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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.

5 Ways Bike Commuting Benefits Your Bottom Line

Bicycle commuting creates a positive impact on your organization

May is National Bike Month! In honor of the occasion, it’s time to highlight five often-overlooked ways that bicycle commuting delivers bottom-line benefits to businesses and organizations.

More bike commuters means less need for parking

Renting or building additional parking spaces to accommodate vehicles can be very costly. Many bicycles can fit in the space a car would normally occupy, and providing secure bicycle lock-ups and racks can be achieved for a small fraction of the cost of adding parking.

Cycling reduces stress

Research has shown that a single-occupancy vehicle is the most stressful way to get to and from work. Battling other drivers for space on congested highways and thoroughfares is never a great way to start the day.

Cycling, by comparison, is far less stressful. Studies indicate that those who choose smarter forms of transportation, including bicycles, improve their productivity in addition to reducing stress.

Bike commuters take fewer sick days

The British Medical Journal recently published a study showing that cycling is one of the healthiest ways to commute. It provides a great cardiovascular workout that helps support immune system function. Those who cycle to work are less likely to miss days due to illness, in large part because they tend to have better overall health than those who choose sedentary modes of transportation.

Cycling is a great team-building activity

A growing number of businesses are discovering the benefits of bikepools, in which more experienced riders team up with lesser experienced bike commuters to show them the ropes of urban cycling. Bikepools offer an organic, engaging way to promote camaraderie, collaboration, and friendship, all of which help create a more unified work environment.

It boosts organizational credibility

Eco-friendly values are proving to deliver major branding and image-boosting benefits for businesses. By promoting and encouraging bike-based commuting, businesses can build a better public image, attract higher-quality employees and do a better job of retaining talent.

Moreover, you’ll connect with a broader base of potential customers, as market research is showing that people are increasingly choosing products and services delivered by businesses that share their values.

To learn more about how your organization can benefit from a higher rate of bike commuting, and get proven tools for promoting cycling as an alternative to driving, let us know you’re ready to get started with RideAmigos!

Alternatives to More Parking

Seeking alternatives to more parking?

Try strategies that get commuters out of single-occupancy vehicles.

Soaring parking demand often puts transportation managers in a difficult spot. In many cases, it isn’t physically possible to add more parking spots. This forces businesses and organizations to consider inconvenient alternatives like offsite parking. Even when it is possible to add more parking spots, doing so is almost always a costly proposition that isn’t likely to generate positive returns in the long run. Thankfully, there are some great alternatives to more parking that can both save money and reduce corporate environmental impact.

The best alternatives to adding more parking are those that get people out of single-occupancy vehicles and into smarter options for getting where they need to go. Here’s a look at the most popular options, along with ways to encourage commuters to use them:

  • Rideshares and carpools: Smart, location-aware ridesharing programs help interested commuters connect and make arrangements to share costs and driving duties.
  • Vanpool programs: Set up vanpool shuttles that link major regional transit hubs to your offices or work sites.
  • Bike to work: Provide bike commuters with route guidance, bikepool buddies, and resources like secure racks, lockers, showers, and “guaranteed ride home” options for stormy weather and unexpected emergencies.
  • Public transportation: Offer free or subsidized transit passes to get people to using buses, subways, and regional light rail trains instead of driving.

Incentive programs that track commuter usage of smart alternatives and reward individuals or groups are also a great way to get people out of their cars and into smarter options.

Of all the available alternatives to more parking, reducing demand is the best. Here’s the most effective strategy:

Parking cash-out programs are a proven method for reducing demand, making them one of the best alternatives to more parking. In a nutshell, these programs offer employees a choice: hang onto your parking spot, or take a weekly/monthly cash payout that represents the amount of money the business pays to rent or maintain the spot.

The reason it works is simple: it makes commuters feel as though they’re giving something up by continuing to drive to work and use a parking spot. When combined with other commuter management strategies, like rideshare matching, incentive programs, and subsidized transit passes, parking cash-outs are even more effective.

The revolutionary RideAmigos commuter management software platform is a great investment for businesses looking to change commuter behavior and cut the soaring costs associated with parking rentals and ownership. Get your organization moving in the right direction – contact RideAmigos today!

