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Encouraging Employees to Use Transit

Even though trends are changing, we still live in a car-centric culture. That means a lot of people are still choosing solo driving even when convenient and cost-effective alternatives are available. For example, encouraging employee transit use delivers many benefits.

First, studies show that commuters who choose modes other than solo driving tend to have higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction. Experts surmise this is because they spend less time stressed out behind the wheel of a car in congested traffic. Using transit also helps commuters save money on gas and vehicle maintenance costs, all while reducing parking demand and benefiting the environment.

Here are some easy and proven ways to encourage employee transit use:

  • Provide subsidized or free transit passes to employees. This is one of the most direct and effective ways to get people off the solo driving habit and into buses, trains, and subways.
  • Play up any available tax benefits of alternative commuting, which can help employees and businesses alike. By taking advantage of a monthly tax-deductible allowance for alternative commuting expenses employees can cut their tax burdens by hundreds of dollars a year, all while helping businesses reduce their payroll tax obligations.
  • Create last-mile vanpool programs that provide easy point-to-point access between your business and local transit hubs. One of the main reasons commuters avoid transit is because destination stations are too far from the workplace. Vanpools solve that problem, easily and efficiently.
  • Offer first-mile connections using ride-hailing services like Lyft or Uber. By providing free or subsidized passes for employees to use between their home and transit hubs you can knock down one more barrier to smarter commuting.
  • Offer a guaranteed ride home program to ensure employees that they have a fast, efficient ride home in their back pocket in the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstance.

Chances are you’ll experience the best results if you combine several of these strategies, or use all of them. Watch your employees’ reliance on solo driving diminish, and enjoy the benefits of a happier, less stressed, and more productive workforce.

Managing multi-layered commuter programs using strategies like these can start to seem complicated in a hurry, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Even complex programs are easy to implement using the tools available through a commuter management platform like RideAmigos. Want to learn more about how RideAmigos can help you use these ideas to increase employee transit use and decrease solo driving? Get started today!

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Smart Commuter Management

Happy New Year! There’s no better time to create goals that will have a beneficial impact on your organization and the community at large than at the start of another trip around the sun. Here are five great ways you can make smart commuter management a priority in 2017.

#1: Collect More Information

The essential first step in generating behavior change is understanding the commuting habits of your organization’s members. Specifically, there are four key things you need to know:

  • What are the primary mode(s) of transportation currently in use among members?
  • How aware are members of the transportation benefits you currently offer?
  • What is the single most important consideration for members when choosing a way to get to work? Time? Cost? Something else?
  • What benefits or incentives would get members to try out an alternative mode of commuting?

Finding answers to these questions through commuter surveys will help you create a transportation program that’s got a much better chance of success.

#2: Experiment with Incentives

Providing incentives for leaving single-occupancy vehicles behind is a proven way to vastly increase program participation rates. Incentive programs come in many forms, with popular options including:

  • Pre-tax reimbursements for employees who use qualified modes of transportation
  • Preferred or lower-cost parking for carpool drivers
  • Parking cash-out programs that offer monthly payments to employees who give up their parking spots
  • Friendly individual- or team-oriented in-house competitions, with prizes for the winners who log the most miles or make the most trips using qualified modes of travel

Plan some experiments to try during 2017 and see which strategies best engage your commuters!

#3: Promote Transit as an Alternative to Solo Driving

Public transit is a great way for employees to save money, reduce congestion and pollution, and reduce wear and tear on their vehicles. Try offering partially or fully subsidized local transit passes and watch ridership soar.

#4: Participate in Bike to Work Week

Every spring, Bike to Work Week becomes a national initiative that helps get people moving and encourages greater numbers of commuters to make a permanent switch. Join in a Bike to Work Week being planned for your city or region, or if there’s not one in the works – help make it happen!

#5: Adopt a Comprehensive Commuter Management Tool

Commuters and administrators alike can benefit from a comprehensive platform like RideAmigos. Easily implement advanced carpool matching, distribute surveys, create networks and challenges, launch incentive programs, track results, and much more!

