RideAmigos Awarded US Department of Transportation Funding for its Blockchain-Based Commuter Incentive System

The project is one of only 12 to receive the agency’s coveted Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards in 2022.

SANTA MONICA, August 2, 2022 Commute management technology leader RideAmigos received Phase I funding by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for research and development of a novel incentivization system designed to optimize utilization of transit and other transportation infrastructure.

The SBIR Program, managed by USDOT’s innovation-focused Volpe Center, incentivizes small businesses to pursue innovative research and development work that has the potential for broad commercialization and adoption. According to the USDOT, the highly selective program funds projects that “address advanced innovative concepts from [small businesses] with strong capabilities in applied science or engineering.” Funding awards are made in two phases, with the possibility of a third phase leading to commercialization and special federal procurement status.

“We are honored to receive the support of the USDOT for this moonshot project that we believe has the potential to change the way the public and private sectors work together to transform commuter transportation for a sustainable future,” RideAmigos CEO Soren Eilertsen said. “It is encouraging to see the USDOT pursuing this kind of research and development in its work to advance a more equitable, accessible, and inclusive transportation system.”

The project will complement Pave Commute, RideAmigos’ personal commute app for employees that uses sophisticated algorithms to recommend the best commute option based on individual needs and preferences, match commuters doing similar things, and reward them for making sustainable choices. The design combines an intuitive user experience with proven principles of behavioral science — including findings from cutting edge studies with researchers from Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight — as well as social elements, gamification, and advanced multimodal routing technology.

Among the goals of the blockchain project are the development of an innovative system for collecting mobility data and establishment of a market for public and private stakeholders to invest in managing demand for existing transportation infrastructure. This will enable players in the mobility supply chain — employers, local governments, transit agencies, and micromobility providers — to reward commuters, based on reliable data, for transportation choices that reduce congestion, emissions, and parking costs. Furthermore, insights from this data can also guide planning efforts to optimize new development and service decisions.

“With Pave Commute, we can meet every commuter where they are, and empower them to adopt new, more sustainable options. Organizations can increase the impact of the program by providing incentives, which the app distributes automatically to optimize use of available infrastructure,” said Corey Tucker, RideAmigos Director of Innovation and lead of the SBIR-funded project. “By leveraging blockchain technology to establish a secure, decentralized market, we can enable the full range of public and private stakeholders – including mobility providers and planning organizations – to participate.”

This year, other projects to receive SBIR Phase I funding from the agency focus on artificial intelligence, intelligent road systems, material safety, equity, and climate change.

The Pave Commute app is available to download in the Apple App Store and Google Play store and requires an employer subscription to sign up. Interested organizations can learn more at pavecommute.app.

About RideAmigos:

RideAmigos is a technology company on a mission to change the way the world commutes, for good. Our mobile and web-based commuter engagement solutions combine innovative technology with proven principles of behavioral science to empower everyone to make smarter transportation choices. Large employers, universities and government agencies use our products to reduce congestion, parking demand, and environmental impact while creating healthier, happier communities. We have helped our clients take tens of millions of cars off the road and reduce our collective CO2 footprint by over 280 million pounds. (http://www.rideamigos.com)

Why #ACT2022 Might be the Best ACT International Conference Yet! 

   

Whether you’re packing for Chicago or not, here’s a pre-event cheat sheet for what’s happening next week. 

At RideAmigos, we have always been fans of virtual events because they are accessible for everyone and can have much less negative environmental impact. It bears mentioning that the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) put on some really high-quality virtual events over the last two years, and is taking steps to offset carbon emissions for this year’s in-person gatherings. Having said all that… we are SO EXCITED to see so many TDM leaders in person again! 

With four days of content and networking, including some really valuable pre-conference sessions, our delegation will be splitting up to see as much as we can and taking notes to share with colleagues around the world when we get home.  

Keynotes

ACT always pulls together an excellent lineup of speakers and this year is no exception. On Monday, the opening plenary session will feature a keynote presentation by Ryan McCarty of Culture of Good that is sure to remind us all of the purpose behind the important work of the TDM community. We’ll be listening in for inspiration and for Ryan’s practical insights into leading a movement of change before we dive into the rest of the conference programming.  

In Tuesday’s plenary session, we are pleased to be sponsoring a discussion of the future of TDM in Chicagoland, featuring four amazing transportation leaders. The panel, moderated by Matthew Meservy, Director of Long Range Planning Division, at the TennesseeDepartment of Transportation, includes Erin Aleman of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Gia Biagi of the City of Chicago’s Department of Transportation (CDOT), Jesse Elam of Cook County’s Department of Transportation and Highways, and Roberto Requejo of Elevated Chicago, an organization working at the intersection of racial equity, health, climate, and art and culture to promote frameworks for equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD) in Chicago. Chicago has always been a planner’s city, and this keynote session is sure to highlight some ambitious and forward-looking approaches to TDM for the next several decades. 

Sessions

If you’re looking at the program on the conference website or in the Whova app, and wishing you could clone yourself to attend two sessions at once, we see you! There is way too much great content to mention in this post, but we polled our team to learn what they’re most excited about. 