The #1 Commuter Parking Management Strategy

Use this proven method to boost the effectiveness of your commuter parking management

Parking demand can cause major problems in the workplace, especially if your commuter base is heavily reliant on single-occupancy vehicles. However, by implementing a single strategy, you can massively improve your approach to commuter parking management. This winning strategy is known as parking cash-out.

Here’s how these highly successful programs work:

Parking cash-out is an ideal option for businesses that provide employees with subsidized or no-cost parking. The business begins by calculating its daily per-vehicle parking rate. Then, offer employees who drive to work a choice: take a cash payout, or use your parking spot. The payouts can be calculated and distributed on a weekly or monthly basis, or processed along with payroll.

For businesses that rent their parking facilities, figuring out the daily per-vehicle rate is easy: just divide your total parking costs by the number of spots you rent, then compute down to a daily figure. Companies that own their own parking facilities can estimate daily costs by adding up construction, operation, and maintenance costs associated with their parking lots, then dividing by the number of parking spots it holds. That figure can then be annualized, or broken down into quarters, months, weeks, or days.

Studies have shown that if you’re going to use only one commuter parking management strategy, this is the one to try. Parking cash-out programs can reduce parking demand by as much as 45 percent.

This strategy works because it gives commuters an immediate, tangible incentive not to drive to work. Most commuters that have access to free or low-cost parking don’t think much about what it costs the company. Offering them a cash payout in exchange for their parking spot will make the commuter feel as though he or she stands to lose something by continuing to solo-drive to work.

Companies can achieve long-term savings by sharply reducing the amount of parking they need to rent, or earn additional revenues by renting unused spots to other individuals or businesses. It’s a classic win-win situation that is well worth a try if you’re a facilities manager for a business struggling to figure out how to manage steep employee demand for costly parking.

RideAmigos is the perfect commuter management platform for implementing a parking cash-out program. Empower your employees to make smarter transportation choices like ridesharing, biking, and transit. Track commuting patterns. Incentivize preferred behaviors. All within one powerful system.

Get started with the commuter management pros at RideAmigos to learn how you can implement a parking cash out program.

LEED Parking: Can Green Parking Garages Be Certified?

LEED Certification and Parking Facilities: Reducing Environmental Footprints

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is part of a nationwide green construction program that grants accreditation to buildings and facilities that meet demanding energy efficiency and ecological standards. Earlier in LEED’s history, there was ongoing debate as to whether or not green parking garages, as standalone structures, could qualify for LEED certification. The long and short of it boils down to this: parking facilities by themselves cannot be certified under the LEED program, but they can incorporate features that help the building, as a whole, earn certification.

In addition, after the LEED decision, a new organization and new certification arose: the Green Parking Council and Green Garage Certification, recently renamed Parksmart. To make things even more confusing, Green Building Certification, Inc., which manages LEED certification for the USGBC, now manages Parksmart certification, too. So yes, green parking garages can be certified, just not LEED certified.

Technicalities and certifications aside, there are plenty of ways to “go green” by improving energy efficiency and reducing the environmental footprint of parking facilities. Lighting systems, parking priorities, construction materials and ventilation systems can all be configured to support green initiatives.

The Impact of Efficient Lighting

While parking structures themselves may not be eligible for LEED certification, they can take part in the U.S. Energy Department’s Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) initiative. When the campaign went widespread in 2014, participating partners were able to cut lighting-related energy use by a whopping 90 percent.

The program encourages parking garages to switch to energy-efficient options like fluorescent, halide and LED-powered systems. It also promotes technologies that offer better control over light activation and deactivation, ensuring energy isn’t being wasted when the facility isn’t in use.

Special Access for Drivers of Efficient Vehicles

Another strategy that’s been used in traffic-heavy areas like Southern California is to give priority access to drivers of fuel-efficient hybrid or electric vehicles. Giving these vehicles access to the most conveniently located spots raises awareness of ecological issues and rewards drivers who are doing their part to reduce carbon emissions.

Getting Creative with Construction Materials

Paul de Ruiter Architects, a Dutch building design firm, recently made waves with a bold approach to parking structure construction. The firm created a garage made completely of recyclable materials, and engineered it so it could be dismantled in the future, when sustainable modes of transportation have become the standard and dedicated parking space for cars is no longer needed.
De Ruiter’s building, known as the Mors Gate garage, also uses natural ventilation, heat recovery systems and other advanced green technologies, leading some to hail it as a new standard in parking structure design. Even though a “future without cars” is still a long way off, innovation remains a powerful weapon in the fight against pollution.

