington state’s Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association (GRTMA) has been running an annual bike-focused commuter challenge since 2006. The challenge, cleverly called the “Tour de Redmond“, is designed to recognize commuters who regularly bike to work, and to introduce drivers to cycling with the hope of inspiring long-term behavior change. RideAmigos first supported the Tour de Redmond in 2012, when the organizers used our cloud-based platform to manage registration and run the challenge. We can’t think of a better way to start and end a summer workday than biking through beautiful Redmond, Washington. We’re proud to be powering the Tour de Redmond again this year as an official sponsor of the event.

RideAmigos facilitated the program’s successful transition to a true gamification-based commuter engagement strategy. Participants can view their rankings on a live leaderboard and instantly compare themselves and their team to other riders. The commuter challenge features make it easy for riders to track their progress toward the program’s prizes, all while engaging their competitive spirits.

For program organizers, a commuter management platform makes it easy to generate reports, maps, and visualizations. These features give GRTMA officials useful and actionable insights into commuter behaviors during the challenge, allowing them to make ongoing evaluations about the city’s cycling infrastructure while continuing to find new ways to encourage community members to adopt cycling as a long-term commuting solution.

After the first year of working with RideAmigos, GRTMA organizers called it the “smoothest we have ever had in the seven-year history of the competition.” They were also happy to report that using RideAmigos cloud-based platform “saved us as much as a hundred labor hours.”

The commuters in Redmond also posted some impressive results that year:

  • 583 active riders across 64 teams
  • Over 90,000 miles biked
  • Over 54 million calories burned
  • $17,000 of gas money saved
  • 45 tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided

The Tour de Redmond has continued to build on that success. The 2018 challenge just kicked off at the beginning of June and RideAmigos is proud to be a part of it again this year. We’re looking forward to seeing this year’s results!

If you’d like to learn more about what our platform and programs can do for you, or if you are looking for advice on jump-starting your own commuter challenges, get started here.