Pre-conference workshops

This year, ACT lined up some really valuable pre-conference workshops that come with TDM-CP credit. Whether you’ve already aced your TDM-CP exam, or are just starting out in the field, these workshops before the main event are going to be well worth the additional fee. 

  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 101 and Understanding Implicit Bias (Sunday at 9:00am). This half-day workshop featuring David Sorrell, TDM-CP of University of California Berkeley, Kiki Dohman of Salem Area Mass Transit District, and Catherine Popowits of Diversity Training  & Consulting, Inc. will help participants gain awareness of the unconscious bias and misunderstanding that can impede our ability to have the equitable positive impact we intend with in our work. It will also focus on strategies to improve communication and inclusion for a diverse range of stakeholders. Work on this is never done, and we can’t think of a better way to reset your perspective ahead of the next three days of learning!
  • Shifting Traveler Behaviors with Motivational Interviewing (Sunday at 9:00am). Another excellent pre-conference workshop going on at the same time is focused on motivational interviewing strategies and their applications for TDM. Anton Cox of Capital Area Council of Governments and Kate Harrington of Movability Austin will discuss the technique and the science behind it. The team at Movability Austin has long been teaching and using these skills as part of their outreach, and these two Austin-area TDM leaders will help participants learn to use them too.

If you’re just getting to town on Sunday morning, you can still catch an expert-led workshop on grant writing or a session to prepare emerging leaders for larger roles in ACT chapter and council leadership; both in the afternoon.

Conference Sessions

The main course of TDM content really gets started after the opening plenary on Monday. If you’re attending with a group, do what we did and make a shared list of all the sessions your team wants to attend, and put names by each one to ensure it’s all covered. After an event like this, we always debrief with the whole team and have each attendee share important takeaways so everyone can benefit. 

Here are a few sessions on our must-see list: 

  • How TMAs Generate Value-add with Non-Traditional Groups (Monday at 1:30pm). Chris Bongorno, Allison Simmons, Michelle Reynolds, and Julia Wean are experts who lead and consult with TMAs around the country. In this unique session, they’ll discuss how TMAs they work with are developing partnerships and programs to serve hard-to-reach populations and address non-traditional TDM needs and add value for their communities.
  • Shaping ACT’s Policy Platform for the Future of TDM (Monday at 1:30pm). We’re looking forward to this presentation of ACT’s Public Policy Committee’s 2022 Policy Cornerstones. This is a pivotal time for investment in TDM and shared transportation and ACT has a key role to play. Presenters include Jessica Alba, TDM-CP, Stanford University’s Director of Policy & TDM, along with Rob Henry, TDM-CP of GVF, Andrew Glass Hastings of TransWest, and Dion Beuckman of Commute with Enterprise.
  • Employer-based TDM in a hybrid world (Monday at 3:15). Employers have powerful influence over employee commute choices, and research backs the idea that commuters that receive employer support are more likely to make sustainable transportation choices. Learn from leaders of the Denver region’s successful TDM programs how to launch a successful, employer-driven trip reduction program. Panelists include Nisha Mokshagundam and Kalie Fallon of the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), and Sheryl Machado and Evan Gatseos, from Denver South TMA.
  • TDM-CP Information Session (Monday at 3:15pm ) Have you thought about working toward a Transportation Demand Management Certified Professional (TDM-CP) certification? Heather Salem, Aaron Buckley, and Jamila Owens (who have all earned the letters) explain the certification, its potential benefits for your career, and the process candidates follow to prepare and take the exam.
  • The Secret to Moving Employees to Shared Transit (Tuesday at 10:30am). The commute has become even more complicated for employees returning to campus after a long stretch of working remotely. The panelists leading transportation programs of three large employers in the San Francisco Bay Area will discuss how their organizations are rising to the occasion to manage the commute experience, leverage public transportation options, and incentivize employees to get out of single occupancy vehicles. With each enterprise offering a broad range of programs, this session will focus on the ways they incorporate on-demand technology to improve access. Krista Glotzbach of Via will moderate a discussion with panelists, Danielle Glaser, Global Transportation Manager at LinkedIn, Mandy Basile, Senior Transportation Program Manager at Genentech, and Sabrina Ruiz, Regional Transportation Program Manager at Google. Global Transportation Program Manager
  • Water Transit Is Making Waves In TDM (Tuesday at 10:30am) A boat is the best way to get to some workplaces! Where bridges are also an option, they might be filling up with traffic again. In this session, panelists will show you how their commuter ferry services create additional ways for commuters to move efficiently. Are you missing an opportunity to make use of water transportation to your campus or community?  Panelists include Heather Salem, TDM-CP of Genentech in South San Francisco, Patrick Sullivan, TDM-CP of Seaport TMA in Boston, and Andrew Sargis of Chicago Water Taxi.
  • How to Establish and Implement a TDM Ordinance (Tuesday at 10:30am). Washington D.C. area TDM leaders Samantha Huff (Foursquare ITP), Mariana Budimir (District Department of Transportation), and Michael Watts (DOES/Office of Wage-Hour) share invaluable experience with establishing the DC Commuter Benefits Law and the DC Parking Cashout Law, also known as the Transportation Benefits Equity Amendment Act of 2020. The presentation will cover goal setting, implementation, outreach and marketing strategies, and how to effectively monitor compliance with reductions of single-occupant vehicle travel to employer sites.