Reducing Demand

While parking facilities themselves may not be eligible for LEED, one step toward certification for your building can include reducing the number of parking spaces you offer. How can this be justified? By reducing demand. TDM programs and software like RideAmigos can have an incredible effect on shifting the way people think about and use transportation, particularly for commuting. Contact us to learn more about how your organization can reduce its parking and environmental footprints and help transform transportation.

Tech Tools to Solve the Parking Crunch

Parking is a major cause of traffic congestion and urban air pollution. How can technology help?

It’s a problem that practically every city dweller is familiar with: reaching a destination, only to find there’s nowhere to park.

A recent research project compiled by University of California-Los Angeles professor Donald Shoup found that it can take the average driver up to 14 minutes to find a parking spot. As much as 74 percent of parking congestion in major urban centers results from drivers looking for parking.

Clearly, parking is a major contributor to urban traffic and pollution problems. In searching for solutions, individual drivers and municipalities, businesses, and universities can take advantage of new technological tools to make parking easier, faster and more efficient.    

A Great Start: Smarter Parking

Here are a few examples of the innovative, technology-driven strategies municipalities are using to help manage parking-related issues:

San Francisco – The SFPark system  is one of the most successful examples of dynamic, technology-based solutions to parking challenges. Interfacing directly with the city’s parking infrastructure, SFPark tracks availability in real time, alerting users to parking garages that have the greatest number of available spaces. Drivers can head straight to where the parking is, rather than wasting time and fuel searching for a spot.

Boston – In Boston’s south end, similar technology is in use. A new app, called the Parker, displays parking availability information in real time, and also delivers turn-by-turn directions to drivers.

Minnesota – A recent collaboration between the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies and MnDOT uses cameras to automatically detect parking available at truck stops. Real-time data is made available through the web, electronic road signs, and even in-cab messaging.

Sydney – The city of Sydney has developed its own unique take, designed for commuters who drive into the city for work. There, drivers can use an app developed by parking company Divvy to find vacant spaces available for rent in buildings. Commuters can save hundreds of dollars a month by renting a spot instead of paying for street parking, all while eliminating congestion.

Even Better: Reduce the Need

Making the most efficient use of available parking is an important step, but an even more effective route is reducing the need for parking by making it easier for people to carpool, bike, walk, or take public transit. To that end, here are some proven techniques organizations use to cut back on parking demand:

  • Colleges and universities can launch rideshare networks and vanpool services, or subsidize public transportation passes to get people using alternative modes. These campus parking solutions can save schools huge amounts of money by liberating them from the need to build onerous and expensive new parking facilities.
  • Businesses who own or lease their parking facilities can use innovative techniques to encourage employees to ditch the solo drive in favor of smart alternatives. Proven strategies to reduce enterprise parking costs include parking cash-out programs, earn-a-bike programs, and challenge and incentive programs that reward commuters for sharing rides, using transit, or adopting active commuting.
  • Government employers can use similar techniques to drive behavior change and scale down parking demand. Maximizing government parking is especially important, since public funds are used to cover operating costs.
  • Municipalities are moving toward strategies that make solo driving and parking less appealing from a cost perspective. Faced with more expensive parking and other tolls, many would-be solo motorists will make better use of available alternatives.

All of these programs and policies can be designed, promoted, refined, and administered with advanced software tools specifically designed for the transportation demand management market.

Manage Parking Needs with the RideAmigos Platform

Transportation demand management software like the RideAmigos platform offers powerful tools for managing parking assets and reducing parking demand. Our software can integrate with parking infrastructure in dynamic ways, and it can also help you create and manage programs that reduce or even eliminate the need for parking altogether. Through powerful trip planning tools and highly customizable incentive programs, our platform helps users take advantage of the many available alternatives to solo driving.

For more great content like this, sign up for our Commuter Tips emails.

Photo Credit: Steve Morgan

Plan Now for Fall Semester University Parking Needs

Use summer downtime to plan ahead for the upcoming fall semester’s parking requirements

With graduation having come and gone for another year, college and university administrators can start thinking ahead to the upcoming fall semester. Though campus parking lots may be empty now, in a couple of months they’ll be brimming with vehicles as students, faculty, and staff compete for spots.

