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.

RideAmigos Founder Trades His Car for an E-bike

Leading by example is an essential aspect of the RideAmigos philosophy. We aren’t just here to talk about smart alternatives to solo driving; we strive to put our values into action. Our team members are active participants in our internal commuter programs, and they’ve shown a remarkable level of commitment. More than half of our employees choose transportation modes other than solo driving most of the time, and one-quarter of our team never travels to work in a single-occupancy vehicle.

Embrace of alternative modes by our founders is a big part of the reason we’ve been able to foster such an exceptional company culture around commuting. Today, we’d like to highlight the forward-thinking transportation decisions of our co-founder and director Jeff Chernick, who made the bold move to divest himself of his car altogether. RideAmigos is based in Santa Monica, California, and if you’re familiar with the Los Angeles area, you know that navigating the city without a car is by no means the most common option. Jeff has persevered, and now does most of his local travel by e-bike. His story makes a great case study in the many benefits of embracing alternative modes of transportation.

In a recent interview, Jeff shed some light on what initially inspired his decision to get rid of his car. He talked about the daily cost of parking and monthly costs for car payments and insurance. When his car’s lease came up for renewal it was a great time to consider better ways to spend his money and time. After initially extending his lease for six months, Jeff decided to take the initial plunge and go for a car-free lifestyle.

“The first step was just to give up the car and start talking Lyft and Uber to work,” Jeff said. “I did the math, and I was spending around $300 a month on my lease, plus gas and insurance. It’s usually around $9 each way for a Lyft or Uber, and now I wouldn’t have to park.” So, round-trip transportation to and from work cost about $18 a day, but Jeff freed himself of $9 to $10 per day in parking costs.

“It just made sense,” Jeff continued. He commutes to the office three to four days per week, which averaged about $70 per week in ride-hailing expenses. That added up to about $280 to $300 per month, which was less than the combined cost of his car lease, insurance, and daily parking.

So, from the standpoint of commuting to work, ditching his car made sense to Jeff. But what about personal trips? “The bigger trips are definitely harder,” Jeff conceded. “It does add up, but I was already taking Lyft and Uber for some personal trips anyways.” Factoring those trips in, Jeff was basically breaking even switching from his own car to ride-hailing. However, he also discovered an added benefit of his new commuting mode: he was able to be more productive during his trip to work by taking phone calls, catching up on emails, and prepping for the day.

As time went on, Jeff became disenchanted with sitting in traffic, despite the added productivity time. One morning on his way to work, he noticed there was a bike path along the beach that covered virtually his entire commuting route. “I had been thinking about getting an e-bike for a really long time,” Jeff said. The mental wheels started turning, and after doing some research and consulting several other RideAmigos team members who own e-bikes, Jeff found a model he liked and pulled the trigger. (He picked out a Joulvert Playa Voyager – it’s got a backseat for your amigos!)

“[The bike] goes up to 22 miles per hour, and my new commute is essentially the same amount of time it would take to drive if there’s no traffic.” Jeff’s particular e-bike model retails for about $1,800, and he found that making the change vastly accelerated his cost savings because he’s reliably able to use his e-bike for both commutes and personal trips, given Southern California’s dry and sunny climate.

“It’s definitely life-changing,” Jeff said. Yet, there were some issues to be ironed out along the way, like assembling the e-bike he bought and learning how to use all its features properly. “My one recommendation is do our research, talk to friends and local shops, and if you do end up ordering online, get it delivered right to a local bike shop so they can put it together for you.” Jeff also points out that buying an e-bike from a traditional retail shop that is familiar with e-bikes has its benefits, like service and maintenance support. “You might get a better deal online, but the big pro of buying from a shop is the service.”

Jeff summed up his personal transportation transformation by saying, “I still use Uber and Lyft here and there. I still carpool. I mix it up. I don’t e-bike every single day. But every time I bike to work, I save $20, and that means this bike will pay for itself in just a few months.”

Here at RideAmigos, we know here are lots of people like Jeff who, with a little encouragement and some additional mobility resources, could skip the solo drive and embrace a car-lite or car-free lifestyle. It’s why we’re committed to providing tools and programs for organizations of all types to help them connect commuters, provide transportation options, and reward sustainable choices. If your organization is ready to reduce costs and environmental impact through smarter commuter solutions, let us know – we’re here to help.

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!

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.

Partner Highlight: Ready, Set, Go-Tober

RideAmigos is proud to power Denver’s third annual Go-Tober Challenge program

The “Go-Tober Challenge” has taken the Denver metro area by storm for the third straight year. This popular program encourages commuters to ditch solo driving for at least one week during the month of October, and explore alternatives like carpooling, public transit, vanpooling, biking, walking, or teleworking.