Wrapping up

Before we see who takes home the ACT National Awards for 2022 on Wednesday morning, we’re excited to host almost 200 TDM leaders at the return of the RideAmigos Closing Night Party on Tuesday evening. This year (perhaps inspired by the theme of water transit?) we’ll be celebrating a successful conference on Chicago’s Emerald Lady. This event will be oversubscribed – at the time we’re writing this we already have a waitlist and we’re working with the cruise operator to increase capacity – so we hope to see everyone who signed up! 

For those of you heading to Chicago, travel safely! We would love to connect while we’re there – contact us to set up a time or find us in the expo (we’ll be at Booth 102).

Exploring Links Between Health and Wellness, Commuting, and the Employee Experience

The COVID-19 pandemic jolted the world into greater and more immediate awareness of issues related to physical and mental health and wellness. As the ongoing return to office continues, employers are paying increased attention to how commuting affects their team members’ health as well as their broader employee experience.

In 2022, Get There Oregon commissioned a survey of 225 senior human resources (HR) administrators working throughout the state. The survey results relayed some interesting findings with major implications for commuting and the employee experience:

  • 96% of respondents cited recruiting and retaining qualified employees as a top concern
  • 93% sought to improve employee morale and job satisfaction
  • 92% wanted to better protect employee health and wellness
  • 83% seek to make progress toward organizational sustainability goals

On the surface, these concerns might not appear related. However, upon digging more deeply into trends affecting the post-pandemic labor market, it becomes apparent that the issues are more interconnected than they might seem.

The Effects of a Difficult Commute on Employee Health and Wellness

Long and stressful commutes often exact a negative toll on both physical and mental health. The University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine explored the ways commuting affects physical health in a 2019 blog post. The post cited multiple issues:

  • Extended commutes to and from work often leave people without enough time to get adequate exercise
  • Studies have found that people with long commutes tend to get less sleep, and a lack of sleep is a contributing factor to many serious health problems
  • Long commutes expose people to greater concentrations of air pollutants, which can take a toll on their respiratory health
  • Commuting raises stress levels, especially for drivers, which can also contribute to a host of health problems including heart disease

The Keck School also noted that the demands of the daily grind often leave commuters feeling antisocial, potentially leading to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression. These observations speak to a well-established body of research noting links between arduous commutes, anxiety, and depression.

The relentless need to commute day in and day out can also lead to a cycle of dread directly related to the quotidian journey. According to experts, this can actually cause long-term cognitive changes that rewire the brain to generate negative responses and mood changes.

Notably, researchers report that active commuting has strong positive effects on both the physical and mental health of commuters. Cycling and walking may not be an option for every commuter. However, transportation demand management (TDM) experts stress the importance of improved employer support for active commuting, given the many associated wellness benefits.

How Commuting Can Impact Employee Morale and Job Satisfaction

Unsurprisingly, the long-term mental toll of commuting taints the employee experience by lowering morale and reducing job satisfaction. Eye-opening research from the United Kingdom found that adding 20 extra minutes of travel time onto a commuter’s work day had the same impact on their job satisfaction as a 19% reduction in pay. The study included more than 26,000 workforce members over a five-year period.

As with physical health, travel modes directly impact employee morale and productivity. Improvements are associated with active commuting and shared modes of transportation such as carpooling, while negative impacts on morale and productivity are primarily linked with solo driving.

A Better Employee Experience Leads to Greater Talent Recruitment and Retention Success

The concept of the employee experience took on added urgency as millions of U.S. workers quit their jobs in 2021 and 2022. This so-called Big Quit or Great Resignation put a spotlight on shortcomings employers need to address to improve their talent recruitment and retention efforts in the most challenging labor market in recent memory.

In 2022, leading online career portal Indeed published a deep dive into what job-seekers are looking for in an employee experience. Key findings include:

  • Job candidates expect more from their employers and are less likely to settle for the pre-pandemic status quo
  • Enhanced support for hybrid and offsite work is emerging as an inflexible expectation for job-seekers
  • Employees want more flexible schedules that promote a better work-life balance

Commuting factors into these dynamics in multiple ways. Employers can no longer realistically expect employees to “suck it up” and deal with a long or difficult commute: workers are opting out of those arrangements at unprecedented rates.

Instead, TDM experts suggest that businesses think about remote work as akin to an alternative form of transportation. This type of policy shift prompts employers to integrate telecommuting into their commuter programs more effectively, creating a superior employee experience with direct positive impacts on recruitment and retention.

Commuter Programs that Support Wellness and Improve Morale Also Boost Sustainability

Remote work is not the only option when it comes to improving the employee experience. Ridesharing is linked with lower stress and improved productivity, while researchers established links between choosing public transportation as a commuting option and better health a long time ago.

