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3 Hospital Commuter Solutions that Reduce Solo Car Commutes and Save Money

Looking to reduce vehicle trips to and around your hospital? Transportation demand management (TDM) is a great way to improve access, reduce pollution, and ease the costs associated with increased parking. Implementing some simple but effective hospital commuter solutions can measurable reduce the number of solo drivers traveling to and from your facility each day.

Here are three winning strategies that healthcare administrators around the country are already using to great success:

Pay employees to leave their cars at home

Regardless of the type of workplace, employers have great success with a simple but effective program: incentivize employees not to drive to work. The most successful employers offer cash in exchange for taking an alternative mode and passing up on parking. From payroll incentives to gift cards, and even paid time off, the right incentives lead to significant numbers of employees choosing  smart alternatives to solo driving.

Raise the cost of parking

Another straightforward, high-impact strategy for the hospital mobility ecosystem: make it more expensive for employees to park. For example, if you currently offer employees a discounted monthly parking pass, instead charge solo drivers regular daily parking rates.

This is a very effective strategy, but to avoid a mutiny, you need to pair this kind of initiative with hospital commuter solutions that make it less expensive for employees to use other modes. Rideshare matching paired with a guaranteed ride home programs is a great option, as is public transportation. To that end:

Your hospital commuter solutions should encourage public transit use

Hospitals are usually situated so they’re easily accessible via public transportation. Take advantage of this by offering to subsidize or fully fund monthly transit passes so your commuters can save money by taking the bus or subway to work instead of driving.

If local transit routes don’t serve your hospital particularly well, consider shuttle service as an option. Running private shuttles between the hospital and major public transportation hubs in the nearby area is a cost-effective and easy way to bridge service gaps.

For more tips on reducing solo car commuting, and for expert insights into your current lineup of hospital commuter solutions, talk to our experts to get started with RideAmigos today.

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!

How to Lower Employee Morale

In their efforts to cut costs, reduce overhead expenses, and boost profit margins, employers must balance the need to maintain employee morale while dealing with these economic realities. Unfortunately, many actions (or inactions) taken by employers can unintentionally lower employee morale, rather than raise it. Many studies have shown that happy employees perform better and are more productive, and recent research also suggests that the modes commuters use to get to work can have a strong impact on overall levels of employee satisfaction.

With that in mind, here’s a look at some ways commuting-related workplace practices can lower employee morale and thus take a negative toll on company culture:

  • Only incentivizing solo driving. Free employee parking is a great perk, but if it’s the only commuting-related advantage you offer, you risk alienating team employees who prefer other modes of transportation. Instead, adopt a robust array of commuter support options, like subsidized transit passes and secure bike parking, to make sure everyone’s needs are met.
  • Not offering alternatives to costly parking. Parking is a major expense, and it’s one that a lot of companies deal with by (a) raising the prices of their products and services or (b) having employees pay to park in third-party lots. Parking cash-out programs, ridesharing initiatives, vanpools, and other alternative commuting modes can all be used to reduce parking demand and thus cut costs for employees and employers alike.
  • Inflexible policies on where and when employees work. Strict policies of this nature make it more difficult for employees to arrange carpools and can contribute to traffic congestion. Employees really appreciate the convenience that flexible hours and telework programs offer.

It’s important for employers to make a concerted effort to cultivate a businesslike yet vibrant, fun, and engaging company culture. People feel more invested in their jobs when the company feels more like a community, and building this kind of environment requires a focused, calculated effort that begins at the management level.

Commuting-related initiatives that help foster a workplace community include commuter challenge and incentive programs that encourage informal competition while engaging your workforce in pursuit of positive and beneficial objectives. Commute options like ridematching and bikepooling can also help to create relationships among co-workers. All these can easily be implemented using commuter management software.

RideAmigos can help businesses and organizations of all sizes avoid lower employee morale while building robust commuter programs with high impact levels. Get started with raising employee morale today!

Why Free Parking Isn’t Necessary for Happy Commuters

Challenging assumptions behind workplace parking privileges

Employers tend to assume that providing employees with free parking is just a necessary cost of doing business. The underlying assumption is that free parking makes commuters happy, and happy commuters make for a happy workforce.

While it’s probably true that many car-centric commuters wouldn’t be happy if they were suddenly told they had to pay for their own parking, it’s still worth asking whether the chicken or the egg comes first when it comes to free workplace parking. Do businesses provide free parking because commuters drive, or do commuters drive because businesses provide free parking?

It’s a question without an easy answer, but what we’ve seen in our years of experience in the transportation demand management industry is that commuters are more likely to adopt smarter modes of transportation if they’re given a strong incentive to do so.

