Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) Takes Commuter Rewards to the Next Level

In December 2018, the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) launched a new commuter rewards program to the public. The CATS program allows commuters to earn points towards valuable rewards by logging smart commutes using approved alternatives to solo driving. CATS configured the system so that 10 round trips logged using approved modes could earn the commuter a $5 reward.

Just 10 days after launching, the CATS commuter rewards program attracted almost 200 new users, marking a 500% increase in registered users over the preceding three-month period. Over those 10 days, participants posted some pretty impressive stats: they logged 1,200 alternative trips totaling 14,900 miles, which saved 3.83 tons of CO2 emissions.

CATS program administrators used a few targeted approaches to generate interest in the program. First, they enticed new users by offering bonus points for joining, putting them within striking distance of a prize right off the bat. They also structured their program to include progressive reward tiers, giving participants added incentives for logging more trips and saving their points for a truly special prize. The resulting engagement and impact speaks for itself!

Learning from Programs that Work

The CATS program is powered by CommuteRewards, part of the RideAmigos cloud-based platform that automates the kinds of proven points programs that have worked for innovative employers like the City of Austin and regional agencies like Commute.org.

Key advantages of the CommuteRewards program:

  • Easy management. By taking advantage of automation, the program eliminated the need to worry about how many rewards to purchase from each vendor at any given time. Instead, they simply define a budget and set point values. Earning and redeeming points is self-service!
  • Tons of choice. Because more than 100 different rewards providers participate, there is no guessing which vendors commuters will like best. Everyone is different, so the program lets them choose their own rewards from a wide variety of retailers and restaurants.
  • Streamlined administration. The CommuteRewards store is configured for easy administration, so you don’t have to keep track of digital codes, leftover gift cards from previous events, or other similar management and reporting headaches.

Commuter rewards are generally a great way to motivate employees to make better and more frequent use of greener, smarter alternatives. A growing number of companies and organizations are turning to this strategy to complement their outreach and commuter challenges and promote sustained behavior change. If you’d like to learn more, we’d be happy to help!

Why More Businesses Are Investing in Employee Transportation in 2019

It’s still early in the year, but employee transportation has already come into sharp focus as a key talent retention strategy in 2019. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 2.4 percent of American workers quit their jobs in September 2018, with a further 2.3 percent saying goodbye to their bosses in October 2018. Those are enormous turnover rates, and forward-thinking companies are looking into new ways to position themselves as employers of choice and avoid the costs and competitive disadvantages that come with losing talent.

A recent CNBC article explained the results of a telling poll that queried 2,800 members of the American labor force in 28 major cities across the country. The survey, conducted by HR consulting firm Robert Half, found that 23% of American workers have quit a job they would otherwise have kept because the commute was unsustainable. Another key finding: more than one-third of employees in the 18 to 34 age range left a position because the commute was killing them.

The changing workforce

Members of the so-called millennial generation have entered the workforce in large numbers, and they’re having a major impact on talent retention and employee transportation policies. To become an employer of choice in this day and age, companies have to do more than offer competitive salary and benefits packages. They also need to implement policies that support a positive work-life balance, and employer rideshare and commuter programs do just that.

Millennials, and their younger counterparts in Generation Z, also prioritize working for organizations that have a meaningful mission and share their values. According to the Pew Research Center, these young workers now make up more than 40% of the labor force. They look for different kinds of benefits than the traditional offerings – and that is an important opportunity for employers.

More than a free parking space

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a major human resources professional organization, emphasizes that employee transportation and parking benefits vastly increase worker engagement. This, in turn, leads to deeper levels of employee loyalty and boosts talent retention initiatives. Some particularly effective strategies include commuter rewards programs, along with company rideshare and carpooling networks, perks like subsidized transit passes, and guaranteed ride home programs for carpoolers and active commuters.

Leading companies are also making sustainability a key pillar of their employer brand. Businesses like Google and LinkedIn offer commuters a variety of options to get to and around their campuses, and they incentivize employees to use alternative modes. For many workers, the freedom to choose a sustainable commute and the ability to track their own positive impact take higher priority than free parking and routinely driving alone. Fortunately this can also mean a double win for your business when you cut parking costs and reduce the output of greenhouse gasses from cars.

Making commuter benefits work

Engaging commuters starts with understanding their preferences and offering the maximum number of options. If you’re looking for more employee transportation solutions to give your company an edge in talent recruitment and retention, we’re here to help. Talk to one of our experts to learn more.

2018: Millions of Single Occupancy Vehicle Trips Avoided

As we prepare to welcome 2019, we’re pausing to reflect on the amazing positive impact RideAmigos partners have made on mobility, traffic, commuter wellness, and our planet.