Modes like ridesharing, public transportation, and active commuting do more than support health, wellness, and productivity. They also help organizations make meaningful progress toward their sustainability goals, which was a major priority for 83% of Get There Oregon’s 2022 survey respondents.

Tying It All Together: How RideAmigos Can Help Partners Build Better Employee Experiences

Talent recruitment and retention, employee morale, job satisfaction, and sustainability are not issues that exist in vacuums. They all form an integral part of the kind of positive employee experience job-seekers want from the post-pandemic return to office. Given the ongoing struggles of many employers to fill critical vacancies, companies that make decisive, forward-thinking moves in these directions have the potential to realize significant competitive advantages in the post-pandemic economic landscape.

At RideAmigos, we have been working with leading employers and public-facing commuter programs for over a decade to make commuting easier and more environmentally sustainable. Whether you are just getting started with commute management or already have robust TDM and commuter benefits programs, we have solutions to empower your organization. Talk to our commute experts now.

Get There Oregon 2022 Survey: Key Takeaways for Commuter Programs and the Employee Experience

The employee experience has emerged as a critical topic of focus among enterprises in recent months. Over the course of 2021 and into 2022, U.S. workers voluntarily left their jobs at never-before-seen rates. The phenomenon, dubbed the Big Quit or the Great Resignation, triggered alarm bells in boardrooms across the country. Executives and human resource professionals began digging into the reasons for the trend, with many finding their own shortcomings as employers a key driver of the exodus. It will come as no surprise to those in the transportation demand management (TDM) industry that subsequent discussions surrounding strategies for improving employee job satisfaction and retention rates came to include commuter programs.

A widely cited 2018 survey found that 23% of U.S. workers had quit a job at least once because of a difficult or stressful commute. Daily commuting woes are a common experience for members of the workforce, something the COVID-19 pandemic only intensified. As COVID-19 spread, commuting moved past being an inconvenient hassle to a potential health risk.

Surveys aiming to take the proverbial temperature of post-pandemic U.S. commuters have yielded interesting results from a TDM perspective. One such effort, carried out on behalf of the rideshare organization Get There Oregon in 2022, queried more than 200 human resources professionals around the state about their priorities and their perception of trends affecting the workforce. The collected data put a bright spotlight on important role commuter programs stand to play in an age of heightened awareness of the importance and value of the employee experience.

Key Findings of the Get There Oregon 2022 Commuter Survey

Solving Recruitment and Employee Retention Problems Is a Top Priority for Businesses

While U.S. workers walking out of their jobs in mass numbers was one of the most consequential business stories of 2021, there’s more to the Big Quit than resignations. Companies have also struggled to recruit new employees to replace those who have left their jobs, creating a unique situation with no easy answers.

Employee Priorities Are Changing

Companies used to address recruitment and retention challenges mainly by throwing money at their problems. However, employee priorities are shifting in new directions in the post-pandemic landscape. For many workers, the employee experience has emerged as a more powerful motivator than money. Get There Oregon’s 2022 survey data reveals that companies have responded by placing more emphasis than ever on job satisfaction, mood and morale, and employee health and wellness.

Employees Want Effective Commuter Programs

Businesses seeking to improve the employee experience can focus on two areas identified by survey respondents as ranking among employees’ top concerns. Get There Oregon’s 2022 polling found that employees want effective relief from their daily commute-related struggles. In a related finding, researchers also found that people teams expect businesses to provide ongoing opportunities to split time between on-site and offsite work.

Long-Term Remote Work Seems Likely

Get There Oregon reports that 81% of polled HR representatives expected their organizations to allow team members to work remotely some or all of the time on a long-term or permanent basis. This could signal a generational shift in the commuting landscape.

Allowing Remote Work Could Ease Recruitment Troubles

In addition to adjusting their recruitment and retention efforts for the post-pandemic landscape, Get There Oregon’s 2022 survey also found that allowing remote work on a long-term basis stands to benefit their people teams in many other ways. A majority of the HR professionals who participated in the survey said that hybrid and remote work generally offers employees a better work-life balance. This, in turn, improves their job satisfaction and makes it more likely that they will make a long-term commitment to the employer.

What Does the Get There Oregon 2022 Survey Reveal About Commuter Programs?

Get There Oregon’s 2022 survey has profound implications for commuter programs. It demonstrates how businesses that make meaningful investments in an improved employee experience stand to navigate ongoing recruitment and retention challenges with greater ease, and at a lesser cost. The survey also reveals the crucial importance of making support for hybrid and offsite work a central focus of modified post-pandemic commuter programs.

At the same time, businesses should still focus on providing meaningful commuter supports to their on-site team members. There are many ways companies can make life easier for their commuters, and [[RIDEAMIGOS/PAVE COMMUTE]] assists clients by providing advanced analytical insights and high-performing technology tools.

Turbocharge Your Post-Pandemic Commuter Programs with [RideAmigos/Pave Commute]

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RideAmigos Named Finalist for Workplace in Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards

Santa Monica-based RideAmigos was a finalist for its World Changing Ideas for the Workplace and received honorable mentions from Fast Company in AI, Apps, and Corporate Social Responsibility categories for apps that leverage behavioral science to help everyone find a better commute. 