Learn More About Commuter Management Platforms

Create Incentives for Carpooling to the Big Game

With football season in full swing, fans are descending on stadiums by the thousands and transportation managers across the country are trying to figure out where on Earth to park all the cars. One less obvious but extremely effective solution is to reduce the number of cars that need to be parked in the first place. (Without reducing the number of fans at the game!)

The key is to offer incentives to fans who carpool or leave their vehicles at a park-and-ride transit lot. Beyond freeing up parking space and easing traffic congestion around the stadium, you’ll also be making more room for tailgating. In addition, you’ll promote public safety by reducing the chances of an intoxicated driver getting behind the wheel after the game.

Here’s a blueprint for running a smart-transportation incentive program for your next game:

  1. Choose prizes. You’re more likely to connect with your audience if you offer a prize related to the event they’re attending. So, for a football game, try game jerseys, team memorabilia, or free tickets to an upcoming game.
  2. Promote the program. Advertising is essential to the success of your program. Can you get the PA announcer to let fans know about the promotion in advance of the next game? Can you flash your message on the scoreboard? Plaster parking areas with posters, and use social media to get the word out.
  3. Track participation. Use on-site or online tools (like RideAmigos!) to figure out who is participating and who is eligible to win prizes.
  4. Enjoy the game!
  5. Follow up. Allow users to log trips after game day to encourage higher participation rates. Just make sure your cut-off date for prize eligibility is clear.
  6. Draw for winners. To select winners from your pool of qualified entrants, random draws are a great way to go. Especially if you’re offering an impressive grand prize. Inform the lucky winning participants and publicize stats showing how many car trips your promotion saved.

The RideAmigos software platform is the ideal tool for creating and managing transportation incentive programs, logging trips, and promoting event ridesharing initiatives. Whether you’re managing traffic on game day or looking after a company of commuters, RideAmigos delivers the power to transform the way people use transportation.

Visit our Academy to see how easy it is to incentivize events using RideAmigos

Rideshare and Transit Integration

Rideshare and transit integration solves problems associated with single-occupancy vehicle commuting

The negative impacts of commuting in a single-occupancy vehicle extend beyond the environment. Sitting in traffic creates what’s known as an “opportunity cost.” People can’t engage in productive activities when they’re inching their vehicle along a street or freeway.

As such, stakeholders in enterprise-oriented commuter management programs have strong incentives to promote alternatives like rideshare and transit integration. Research shows that such programs support improved productivity as well as increased commuter happiness and overall life satisfaction.
To help give your commuter program a kick-start, here are a few ways you can integrate ridesharing, public transit, and other alternatives into your company’s commuter management plan:

  • Create a multimodal commuting challenge. Build excitement and increase commuter participation by incentivizing your commuting program with a challenge that includes ridesharing, transit, and other smart commute options. Log trips, track miles, and offer prizes to the individuals or teams who lead the pack.
  • Provide smart transportation from origin and destination transit stations. In addition to running vanpool shuttle services between your company and local mass transit stations, you can also provide geo-fenced, prepaid access to services like Lyft and Uber. Offer last-mile connections between destination transit stations and the office, and encourage commuters to carpool for travel from their homes to origin stations.
  • Offer free transit credits to carpoolers. This approach does double duty: it incentivizes ridesharing while encouraging employees to make better use of available public transit options. Create a points program where commuters who carpool a certain number of days per month are eligible for free or subsidized public transit access. 
  • Build a “buddy system.” Facilitate carpooling by matching employees who live close to one another as “commute buddies.” Sometimes, especially in larger companies, people simply aren’t aware that they have co-workers in close proximity who are willing to share rides (and costs). Matching can also be schedule-based, making it easier for people who arrive and depart from work at the same time to buddy up.
  • Set up reduced-rate and preferred parking systems for carpoolers. Offer reduced-rate or free parking to vehicles used in carpools, or give carpoolers privileged access to preferred parking spots or lots.

Remember: ridesharing/carpooling and public transit programs work well together. Integrating them, rather than approaching each program as standalone entities, will help drum up higher participation rates in your smart commuting initiatives.