We’re proud to be working with the leaders from Fortune 500 businesses, top research universities, and innovative government agencies engaging commuters to make a healthier, happier planet.

Here’s a look at some of what our partners have achieved this year:

RideAmigos users avoided millions of single occupancy vehicle trips in 2018.

Making a difference for employees and communities

Organizations partnering with RideAmigos are saving money, burning more calories, and reducing their greenhouse gas output by thousands of tons.

They’re doing it by offering better information and the incentives to make smart choices. Together, we’re changing the way people commute – creating a happier, healthier future for everyone.

We at RideAmigos are so grateful for the opportunity to support your success. Thanks for joining in our mission, using our tools, and leading the way for so many others. Thank you for helping us create a better world.

We look forward to continuing to empower transportation heroes in 2019 with cutting edge trip planning, ridematching, incentives management and gamification, and to share our collective wealth of knowledge and experience in the RideAmigos Academy.

To make RideAmigos part of your own 2019 success story, get started here today!

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.

Congratulations to the 2018 ACT 40 Under 40!

The faces of the 2018 ACT 40 under 40

RideAmigos congratulates the 2019 class of 40 leaders in transportation demand management (TDM) under the age of 40. The Association for Commuter Transportation recognized these emerging professionals at the TDM Forum in Nashville, Tennessee in November.

This group of honorees represent the present and future of practice and advocacy for smart commuter transportation.

We are especially proud of our own Corey Tucker, Director of Customer Success, and Grant Heger, Director of Technical Services for being recognized this year.

We are also honored to work with so many of these brilliant professionals. Learn more about the 40 under 40 and read more about the recipients at actweb.org/act-40-under-40/.

Commuter Engagement vs. Commuter Management

As competition to recruit and retain top talent grows tougher, a growing number of companies and organizations are offering commuter programs as part of their benefits portfolio. Two common phrases you’re likely to encounter include “commuter engagement” and “commuter management.” Many people are under the impression that these two terms are interchangeable, but there are actually important differences between these cornerstone concepts.

What is commuter engagement?

Commuter engagement focuses on programs that make people feel good about adopting alternative modes. In addition to promoting short-term commuter events like Bike-to-Work Month or Rideshare Month, effective engagement strategies also aim to encourage long-term behavior change. When handled well, commuter engagement results in more people choosing to ditch the solo drive in favor of smart alternatives more often.

Essential commuter engagement strategies and concepts include things like:

  • Points programs that allow commuters to collect points they can later redeem for valuable rewards
  • Games, friendly competitions, challenges, and other incentive programs
  • Giving commuters financial incentives for leaving their cars at home, like those provided by parking cash-out programs
  • Targeted marketing campaigns that promote commuter programs to specific groups within your organization

What about commuter management?

Commuter management, on the other hand, simply seeks to provide commuters with the information and resources they need to make better use of smart mobility options. It covers things like:

RideAmigos empowers program leaders to successfully manage both commuter engagement and commuter management. Our unique, industry-leading platform includes the tools and programs that make it easy to drive higher levels of commuter engagement. Administrators also enjoy advanced commuter management features and that make managing and analyzing large and complex programs easy, efficient, and fun. To learn more about our solutions, get started with RideAmigos today!

Four Things To Watch for at the 2018 ACT TDM Forum in Nashville

The 2018 ACT TDM Forum is happening on November 13 and 14 in Nashville, Tennessee, and we’ll be watching it closely. The Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) holds several conferences and events throughout the year in addition to its annual International Conference in the summer. This forum on transportation demand management (TDM) is a key opportunity for anyone working on commuter mobility and transportation in the private or public sector.

Just like last year’s event in Las Vegas, this one has an agenda focused on preparing TDM professionals to keep up with the latest changes in technology, policy, and the evolving mobility ecosystem. Starting with the opening keynote from Gary Gaston, CEO of Nashville Civic Design Center, it promises to be an inspiring two days. And like the other events organized by ACT, what happens at the TDM Forum is a great indication of where the industry is heading.

Whether you’ll be attending in person or not, here are the important things we think you should watch for:

Breakout Sessions

An impressive agenda is taking shape and we’re excited about the topics and panelists that are showing up. From new dockless scooters to big data, we’ll be splitting up to make sure we don’t miss any of the breakout sessions featuring leaders in TDM.

Kicking off the sessions on Tuesday morning, RideAmigos Director of Customer Success, Corey Tucker, will be moderating an important discussion of how organizations can leverage mobility data to make better operational decisions.