Free Parking Isn’t the Only Path to Happy Commuters

If you’d like to reduce employee reliance on single-occupancy vehicles, cut parking costs and encourage commuters to use smarter modes of transportation more often, all while keeping commuters happy, there’s a smart, simple way to go about it:

Give employees the option of trading in their free parking privileges for a different form of transportation incentive, like a free monthly transit pass, credit toward a new bike, or a monthly parking cash-out program designed to encourage carpooling.

This way, you empower commuters to make their own choices, all while protecting the goodwill you generate by offering free parking in the first place. Not only that, these programs can even be seen as added employee benefits for those who prefer transportation modes other than driving!

Check out our learning center for more information on alternatives to free parking that save businesses money while encouraging smarter commuting. You can also find out about incentives to promote ridesharing and tools to manage parking right here on our blog.

If you’d like to learn how our industry-leading commuter management platform can power your parking incentive programs, contact RideAmigos today.

Top Incentives to Increase Ridesharing (Infographic)

Wondering how to increase ridesharing among employees?

Create incentive programs that turn negatives into positives:

How to Use Smart Incentives to Increase Ridesharing Infographic

One of the best ways to increase ridesharing is by creating incentives that neutralize the commonly cited reasons why people avoid carpooling in the first place.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey, only 9.4% of commuters use carpools to get to work. While one can hope that figure has come up a bit in the years since comprehensive federal data was last published, there’s little doubt that ridesharing still has vast untapped potential.

A poll performed by ABC News showed that while 20% of commuters were interested in sharing rides, 51% of commuters say they think carpooling would be “inconvenient,” 18% of respondents said they don’t take part in rideshare programs because they “don’t know anyone to carpool with,” and 11% cited issues related to scheduling and needing to rely on others.

Incentive programs that turn these negatives into positives have a great chance of success. Here are some tips for creating rideshare programs built on the very principles that supposedly prevent people from taking part in them:

Provide in-company or neighborhood-based rideshare matching. These are both great ways to address privacy-related concerns. Provide commuters with tools to make quick, safe connections with coworkers or neighbors so they don’t have to share rides with complete strangers.

Create flexible scheduling options. People may not need a ride when they have it, and they may not have a ride when they need it. The solution? Allow carpooling commuters to work on flex-time schedules, or adopt rideshare matching software that lets users set their availability for specific days and times according to their needs.

Offer a guaranteed ride home. Many solo drivers also want the freedom and flexibility to be able to respond to emergencies and unexpected situations, and don’t want to be without a way to get home if something happens. Guaranteed ride home programs reimburse carpoolers if they need to use a taxi or on-demand ride-hailing service on short notice.

The RideAmigos commuter management platform is filled with powerful features that are ideal for implementing these and many other smart incentive programs for increasing ridesharing.

Get started with RideAmigos today!

CommuteCon 2017 Registration Open!

CommuteCon 2017 is shaping up to be the most fun, informative, accessible commuter conference of the year

Registration is now open for CommuteCon 2017, happening February 8th. The 4-hour online conference features top-tier speakers from around the world, sharing focused presentations on a wide variety of engaging topics.

Register Now

The fields of commuter management and transportation demand management come to an exciting intersection at CommuteCon. Whatever side street you arrive on – traffic reduction, smart mobility, parking management, sustainability, employee benefits, and more – there’s a parking space for you here.

Speakers include representatives from enterprise, education, research, and government, all working together to create real and lasting change. We’re all in this together at CommuteCon. Sign up now to be part of the movement to transform transportation.

New Speakers and Topics Added

Will the New Mobility Survive a New Administration?

Mark Dowd
Former Senior Advisor
White House Office of Management and Budget

Bringing Mobility on Demand to your City

Gwo-Wei Torng, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Mobility Innovation
Federal Transit Administration

Earn-a-Bike & the Sonos Commuter Benefits Program

Allison Griffin
Facilities Manager
Sonos

State-of-the-Art Transportation Systems Modeling
for Personalized Smart Mobility and Demand Management

Lei Zhang, Ph.D.
Director, National Transportation Center
University of Maryland

TDM and Commuter Management for Small Business

Peter Williamson
Employee Outreach Coordinator
San Louis Obispo Council of Governments

Schedule coming soon!

Why Commuter Incentive Programs Are Important

Society at-large is becoming increasingly aware of the problems created by the overuse of single-occupancy vehicles. Even so, traffic congestion, pollution, and urban parking challenges still pose serious concerns. Commuting continues to be an enormous source of environmental impact.

Individual employers have an important role to play in moving towards a greener, healthier tomorrow. By taking the lead and encouraging commuters to use smarter, environmentally friendlier modes of travel, businesses can accelerate the path to progress.

The most effective way to get people to start using alternative ways of getting to work is to offer commuter incentive programs. These programs give commuters an added reason to embrace smarter modes of travel. Here’s why:

Help people take that all-important first step

Often the single biggest obstacle to change is taking that initial step, abandoning comfortable habits in order to try something new and different. This resistance is a common and natural part of the change cycle. Ask any smoker who’s managed to “butt out” about those difficult first days.