A cutting-edge commuter management platform like the RideAmigos software suite is ideal for creating and administering effective programs that have a positive impact on your business, and in your community. To learn more about our industry-leading software, please contact us or view our free video demonstration.

Using Pokémon Go to promote smart commuting

The Pokémon Go craze is sweeping the country like a tidal wave! This addictive game has already generated a massive following of die-hard players since its recent release. With ongoing international debuts, its popularity isn’t expected to slow.

How can those of us with an interest in encouraging smarter commuting use this huge trend as a way to lure more people to skip the solo drive?

Transit

Several municipalities are actively promoting Pokémon Go as part of their local public transit networks. L.A.’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has launched a Twitter account instructing players on the places they can go to catch Pokémon within their system. Other transit marketers and managers can follow their lead and promote playing while riding as a great way to “catch ‘em all” while also catching a ride to work.

Bike

Playing Pokémon Go while driving is never a good idea. Playing while biking can be promoted as a safer and healthier alternative. Using a smartphone securely mounted on a bike’s handlebars, a cyclist can see when Pokémon, PokéStops, or gyms are near. Riders can then easily detour off the street or bike path and out of harm’s way while they capture, battle, or train. Encouraging commuters to play Pokémon Go by bike might even inspire them to take the long way home, leading to more fun, more health benefits, and a higher likelihood they’ll bike to work in the future!

Rideshare

One of the best ways to promote smart commuting to players of Pokémon Go is through rideshare programs. Employees and neighbors can form a group with fellow Pokémon trainers, taking turns driving so everyone has a chance to play. They’ll have fun enjoying the wildly popular game, enhancing social and professional connections, and cutting down on traffic congestion.

If your business or organization is looking for tools to promote smarter, environmentally friendly commuting alternatives, our RideAmigos software platform offers a complete range of solutions. From public transit and biking to ridesharing and vanpooling, the RideAmigos platform delivers. Not only that, but we can even incorporate special Pokémon-related incentives or marketing!  To learn more, just contact us or sign up to check out our free, comprehensive demo video.

Transit Shutdown

Transit shutdowns in metro areas can wreak havoc on commuters. How would you deal with it?

The subway system in Washington, DC recently went through an emergency one-day shutdown as the result of electrical problems. In deciding to implement the service interruption, Washington Metro’s general manager said that crew members had identified 26 locations throughout the subway system where electrical cables and electrical boots had been damaged, necessitating immediate repair. The ensuing transit shutdown lasted an entire day, creating a nightmare for the tens of thousands of people who rely on the city’s public transportation system to get around.

While such measures are occasionally necessary to protect passenger safety, they also pose major problems. Many people don’t have a viable alternative to public transportation. In many cases that’s because they simply aren’t aware of the available options. Ride-sharing programs, carpools, vanpools and cycling routes are among the choices available every day to Washington, DC residents, but a lot of people don’t know how to access them or get the information they need to take advantage of them.

This is a clear example of a situation where the RideAmigos platform could literally have saved the day for thousands of stranded commuters.

The RideAmigos platform is the perfect solution for urban travelers who need to find alternatives to their usual ways of getting around.

Our innovative platform is designed to connect people to a complete network of local transportation options, including everything from conventional offerings like public transit and walking or cycling to new developments such as ride-sharing and vanpooling. With a multimodal trip planner, users can plot their courses from A to B in seconds, using their choice of all available modes of transportation. The entire subway is going to be shut down for a day? No problem! Simply use the RideAmigos platform to find a better way to get around without the need for single-passenger vehicles.

The RideAmigos platform has been adopted by municipalities and governments across the United States and around the world, with clients raving about the positive changes it’s brought to their communities and organizations. Experts have noted that in the future, it won’t be modes of transportation that change, but rather the way people access and use those modes of transportation. Our goal is to enact that change and all the benefits that come with it, including stronger communities, reduced congestion, and less pollution.

To learn more, view this comprehensive demo that shows how our unique platform works.