Like all good challenge programs, Denver’s Go-Tober Challenge gives participants the chance to earn prizes in addition to bragging rights. According to Steve Erickson, the marketing and communications director for the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), “Go-Tober brings friendly competition into what’s truly a collaborative effort of reducing traffic congestion and emissions one commuter at a time. We all play a part in making our region a great place to live. It’s a win for everyone.”

During Go-Tober, Denver-area businesses can compete against one another to see which company can log the most commutes and the most miles using modes of transportation other than single-occupancy vehicles. The objective is to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of solo driving, promote alternatives, and empowering commuters to try new ways of getting around in the hopes of creating long-term behavior change.

The Go-Tober initiative is run by Way to Go, a partnership between DRCOG and seven local transportation management associations (TMAs). Employees that work for companies participating in the program must register at WayToGoTober.org, and log at least four round-trip commutes using smart alternatives over the course of the month. Companies earn valuable points for every one-way trip logged on the site, with the winners and leaders qualifying for prizes.

With powerful trip logging, route planning, incentive distribution, and transportation gamification features, RideAmigos is proud to be the software platform of choice for Go-Tober. We’re pleased to be a part of this popular and high-impact initiative that’s going a long way toward making Denver a better place to work and live.

Save the Date for CommuteCon ’18

Are you a passionate advocate for smarter commuting? Or an employee transportation coordinator looking for new ideas? Maybe you’re a regional planner tasked with reducing traffic, or a facilities manager trying to manage parking issues, or a a commuter program manager hoping for a chance to connect with colleagues.

Whoever you are and however you spend your time, if engaging with the innovators and ideas at the leading edge of commuter transportation sounds like fun, then YOU should be a part of CommuteCon – the largest online conference for transportation demand management.

Mark your calendars now for February 7th, 2018. CommuteCon is completely free and entirely online, so set aside a few hours to join us from the comfort of your computer and immerse yourself in the latest and greatest projects and programs from across the industry.

What to Expect from CommuteCon ’18

Curious what CommuteCon ’18 might look like? A great place to get an idea of what to expect is last year’s event. CommuteCon ’17 featured 16 sessions over the course of 4 hours, with over 500 registrants from all across North America and around the world.

Here’s a snapshot of a few of last year’s topics:

  • Mobility on Demand
  • How TDM Can Green Your Community
  • Commuter Management for Small Businesses
  • Social Media and Commuter Programs
  • Promoting Programs to Employees
  • Creative Cross-Promotions and Integrations
  • Leveraging Surveys for Good Programming
  • Marketing Techniques for the Non-Marketer
  • Transportation Systems Modeling

While this year’s event will bring a different mix of speakers and different topics, our primary focus remains centered on shifting commuter behavior for the common good.

If you’re looking for an accessible, affordable conference to expand your knowledge and kindle your passion for making an impact on your organization and community, look no further than CommuteCon.

Registration will be opening soon. To make sure you’re among the first to know when conference registration is available, be sure to sign up for the CommuteCon mailing list:

CommuteCon Commuter Management Conference

 

Zipcar Car-Sharing Integration Now Standard

The numerous mobility options available to modern commuters make it easier than ever to get by without owning your own car. Excellent transit, smart ride-hailing services, and expanding bicycle infrastructure all provide accessible ways to navigate the city. But sometimes, you just need a car of your own for a little while. That’s where car-sharing programs like Zipcar help fill the gaps in 21st-century urban mobility.

Zipcar is one of the largest and most well-known car-sharing services in the world, with over 1 million users and more than 12,000 vehicles. With shared cars available in most major metro areas, Zipcar plays an important role in the transportation spectrum, allowing for an easier transition to a car-free or car-lite lifestyle by providing short-term access to vehicles when needed.

As part of our ongoing mission to be the most comprehensive hub for commuter transportation and management, RideAmigos is excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Zipcar to give commuters easy access to shared vehicles right alongside all other available transportation options.

Our commuter trip planner now displays all local Zipcars and makes it easy to plan trips to and from Zipcar locations. Users can also click through to get more information about Zipcar, including how to sign up if they aren’t already members.

Zipcar integration is standard on all RideAmigos platforms where Zipcars are available in the region. Including Zipcars directly within our platform makes RideAmigos an even more complete solution for empowering commuters with smart, accessible mode options, and makes Zipcars easier to find and use as part of a modern urban lifestyle.

Learn more about the benefits of using a comprehensive commuter management platform like RideAmigos.