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TDM + Local Bike Shops = ❤️

Bicycle advocacy powerhouse People for Bikes recently shared a great blog post highlighting the mutual interests of transportation demand management (TDM) and local bike shops.

From TMA’s & TMO’s to universities, enterprises and municipalities, organizations concerned with shifting commuter behavior usually promote biking as a great alternative to single occupancy vehicle (SOV) commuting. In the TDM industry, we know bikes take up less space on roads and in parking lots, cut carbon emissions, and create happier commuters.

Local bike shops are also well aware of all these advantages of biking over driving, so for TDM programs looking for partners to help promote and empower bike commuting, local bike shops are a match made in transportation heaven.

The People for Bikes article mentions the success that our partner Sonos has had with their earn-a-bike program for employees, including partnering with local bike shops. The University of Louisville has also implemented a similar program for students who can trade parking passes for bikes.

When it comes to cycling-related TDM challenges and incentives, local bike shops are great resources for collaborations like prize donations and event leadership. Bike shops are eager to become known as the go-to location for local cyclists, especially new cyclists, and are often willing to be creative partners in bike-related TDM programming.

Here’s a great success story from the People for Bikes post:

Ginny Politz owns Bikesport in Trappe, Pennsylvania. When the Greater Valley Forge TMA approached her seeking prizes to distribute to local winners of the National Bike Challenge, Politz’s enthusiasm was instant. “I said ‘Yes, and why don’t we host a wine and cheese event to kick off the competition?'”

Bikesport’s early buy-in has paid off. “We are the only bike shop member, so they send everything our way. If they have a corporation contact them and say ‘we’d like to do a Lunch and Learn bike program,’ I get an email introducing me as the solution.”

Read more at the People for Bikes blog …

Improve Organizational Resilience with Smarter Commuting

What is organizational resilience?

Organizational resilience is a critical concept for businesses, especially mid-size to large companies with sizable workforces. It is defined as an organization’s ability to continue functioning at a high level in the face of sudden, unexpected disruptions and gradual changes. Strategic planning experts emphasize the importance of organizational resilience as a critical component of a sound business continuity plan.

While organizational resilience planning can cover dramatic, high-profile disruptive events like natural disasters, extreme weather, terrorist attacks, and military assaults, its everyday applications are far more mundane. Businesses seek to address common problems like severe traffic congestion, unexpected interruptions to public transit service, accidents, and road closures.

Such occurrences tend to have a shorter-term but still financially significant impact on a company’s operations. As such, businesses seek to improve their resilience to insulate themselves from the financial losses caused by disruptions. Sound organizational resilience plans feature four central components:

  • Anticipation. Strategic planners assess the various short-term, medium-term, and long-term possibilities when considering the different scenarios that could cause enough disruption to negatively impact business activities.
  • Preparation. Companies form and implement contingency plans that address each of the major potential problems identified in the previous step. They also make sure that all management-level staff knows about these contingency plans and can access them on short notice.
  • Response. This aspect of the strategy defines the decisive action the company takes to execute its contingency plans. Response elements focus on restoring the organization to acceptable levels of output and productivity as quickly as possible.
  • Adaptation. If the disruptive event forces sustained or permanent changes to organizational operation, adaptation plans anticipate the new future landscape while addressing shortcomings with the added benefits of experience and hindsight.

Smart commuting tools improve organizational resilience by preparing you for the unexpected.

One important way to improve organizational resilience is to arm commuters with tools that help them overcome disruptions like inclement weather, transit strikes and service interruptions, construction, and temporary road closures. Common scenarios include things like:

  • Problems with train tracks, signals, or other infrastructure that temporarily slows or disables light rail trains, subways, or buses
  • Heavy rain or snowfall that causes treacherous driving conditions
  • Lane or road closures on major thoroughfares during construction season

Here’s a look at a few specific commuter management strategies that support higher levels of organizational resilience:

  • Telecommuting. One of the best ways to overcome disruptions that prevent people from getting to work is to have them work from home instead! Telework commuter services keep employees productive no matter what the weather or local traffic conditions, all while delivering a more beneficial work-life balance that increases job satisfaction.
  • Encouraging carpooling. Creating a ridesharing culture in your company encourages people to be less dependent on solo driving. Companies with a high percentage of solo-drive commuters are more susceptible to the problems caused by sudden disruptions. Corporate carpool programs can help: they get people traveling in groups, helping them reach the work site in larger numbers during periods of disruption.
  • Vanpools. This effective solution is an excellent workaround for the so-called “last mile” dilemma. Operating a vanpool shuttle between your work site and a major local transit hub allows people to easily use public transportation as an alternative to driving. This can neutralize problems like road closures and severe congestion, giving commuters a point-to-point option that allows them to bypass road problems using subways or overground rail transit.

Giving commuters the ability to take such interruptions in stride and source alternative modes of transportation without missing a beat is critical, and it’s one of the key value propositions offered by the RideAmigos commuter management hub.