SANTA MONICA, May 10, 2022 RideAmigos announced that its Commute Hub platform has been recognized by Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards as a finalist in the Workplace category. Winners and finalists were revealed this month, honoring clean technology, innovative corporate initiatives, new designs for cities and buildings, and other creative works that support the growth of positive social innovation, tackling social inequality, climate change, and public health crises.

Commute Hub is a professional transportation demand management (TDM) platform with an experience tailored to the workplace. It enables employers like LinkedIn, Patagonia, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the State of Arizona to optimize the employee commute experience with diverse parking, transportation and incentive programs across large campuses or multiple worksites. 

In 2021, employers used RideAmigos’ Commute Hub to administer over a million dollars in incentives and parking cash-outs, issue thousands of parking permits, and avoid 2.5 million drive alone trips.

Now in its sixth year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase some of the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs and companies tackling global challenges. A panel of eminent Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners and finalists from among more than 2,997 entries across dozens of industries. The workplace category is new in 2022 and honors projects that improve our lives in the office, increase employees’ rights, or make work safer, smarter, or more meaningful.

Commute Hub  also earned honorable mention in the Corporate Social Responsibility category. 

The honor for Commute Hub comes at a time when many employers are prioritizing programs to support commuters and complement hybrid work arrangements and other new realities that are emerging from the pandemic and an evolving talent market. 

“The enterprise has a renewed and larger role in the employee commute,” said Soren Eilertsen, CEO of RideAmigos. “We partner with our customers to navigate this paradigm shift and work to empower everyone to evolve the consciousness around everyday mobility choices.”

 “We are consistently inspired by the novelty and creativity that people are applying to solve some of our society’s most pressing problems, from shelter to the climate crisis. Fast Company relishes its role in amplifying important, innovative work to address big challenges,” said David Lidsky, interim editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Our journalists have identified some of the most ingenious initiatives to launch since the start of 2021, which we hope will both have a meaningful impact and lead others to join in being part of the solution.”

RideAmigos personalized commute app, Pave Commute, launched in 2021, also earned honorable mention in three categories. Pave Commute is a fully automated, science-based commute management app for employees that provides personalized recommendations, groups users with others who can share trips, and rewards them for making smart choices. Fast Company recognized Pave Commute in the AI & Data, Apps, and Corporate Social Responsibility categories.

RideAmigos is featured in Fast Company’s Summer 2022 issue released May 10, 2022 and at fastcompany.com. 

About RideAmigos: At RideAmigos, we are on a mission to change the way the world commutes, for good. Our mobile and web-based commuter engagement solutions combine innovative technology with proven principles of behavioral science to empower everyone to make smarter transportation choices. Large employers, universities and government agencies use our powerful products to reduce congestion, parking demand, and environmental impact while creating healthier, happier communities. We have helped our clients take tens of millions of cars off the road and reduce our collective CO2 footprint by over 280 million pounds.

About the World Changing Ideas Awards: World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.

Commute Management: The Missing Link in Workforce Management Strategy?

Employers have historically approached commute management and workforce management as separate business issues. However, new perspectives are emerging that challenge this paradigm.  As a result, businesses are increasingly recognizing commuter support as a key element of a holistic workforce management strategy.

Let’s break this down, with an emphasis on business benefits and integration tips for organizations seeking to build stronger commuting support into their workforce management programs.

What Is Commute Management?

Commute management is the optimization of the employee commute experience for the benefit of the organization and its people. It represents the result of all employee commute programs and initiatives your business offers. These usually have multiple, overlapping objectives such as:

  • Reducing traffic and congestion in and around the workplace
  • Minimizing the organization’s carbon footprint
  • Saving on parking and other transportation-related costs 
  • Improving the employee commute experience with flexible commuter support

In essence, commute management comprises all the programs and tools an organization actively uses to optimize the way employees reach the workplace. 

What Is Workforce Management?

The concept of workforce management is broad in scope. It is typically the domain of managers, executives, and human resources representatives and covers the complete set of strategies a business uses to optimize the output and productivity of its team members.

Examples of major workforce management topics include:

  • Budgeting and financial forecasting
  • Human resources planning
  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Vacation and paid time off (PTO) planning
  • Benefits administration

Workforce management also includes the tools organizations use to track the productivity and effectiveness of individual employees. Each organization formalizes these to greater or lesser degrees, but they function as one of the most fundamental aspects of workforce management no matter how prevalent or visible they are.

Why Have Organizations Traditionally Separated Workforce and Commute Management?

Until recently, most organizations tended to think about their commute management and workforce management programs separately. In many cases, they treated commute management as a compliance issue or an employee perk that could help people get to work. Once the were there, workforce management initiatives kicked in to make the most of employees’ time and effort once they arrive.

Businesses treated them separately mainly because commuting was viewed as something that happens away from the workplace while productivity happens within the workplace. However, a growing body of new research began to emerge in the 2010s that showed strong, previously overlooked links between commuting and productivity.