Incentive programs create financial, social, and community benefits to participants. They’re ideal for jump-starting commuter programs and getting people moving in the right direction.

Commuter incentive programs can target sub-groups in an equitable manner

Identifying specific sub-groups of employees who need a stronger nudge towards smart commuting is a good strategy. But, it’s difficult to mobilize these commuters into action without calling them out for having habits that you want to change. Targeted incentive programs offer an straightforward solution to a complex challenge.

Incentives are positive change makers

Congestion pricing. Exorbitant parking fees. Fuel surcharges. These are all examples of negative motivations for behavior change. They punish people for doing bad, rather than rewarding them for doing good.

Commuter incentive programs are just the opposite. They serve as positive change makers. From a psychological standpoint they’re a much more effective way to get people to adopt new habits.

The RideAmigos suite of commuter management software tools puts incredible power into the hands of organizations that want to create positive change. With a wide range of features for implementing commuter incentives and challenges, RideAmigos makes it easy for program administrators to get employees thinking differently about how they get to work.

Our goal at RideAmigos is to make commuter programs as easy and effective as possible. Want to find out how your current programs could be improved? Take our quick, 2-question survey and receive a free program analysis based on your top priorities:

Get a free analysis now!

Commuter Tax Benefits

Tax benefits for smarter commuting benefit both employees and employers.

Most people would agree that smarter, more environmentally friendly modes of urban transportation are a good thing. However, a lot of commuters need a little extra incentive to adopt new habits. To that end, the federal government recognizes that one of the most effective ways to actively encourage change is to offer financial benefits to those who use smart commuting options. Updates to the U.S. tax codes, which were signed into law in 2015, create a win-win situation for commuters and companies alike.

Under the updated laws, employers can give their employees the option to use up to $255 per month in pre-tax income to cover qualified commuting expenses, including:

  • Municipal and regional transit passes
  • Vanpool fares
  • Parking expenses

This program allows commuters to pay for qualified costs using pre-tax income. In total, each commuter is eligible for a taxable income reduction of up to $3,060 per year. Employers also benefit from the program, since monies dedicated to these costs are exempted from payroll taxation.

Pre-tax Benefit Example

The Santa Rosa Widget Company* has 50 employees using their pre-tax commute program. Each person claims $200 per month in eligible transportation costs. Over the course of a year, their company pays $9,000 less in payroll taxes. That, in turn, easily finances a transportation demand management program. Their TDM program then stimulates even more savings by encouraging more employees to participate. Everyone wins!

These programs also have important trickle-down benefits, which aren’t to be overlooked. Commuters who use transportation other than single-occupancy vehicles report lower levels of stress, an improved sense of well-being, and boosted workplace productivity. Enterprises that are looking for a way to kick-start beneficial changes to company culture would do well to consider the many advantages of these commuter tax benefit programs, many of which are also available on the state level.

Learn more about commuter tax benefits, and add RideAmigos to your smart commuting toolbox.

There are a lot of particular details involved with the commuter tax benefit program. If you’re looking to learn more, this comprehensive document from the Internal Revenue Service is an excellent resource, as is the National Center for Transit Research page on the tax benefits program. Remember, too, that tools like the RideAmigos software platform are excellent for helping commuters connect with a wealth of local transportation options and commute planning resources.

Our software can quickly provide you with positive return on investment in employee commuter programs. Make your smart commuting programs as beneficial as possible – contact the RideAmigos team today.

*Fictional example company. As far as we know, there’s not actually a widget company in Santa Rosa. If you’ve heard of one before, just know we’re not talking about that Santa Rosa Widget Company. 🙂

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Commuter Services

Commuter services as an employee benefit is a great investment in your company and community

Commuter services are programs that encourage employees to choose smarter, more efficient modes of transportation more often. The end objective is to reduce reliance on single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs), which is known to deliver a long list of benefits to your employees, your business, and your community.

Research has shown that commuters who leave their SOVs behind in favor of other options have lower levels of stress, higher levels of life and job satisfaction, and tend to be more productive at work.

Beyond benefitting from a happier and more energized team of employees, businesses also win by reducing their parking costs. Commuters who choose active modes of transportation, such as cycling and walking, are also less likely to burden company health insurance plans.

There’s more, businesses that align themselves with values that serve the greater good tend to enjoy a more positive perception among the public. They also have an easier time attracting and retaining top talent, which can translate into a major competitive advantage as a new generation of environmentally conscious young people move into the workforce in growing numbers.

You’ll also help your local community by doing your part to relieve traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These benefits become more pronounced and impactful as more businesses adopt commuter services programs.