The RideAmigos platform has been adopted by numerous businesses and agencies around the world to help improve organizational resilience while reducing their carbon footprints. Get started today and empower your employees to respond to challenges with agility and efficiency.

How Commuting Impacts the Environment

Every commute made in a single-occupancy vehicle puts more pressure on the environment

Even though alternatives like telecommuting continue to gather momentum, a large majority of the world’s workforce still travels to and from a physical workplace, day in and day out. While governments are increasingly focused on improving transit infrastructure to reduce the number of trips made in single-occupancy vehicles, commuting by car remains entrenched as a preferred mode of travel in many cities. This creates a huge amount of stress on the environment, our natural resources, and on commuters themselves.

Individuals may think they can’t make a difference, but the numbers tell a different story. Here’s a run-down of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by commuting 10 miles (one way), five days per week for one year:

  • Small car (35 MPG fuel economy): 1.4 tons
  • Midsize car (20 MPG fuel economy): 2.6 tons
  • Full-size car/SUV (14 MPG fuel economy): 3.8 tons

According to statistics from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, 93% of commuters drive alone with an average commute trip length of 12 miles.  

Getting even a small percentage of those vehicles off the road by having commuters choose cleaner, smarter modes of transportation would have an immediate and highly beneficial effect on the environment.

Small-scale but widespread changes lead to major positive impacts

To quantify the positive impact that alternative commuting can make, here’s a look at the statistical flip-side of the coin:

  • If 5 percent of the New York City residents who solo commute by car or taxi switched to riding bikes, they would save 75,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. That’s roughly equivalent to planting 30 square miles of forest.
  • In the United States, about 50% of all elementary students are taken to school by car. If just 20% of those students walked or biked instead, the environment would be spared of about 356,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
  • A recent survey found that 89% of Americans believe that reducing energy consumption should be a primary focus of transportation development strategies.

Clearly, the support for a cleaner future is already part of the public consciousness. The power to make meaningful changes just needs to be brought to a wider base of commuters. That’s one of our primary goals here at RideAmigos. We want to help people enjoy their commutes and contribute to creating a better world. Join us in our mission to transform transportation, one commute at a time!

Transportation demand management strategies can make a difference

Implementing commuter programs at an organizational level can be a big help. Businesses, schools, government agencies, and universities all have a role to play in striving to reduce the number of inefficient solo driving trips to and from their facilities each day.

Here are some examples of organizational transportation demand management strategies you can use to encourage transportation sustainability:

  • Commuter programs for businesses and large government employers: Software-powered rideshare networks help commuters forge closer collegial ties, reduce stress, improve their work-life balance, boost their job satisfaction, and improve their productivity. Implementing them alongside support for active commuters, like secure bike parking areas and on-site shower facilities, can drive sustained behavior change.
  • The power of schoolpools: Elementary and secondary school communities can form schoolpools that work like employer-based rideshare networks. Parents can take turns driving kids and their friends, reducing the number of solo car trips to and from schools. A major side benefit: schoolpools improve safety by reducing the number of vehicles converging around schools at peak times of day.
  • Get smart about university transportation: University rideshare networks offer similar safety improvements and go a long way toward reducing parking demand on campus. Another idea we like: bundle public transportation passes into each semester or school year’s optional fee schedule. Students will make better use of transit options if they don’t have to pay out of pocket to access your local network.

The cities of tomorrow are already being engineered to support more sustainable transportation alternatives. You can make the smart city commuter program model part of your organizational philosophy by becoming an early adopter, and RideAmigos can help.

Benefit from the TDM industry’s leading software platform

Our powerful commuter management software platform was designed to make alternative modes of transportation more accessible to a larger number of people. One of the best ways to find the right solutions for your organization is to take advantage of software-based survey and data analysis tools. The RideAmigos platform offers a long list of ways to generate meaningful, actionable insights that help you design intelligent and effective commuter programs.

A long and growing list of businesses and organizations have used RideAmigos to great success. Help reduce the commuting impact of your community by discovering the transformative capabilities of RideAmigos. 

Contact us today to learn more!

What are Vanpools?

Vanpools are quickly emerging as a popular form of smarter commuting.

The vanpooling phenomenon is continuing to gain momentum, especially in major cities with a dense concentration of commuters. As a solution to helping people skip the solo drive, vanpools are a relatively new entry in the smart commuting lexicon. Therefore, people often have questions about what they are and how they work. We’re here to help!

Vanpool essentials:

  • Vanpools are made up of a group of commuters traveling from one or more origination points to a shared destination.
  • Most vanpools include between about 7 and 15 people.
  • Vanpools typically have one or two pickup locations, which frequently include designated transit stations or park-and-ride commuter lots.
  • At the end of the work day, vanpools provide return transportation to the original pickup location(s). From there, commuters can then make their way home.

Vanpools can be used just about anywhere, but they tend to be most effective in areas where long-distance commutes are common and public transit options are limited. They’re also an excellent option for companies located in remote or outlying areas that are only accessible by privately operated vehicles. Providing vanpool service to and from such locations helps these businesses attract and retain employees while making the daily commute easier and more manageable for employees.