As a result, a new consensus has emerged: commuting and productivity are related and studies strongly suggest that difficult commutes have negative impacts on workplace output. The COVID-19 pandemic shone a glaring spotlight on commute-related issues, workplace productivity, and new perspectives on traditional notions of work. This accelerated the shift in organizational thinking on the issue.

Bringing the Commute into the Fold: Why Commuting Matters to Workforce Management Strategy

Managers and executives increasingly view commute management as an essential aspect of workforce management because of the profound impacts a bad commute can have on productivity and profitability. These impacts extend beyond the bottom line to areas like job satisfaction and overall personal happiness.

An oft-cited pre-pandemic statistic notes that a surprisingly high 23% of workforce participants quit a job because of a difficult commute. Observers widely believe that COVID-19 has cast an even stronger negative light on daily commuting, particularly for companies slow to adapt to growing calls for remote and flexible working arrangements.

What’s more is that a longer a team member’s commute is, the greater their risk for negative mental, physical, and emotional outcomes. Thus, organizations that employ many people who commute long-distance need to be especially cautious and comprehensive in their support planning. With the U.S. quit rate reaching an all-time high in late 2021 and early 2022, businesses that continue to overlook the impacts of commuting risk losing major talent.

The Organizational Benefits of Integrating the Commute with Workforce Management

Prioritizing commuter support within a broader workforce management strategy can yield a long list of benefits with positive effects on a business’s bottom line:

  • Strong and effective commuter programs improve job satisfaction, generating organic productivity improvements
  • Organizations with better commuter support tend to experience less employee turnover, which improves internal culture while reducing the high costs of filling job vacancies
  • Employees with easier commutes tend to experience improvements in their mental and physical well-being, which can reduce costs related to distributing healthcare-related employee benefits

A “good commute” is also becoming an increasingly important factor for job-seekers. It continues to emerge as a major key to building a positive employee experience. The companies most responsive to shifting employee sentiments in this arena stand to avoid the worst drawbacks of a poor commuter experience while optimizing the benefits associated with more complete and empathetic commute management programs.

Integration Tips and Strategies for Organizations

Incorporating effective commute management into your overall workforce management strategy begins with rethinking the role your organization plays in employees’ commutes. It can no longer be easily separated from the workplace experience. Rather, it is a more and more essential factor in productivity, job satisfaction, and organizational wellness.

With that in mind, you can reexamine the ways in which your organization supports commuters to empower everyone to make the smartest choices for themselves and the organization.

RideAmigos Provides solutions for organizations of all sizes, each with unique needs based on commuter preferences, workplace locations, and budgets. Get started today by talking with our experts about how you can launch a commute management program that works for your employees. 

Six California Agencies Collaborate to Expand TDM Program Impact

Regional rideshare and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs across the country are providing valuable support as commuters feel the squeeze of increasing traffic and spiking gas prices. Bay Area agencies have been planning for this throughout the pandemic. Among initiatives to reduce traffic is a multi-agency connected carpool and incentives network that offers commuters access to six area programs with a single login.

In early 2022, six California transportation agencies with some of the most active commute programs in the United States launched the innovative solution designed to improve commuter access to shared alternatives to solo driving. The new integrated network is designed to expand the pool of available ridematches for participants in the various agency programs. It will also empower commuters across the region — many of whom commute across county lines each day — to access services and participate in incentives based on their eligibility without creating multiple accounts and logging trips.

Six California Agencies Launch Joint Commute Support Programs

Announced in March 2022, the interconnected TDM programs primarily serve the nine counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay, with some of the agencies specifically focused on trips that start or end within a specific county. They are managed by six separate California-based commuter and transportation agencies with independent commute programs.

The partnership facilitates the seamless integration of six independent commuter management platforms, all powered by RideAmigos, making it far easier for commuters to find and choose more sustainable transportation options throughout the region. The list of participating agency programs includes:

Each of the six agencies operates its own unique set of commuter support programs within their jurisdictions. The initiative, led by MTC merge.511.0rg and piloted with Commute.org in late 2021 provides a seamless user experience for commuters, while continuing to empower each independent agency to operate targeted programming and also to more easily collaborate on easing congestion on key corridors (especially during peak travel hours), and reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with personal travel by car. To access the integrated network, commuters simply need to log into their existing account with one of the agency programs or sign up with any of the programs for which they are eligible.

Those who already had active accounts when the program was launched received automatic prompts. These prompts highlight new ridesharing options and potential benefits from additional regional agencies for which they are eligible based on their commutes.

How Will Commuters Benefit?

Thanks to the new program, commuters will enjoy expanded access to carpool, transit pool, vanpool and walk pool matching and other services. For example, commuters using a participating agency’s platform will be able to view relevant eligibility-based programs from all six participating agencies through a single account. This will increase the number of potential matches. .

Importantly, the partnership also integrates the various commuter rewards programs operated by the participating agencies. Commuters whose journeys cover multiple jurisdictions can use the integrated platform to explore all rewards and benefits that apply to their trips, even if the programs originate with an agency other than the one they originally joined with.