Advance planning is the key to managing parking and vehicle overflow issues. Strategies can be broadly grouped into three main categories: creating sound parking policies, making the most of mass transit options, and introducing new ways to manage traffic flow.

Colleges and universities have generated beneficial results by adjusting their parking policies, using techniques like:

  • Assigning parking passes based on seniority and the individual’s role in the campus community, giving first dibs to the longest-tenured community members and those with a demonstrated need for on-campus parking
  • Introducing mobile parking meters, which improve traffic flow by preventing the need for drivers to find stationary meters
  • Increasing parking rates so more people choose alternative modes of transportation

To that end, university administrators can encourage community members to take better advantage of mass transit options:

  • Offer subsidized transit passes, or work transit pass costs into existing student fee schedules
  • Use campus shuttles to help staff and students get around large campuses quickly and without driving

Finally, keep traffic flow rates under control by:

  • Spreading out class schedules over the course of the day to reduce traffic congestion
  • Making central campus areas inaccessible to drivers, forcing them to park on the periphery of the campus and walk, bike, or use shuttles
  • Eliminating daytime traffic altogether; a growing number of universities have completely shut down campuses to vehicles during daytime hours to great effect

Technological tools can support campus transportation initiatives

Transportation demand management software like the RideAmigos platform offers major benefits to colleges and universities looking to reduce parking demand. Our platform’s commute trip planner tool is invaluable for staff and students who live off campus, helping them build efficient and green-friendly transportation plans that help them save money while reducing traffic burdens. Administrators can set up incentive programs and challenges to encourage the use of transportation alternatives. Event travel planning and event ridesharing programs help ease congestion during extra-busy times, like homecoming, football games, and parents’ weekends. 

Ready to learn more? Please contact us or view a free, comprehensive video demonstration of our revolutionary software.

Photo credit: mehmet canli

Reduce Your Parking Footprint for LEED Credit

Earn credit toward LEED certification by reducing your building’s parking footprint

Parking spaces are expensive and are a major source of soil and water pollution. Forward-thinking companies seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for their buildings can earn credit by minimizing the environmental impact of their parking facilities. If you’re planning or building a new location for your company and you want to enjoy the ecological and marketing benefits that come with LEED certification, it’s easy to take action to start reducing your parking footprint now.

LEED is the world’s most recognized green building certification. Available to buildings that meet elevated standards for energy efficiency and green design, LEED certification is more than just a way to help reduce pollution and minimize ecological impact. It also supports marketing and branding efforts by reinforcing your company’s ecologically friendly values, and it can also add to the resale price of the finished property.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced a new program that allows builders to earn credit towards LEED certification by reducing their parking footprint. Here are the specifics:

  • To qualify, buildings must not have more than the minimum parking capacity, as defined by local code requirements.
  • Buildings can also qualify by having less parking capacity than the recommended base ratios suggested by the Parking Consultants Council (PCC), which are available in the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Transportation Planning Handbook, 3rd Edition, Tables 18-2, 18-3 and 18-4.
  • Projects are also able to earn points by meeting LT Credit Surrounding Density and Diverse Areas, or LT Credit Access to Quality Transit requirements.
  • Projects without these LT credits must have at least 20 percent less parking capacity than the PCC base ratios.
  • Projects with LT credits must have at least 40 percent less parking capacity than the PCC base ratios.

Full program details can be viewed on the USGBC website.

Empower commuters to use alternative means of transportation to reduce your parking needs

If you’re looking to reduce your parking capacity, it’s essential that you offer alternatives to commuters and employees. Encouraging people to use environmentally responsible transportation such as ridesharing, carpooling, public transit, or biking is the best way to keep your parking requirements as low as possible. Transportation demand management software, like RideAmigos, provides powerful tools for reducing your parking needs by empowering and incentivizing people to change the way they commute. 

Our revolutionary transportation management platform offers an easy-to-use commuter trip planner, extensive ridesharing features, motivational incentive options, powerful data analysis tools, and more. We make it easy for users to skip the solo drive and affordable for organizations to reduce their environmental footprint. To learn more, check out our demo video or contact us today.

Photo Credit: Tilt Shift Parking Lot by Nic Redhead

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