Be strategic about the commuter services you offer and watch program participation rates climb

The key to building a successful commuter services program is to support a wide range of alternative transportation choices. This allows commuters to pick and choose the modes that best suit them, which in turn will generate higher participation rates. Here’s a run-down of the most popular options:

Ridesharing networks

Linking like-minded commuters to expand their range of ridesharing options is an excellent strategy. Build internal communities within your company, or provide support that helps employees connect with other carpoolers who live and work in the same area.

Carpool incentive programs

Adding incentive programs for your employees, such as preferred parking or parking pass discounts for vehicles used in carpools, is a great way to bolster support for your ridesharing network.

Vanpools

If a lot of employees use the same transit stations or local commuting hubs, you can make their journey easier by using company-sponsored vanpools to provide point-to-point transportation to and from the office.

Bike-to-work infrastructure

Provide secure bicycle parking, storage lockers, and showers to encourage more employees to bike to work. A lack of on-site infrastructure is one of the biggest obstacles that prevents more commuters from embracing pedal power as an alternative to driving. You can also create bikepool programs as part of a complete cycling support strategy.

Smart commute challenges and gamification

Tapping into people’s competitive nature builds buzz and makes smart commuting fun. Commuter challenges and gamification programs that offer prizes and perks to the winners are fantastic for getting people excited about participating, and community-wide challenges and gamification initiatives are also growing in popularity.

Telework support

The easiest commute is the one that’s never made. If a commuter’s work duties can be completed off-site, giving employees support to work from home one or more days a week is an excellent option that delivers valuable flexibility your team members will appreciate.


Another important part of any sound commuter services strategy is to anticipate possible challenges or objections, and build in a solution. This is where guaranteed ride home programs can have a major impact. Commuters are more likely to try alternative modes (and stick to using them once they switch) if they know they have a fast, convenient way home in case of bad weather or an emergency.

Finally, design your program so it leverages the most powerful set of motivators: immediate rewards. These incentives can take multiple forms:

  • A growing number of companies and organizations have used earn-a-bike programs to encourage commuters to adopt more active transportation modes. Commuters earn cash incentives or accumulate credit toward a free bike every time they log a smart commute.
  • Parking cash-outs are another great motivator. Offer employees the chance to earn a monthly payout for voluntarily rescinding their parking privileges or agreeing to limit the number of times they use the spot in any given month.
  • Recent changes to IRS tax codes have also increased the amount of pre-tax income eligible for commuting-related tax deductions. In addition to getting more people using qualified alternative modes of transportation, this strategy can also reduce employer payroll tax burdens.

The RideAmigos team can provide great ideas and a long list of commuter support services, including the ability to integrate these and other programs into a single, unified commuter management hub. Our industry-leading software platform is the ideal tool for planning, implementing, and administering commuter programs.

Get started today with a free program analysis, free commuter tips, or a comprehensive demo of our industry-leading commuter management software.

Employer Transportation Benefits

Offering employer transportation benefits is a proven way to increase participation in smart commuting programs

Getting commuters to change their habits is one of the most difficult initial challenges to overcome when building and promoting a smart commuting program. Commuters tend to keep doing what they’ve always done, simply because it’s the easiest thing to do. You’ll need a proven strategy to get past this hurdle, and one of the best options is to offer employer transportation benefits.

The reasoning behind this approach is simple: give people a reason to change the way they commute, and they’ll be more likely to get on board. Financial incentives, parking privileges, and smarter commute-friendly facilities are all great places to start.

Looking for ideas to help build your employer transportation benefits program?

Here’s a closer look at some employer transportation benefits that get commuters excited about program participation:

  • Rideshares. A lot of commuters would happily leave their cars behind if it were easy for them to carpool or use vanpool programs. The RideAmigos platform makes it a breeze for interested commuters to connect with carpools, vanpools, and rideshare programs that are every bit as convenient as driving a single-occupancy vehicle.
  • Parking benefits. Offer priority parking spots to vehicles used in carpools, and/or reduced parking rates to employees that make regular use of the smart commuting options you support.
  • Subsidized transit. Give employees access to reduced-cost or free local transit passes. Chances are good you’ll notice a major spike in the number of commuters using transit to get to and from work.
  • Active commuting facilities. Provide showers, lockers, and secure bicycle storage to encourage people to engage in active forms of commuting like walking, running, or biking to work.
  • Guaranteed ride home programs. Support active commuting programs by offering “guaranteed rides home” to pedestrians and cyclists left stranded by poor weather or unexpected complications.
  • Pre-tax commuter benefits. Implement a smart commuting program and your business, as well as your employees, will qualify for generous pre-tax commuter benefits that puts money back in everyone’s pockets.

RideAmigos’ innovative transportation demand management platform makes it easy for employers to build benefits programs that work. Use RideAmigos software modules to create and administer programs, track participation, log trips, manage gamification standings, distribute benefits, and much more.

Learn more about RideAmigos for employers