What Can Other Organizations Learn From California’s Rideshare Support Programs

Technology continues to evolve to better empower public sector actors in the TDM world. The innovative connected network created by these six California agencies also points to the transformative power of collaboration as transportation agencies work together in pursuit of shared goals. With this integrated network, better transparency and quality data about how commuters engage with their programs will enable deeper collaboration between these agencies working to improve transportation in the region.

“This solution best serves commuters who want to find carpool partners,” said Barbara Laurenson, MTC Principal Program coordinator. “The timing couldn’t be better as COVID-19 fears wane, gas prices increase and more dire news about the climate is released.”

“Commute.org recognizes that to solve the transportation challenges in San Mateo County, we need to have strong partnerships with our peer agencies in the region,” said John Ford, executive director, Commute.org. “Nearly 60 percent of the San Mateo County workforce travels to work from outside the county. This project opens up new ways to connect with those commuters, spur meaningful changes in drive-alone rates and promote better Bay Area air quality.”

RideAmigos agrees. “We have been partnering with individual Bay Area agencies for nearly a decade to encourage smarter transportation,” said RideAmigos Director of Customer Success Kathryn Hagerman Medina. “Connecting these programs creates a seamless user experience for carpool and commuter rewards across the region and, at the same time, [it] empowers individual agencies to collaborate in powerful new ways.”

Commuters and transportation industry observers can expect to see more innovative programming from participating agencies that leverages the new integrated network in the months to come.

RideAmigos works with these and other organizations at the forefront of TDM, providing best-in-class commute management solutions for the public sector, employers, and individual commuters. To learn more about this project and other products, reach out and start a conversation with our experts today.

How Business Is Leading the Charge to Make Commuting More Sustainable

Geneva, Switzerland

Meeting the important Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations and other commitments will require major global social and economic transformations across sectors. Yet, warnings about the stakes we face as a species have never been more dire. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) brings together the chief executive officers (CEOs) of more than 200 leading global companies to leverage their influence toward accelerating progress toward sustainable life on our planet. Participating partners represent a wide variety of sectors, and have combined revenues of more than $8.5 trillion.  Among other programs, the WBCSD leads an innovative and comprehensive Commuter Behavior Change project. It is designed to reduce the socioenvironmental impact of commuting and prompt increased migration to sustainable commuting modes.

RideAmigos participates as a member in the WBCSD’s Commuter Behavior Change project and other mobility initiatives, which are making a compelling business case for promoting behavior change. The organization also maintains a comprehensive database of “use cases” that document the strategic impact of established approaches to commuter engagement.

Here’s a breakdown of the project, its areas of focus, and our involvement.

WBCSD Commuter Behavior Change: Project Overview

The Commuter Behavior Change project seeks to address the unacceptable levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that result from transportation use. To this end, the WBCSD cites several key statistics:

Addressing these issues on the demand side by shifting commuters toward sustainable transportation alternatives holds the potential to meaningfully address all three of these issues. The organization stresses that employers occupy a very important position in the ongoing push to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions.

As such, the project focuses on studying and promoting effective strategies businesses can use to encourage their people teams to choose sustainable modes that will also improve their work-life balance and satisfaction.

The business case for Commuter Behavior Change

The Commuter Behavior Change project stresses that businesses stand to benefit from a mass shift to more sustainable transportation modes. It cites multiple specific advantages enterprises can earn through innovative approaches to managing their commuter needs:

  • Strong commuter supports make companies more appealing, boosting their efforts to attract and retain the best available employment talent
  • Resilient approaches to commuter management improve business productivity and efficiency
  • The increased use of sustainable commuter modes is linked with positive health benefits, improving employee well-being and reducing costs related to absenteeism and healthcare benefits

Commuter engagement strategy and behavior change

The project’s use case database tracks more than 15 specific strategies used to promote mode shift and behavior change among commuters. Each strategy that appears in the database is accompanied by a summary of its associated benefits, potential challenges and ways to address them, and suggestions on statistical metrics that can track progress after adoption.

WBCSD advocates for several familiar and well-established engagement strategies, including:

It also details several emerging and technical approaches to commuter management, such as:

Among other strategies, the WBCSD use case database also offers insights on campaign and transparency measures, micromobility, electric vehicle infrastructure, and budgeting. These digital resources combine to create a comprehensive information repository that businesses and organizations can draw on to create, develop, and expand their own internal commuter management initiatives.

Our work with WBCSD

RideAmigos joined the over 200 member companies in the WBCSD in 2021 to participate in the project to transform mobility, beginning with building a business case and contributing to best practices for corporate commute management as well as a forthcoming framework for sustainable corporate mobility policies.

Of our participation, Thomas Deloison, director of mobility at the WBCSD, said, “RideAmigos’ unique expertise in behavioral science and solutions to help shift commuting habits will be an important contribution to WBCSD’s work on accelerating the transformation toward sustainable urban mobility. We’re excited to collaborate with RideAmigos and bring their knowledge to companies and cities alike.”

To learn more about RideAmigos insights and solutions for implementing or transforming your own commute program, please contact us to talk to an expert.