Commuters and employers enjoy many benefits by using vanpools:

  • Cost savings and reduced wear and tear on privately owned vehicles.
  • Reduced commuting time.
  • The ability to talk, eat, read, work, or rest during the journey.
  • Reduced on-site parking requirements and associated cost savings.
  • Improved employee job satisfaction and productivity.

Use dynamic new technologies to make the best use of local smart commuting resources.

Employers typically administer vanpools themselves or contract with a service provider. Some have a high level of involvement, actively promoting vanpooling as a preferred commuting option. Meanwhile, others simply offer them as an alternative to interested employees. Regardless of how involved a given employer is in a particular vanpooling program, commuter management software like RideAmigos can provide convenient, effective, and easy-to-use management capabilities.

The RideAmigos transportation demand management platform offers extensive support for enterprises that offer vanpooling Vanpool support works seamlessly alongside many other features that are helping transform the way we access and use urban transportation. You can use our platform to create a new vanpool group, connect riders, track usage and stats, plan routes, and much more.

Contact us today to get started, or sign up to view our free video demo.

Photo Credit: UCLA Transportation

Introducing Recipes for Success

As part of our never-ending quest to provide the best customer service and support in the industry, we’re excited to announce the latest feature of the RideAmigos Academy: Recipes!

Our customers have been asking for easy-to-follow recipes for success for implementing new transportation demand management (TDM) projects and programs. We’re happy to oblige. Visit the TDM recipes page at the Academy for a taste of the kind of support we offer our clients.

We’re launching with a few examples of how to create and run successful TDM programs to help transform the way people commute:

  • Financial Incentives for Smarter Commuting
  • How to Set Up a Carpool Month Initiative
  • Preferential Parking for Carpools and Vanpools

In the coming weeks we’ll be adding many more examples of proven techniques for impacting transportation usage.

Recipes are an excellent example of how RideAmigos encourages our customers to contribute, collaborate, and create community. We know we’re not the only experts in the room – the organizations that use our TDM software platform  have extensive experience and we’re eager to provide venues to work together toward our shared goal of transforming transportation. RideAmigos users aren’t competitors, but colleagues in creating meaningful and impactful change.

If your organization is considering starting a transportation management program to improve the commuting experience of your employees; reduce traffic, parking, and environmental impact; or stand out from the crowd with cutting-edge benefits, RideAmigos provides the most comprehensive toolkit and all the support you need to succeed.

We’ll occasionally feature some of our recipes here on our blog, so stay tuned. Or, if you’re already a RideAmigos customer, be sure you’re signed up for our Academy newsletter where you’ll receive all the latest updates about new features, seminars, recipes, and more.

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What are Scope 3 Indirect Emissions?

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol defines three classes of emissions

Learn more about Scope 3 indirect emissions …

The GHG Protocol is a widely used international standard for classifying greenhouse gas emissions. It defines emissions in three categories, known as Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3.

Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions come from owned or purchased assets that are directly involved in an organization’s operations. Scope 1 emissions cover direct greenhouse gas emissions emerging from owned sources such as company vehicles, combustion appliances or equipment, and fugitive emissions, which are emissions caused by leaks, malfunctions, and other irregular or accidental circumstances.

Scope 2 emissions differ from the Scope 1 classification in that they are indirect rather than direct, but still come from owned, purchased, or rented assets. Utilities such as electricity and heat are common examples of Scope 2 pollutants.

Scope 3 indirect emissions cover all non-direct sources that come from peripheral activities related to the organization. These include emissions resulting from goods and services delivered through an outside provider, as well as waste disposal, investments, product distribution, franchises, and leased assets. However, one of the most prominent sources of Scope 3 indirect emissions is commuting and employee travel.

While there are many strategies that can cut down on the GHG emissions caused by commuting and employee travel, a majority of people still rely on single-occupancy vehicles to get to and from work. Encouraging commuters to switch to greener, smarter, and more efficient transportation modes is an excellent way for businesses and organizations to reduce their carbon footprints.

RideAmigos helps businesses and organizations achieve meaningful reductions in their Scope 3 indirect emissions

RideAmigos has developed an innovative, comprehensive transportation demand management (TDM) software platform replete with features that help businesses encourage commuters to shift their behaviors away from single occupancy vehicles. We can help your organization adopt and implement a wide range of proven strategies that improve access to smart alternatives with tools like ridematching, vanpool management, public transit integration, and both active and passive commute tracking.

The RideAmigos software platform also contains comprehensive tools for publicizing and managing incentive programs, such as commuter challenges and gamification. We’ve helped organizations around the world, in both the public and private sectors, drive positive behavior change among their commuters. We can help yours, too.

Get started with RideAmigos to arrange a consultation, discover helpful commuter tips, or get a free analysis or your existing commuter programs.

More information about the GHG Protocol Scope 3 Standard.