Smart Commuting and the Network Effect: Building Resilient Commuter Programs

The network effect is a psychological phenomenon in which the number of people participating in a given initiative or activity increases its adoption rate among other members of a targeted group. As a concept, the network effect continues to make inroads in the world of transportation demand management (TDM) as commute managers have realized that their programs gain utility as more and more people participate. The network effect holds the potential to create highly resilient commuter programs, as we will examine in this post.

What Are Resilient Commuter Programs?

Resilience is a risk management concept that has found novel applications in the TDM sphere. As a general concept, the term refers to a system or organization’s ability to maintain productive function when confronted with unforeseen disruptions. Applied to TDM, the idea manifests as transportation resilience, which can be applied at both the transportation system and organizational levels.

For transportation systems, resilience describes the system’s ability to continue moving people and passengers despite the presence of one or more major impediments to its normal function. Examples of such impediments include major accidents that block roads or highways, vehicle or equipment failures on one or more public transit lines, extreme weather, and natural disasters.

At the organizational level, transportation resilience describes an enterprise or employer’s ability to continue functioning normally or at near-normal rates when such disruptions prevent members of their people teams from reaching the workplace. Resilient commuter programs feature built-in alternatives to default modes of transportation, which provide commuters with options if their usual or preferred mode becomes unavailable due to a disruption.

How the Network Effect Improves Transportation Resilience

The network effect helps build resilient commuter programs because programs with high participation rates offer more utility and a greater range of options to participating team members. For example, consider a commuter who usually takes the subway to work at a company that also operates a robust rideshare program.

Now, imagine that commuter wakes up one morning to learn there is a service disruption on their usual subway line. Because the workplace commuter program enjoys high adoption rates, the employee has already enrolled the program. Even though they don’t often carpool they need it today and they are quickly able to source a backup ride to work with a colleague who lives nearby – some of whom may be impacted by the same transit delay.

Thanks to the network effect and the resilience of the company’s commuter program, our stranded commuter was able to reach their workplace without reverting to driving alone. The company avoided the associated productivity losses and the commuter did not have to risk losing wages as a result of being absent.

The Organizational Benefits of Resilient Commuter Programs

Resilient commuter programs generate significant organization-wide benefits for businesses and employees alike. In addition to preventing absenteeism and maintaining acceptable levels of productivity during periods of disruption, organizational transportation resilience generates many other benefits:

  • It builds collegiality among coworkers, as it fosters interpersonal interactions and helps coworkers forge social connections with people they might not otherwise have interacted with
  • It creates an expanded range of mode options for commuters, advancing organizational objectives related to reducing the workplace’s carbon footprint
  • It improves job satisfaction among employees, as research shows that strong commute support is essential to productivity and happiness at the individual level

Maximizing the impact of a commuter program depends heavily on boosting its resilience, generating high participation rates, and using technological tools to deliver associated services to commuters.

RideAmigos Helps Commute Managers Generate Positive Impacts from Behavioral Psychology

RideAmigos develops cutting edge solutions for designing, distributing, and managing commuter programs. We have tools to serve commuters in every size organization and with any set of transportation challenges – from automating personalized commute support and ride-matching to a hub for corporate mobility programs, parking, and rewards.

Our team can help you apply behavioral science to your employee transportation challenges to change the way your team thinks about the commute. Get started today.

 

RideAmigos Supports the We Mean Business Coalition’s COP26 Call to Action

In 2021, world leaders convened in Glasgow, Scotland for the United Nations’ 26th climate change conference. The event, widely known as COP26, seeks to commit nations and stakeholders to aggressive, meaningful action to advance the goals of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.

The We Mean Business coalition was among the climate action organizations pressuring COP26 participants to deepen their commitments to climate change mitigation. We Mean Business penned an open letter to members of the 2021 Glasgow climate summit, calling for immediate action across three specific areas. RideAmigos is a proud signatory of the coalition’s letter.

What does the We Mean Business coalition advocate for?

The We Mean Business coalition calls on world leaders to take action in three important areas to keep the objectives of the Paris Agreement within reach:

  • Increasing the agreement’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030
  • Ceasing the financing and development of new coal-fired power generation plants by 2030 in developed countries and by 2040 in developing countries
  • Coordinating economic policy, public funding, and COVID-19 recovery financing to advance the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050

The coalition supports science-informed decision-making, alternative energy investment, and transparency in disclosing progress among stakeholders. It has emerged as an impactful, high-profile organization dedicated to sustainable forms of economic growth.

We Mean Business mainly targets members of the G20 countries, as they account for approximately 90% of global economic output and 80% of trade-related greenhouse gas emissions.

RideAmigos proudly supports the We Mean Business coalition.

We Mean Business boasts an impressive lineup of supporting partners including the International Chamber of Commerce, Solar Heat Europe, and the United Nations Global Compact. RideAmigos joins hundreds of businesses and organizations in endorsing the open letter We Mean Business submitted to the COP26 delegates.

We’re proud of the smart choices people are making every using RideAmigos apps, and we look forward to working with you to continue reducing emissions and other negative impacts of commuting in the next decade.