We’re also looking forward to hearing from Lucy Tice and Jessica Sanborn from Google talk about what drives commuter choices. While you’re counting down to Nashville, check out this Coffee Talk in which Lucy shared how Google incentivized employees to bike to work.

More sessions are still being added, so check out the full agenda here.

40 under 40

The ACT 40 Under 40 Awards recognize emerging leaders in TDM. According to ACT, “the awards provide recognition for ambitious leaders who are working to find creative TDM solutions to improve the quality of life of commuters and the livability of communities.”

Each year, the 40 under 40 represent agencies, companies, and academic institutions that are leading change. In 2017, five RideAmigos clients, including Peter Williamson, were among the honorees when awards were presented in Las Vegas. RideAmigos co-founder Jeffrey Chernick is also a past honoree.

We always keep an eye on this list of 40 industry trailblazers and the organizations they represent to learn from their success and see what they’ll do next.

Who Shows Up

If you were at the 2018 ACT International Conference in Anaheim, you probably noticed something: IT. IS. GROWING.

From innovative mobility providers and technology vendors to an ever-increasing number of organizations prioritizing commuter transportation programs, the new faces at each ACT event are signaling that TDM is starting to take center stage. Whether you have been working to solve commuter mobility challenges for decades or are new to the industry, you should see the growth of this amazing community as a really positive sign.

Don’t miss this and other opportunities during the year to hear from and network with industry thought leaders, commuter management professionals from around the world, and new mobility providers.

RideAmigos Updates

We recently released major updates to the RideAmigos mobile apps and commuter engagement platform. But we have lots more in store. Our team will be on hand in Nashville with some exciting things to show you. If you’re already a RideAmigos customer, you can also get early previews through Academy Office Hours webinar series.

If you’ll be coming to the ACT TDM Forum and you’d like to meet with our team, email act@rideamigos.com. If you can’t make it, you can contact us for a demo and consultation. Either way, we’d love to meet you to learn about your challenges and share some of what we’re excited about this Fall.

UCLA Expands its Bikeshare Network to Help Solve the “Last Mile” Dilemma

In October 2017, the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) launched a bikeshare network known as Bruin Bike Share. The program was created to help the school’s large commuter base take advantage of an expanded range of healthy, environmentally friendly transportation options. Bruin Bike Share is part of UCLA’s ongoing efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, and is fully available to all students, staff, and faculty members.

When UCLA first introduced the Bruin Bike Share program, it included a total of 130 bikes stationed at 18 hubs on or near the campus in west Los Angeles.

The program was launched in two phases with the first focusing on encouraging members to explore UCLA and Westwood by bike and the second addressing how members can seamlessly use bikes from nearby systems to commute in an integrated network. The latter helped shift the focus on one of the most common problems commuters face when using alternative modes of transportation: the so-called “last mile dilemma.”

The last mile dilemma refers to the challenges commuters face when using public transportation to travel to destinations that are underserved by the local transit network. Los Angeles has been working to improve its public transportation system, but the city is still notoriously difficult to navigate without a car, and as such, it’s a city where the “last mile dilemma” persists as a major impediment to the increased adoption of smart commuting alternatives.

Fast-forward to April 2018, when UCLA announced it was partnering with CycleHop to create a cooperative program that gives campus community members access to the expansive, GPS-connected Bike Share Connect network. The network covers an area of 35 square miles from the coastal suburb of Venice Beach to the famous central-city intersection of Hollywood & Highland, and integrates municipal bikeshare programs in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood, among others.

“With the expanded network, people living in the system area now have more choices for getting around town, or even commuting to and from campus,” said Dave Karwaski, UCLA Transportation’s senior associate director for planning, policy and traffic systems.

UCLA-affiliated users can take advantage of multiple payment options, including smartphone-based access, to get advantageous rates of $7 per month or $72 per year. These rates give commuters 90 minutes of daily access to all bikes that are part of the Bike Share Connect program, along with a simplified bike return scheme meant to further boost participation rates.

The new initiative is an excellent example of how community-oriented partnerships and cooperative thinking can generate creative and dynamic solutions to persistent commuting-related problems. RideAmigos is proud to be working with UCLA to manage and gamify campus transportation programs, and we’re here to help organizations of all kinds implement similarly smart commuter solutions.

RideAmigos at ACT Conference 2018

The Association for Commuter Transportation International Conference is taking place July 29th through August 1st, and RideAmigos is proud to be a sponsor and exhibitor.

The best part for us is that so many of our awesome customers will be part of making this year’s event extra-special. As we’ve said time and time again, working for our amazing user community is what makes us love what we do. If you’re not already part of the RideAmigos Academy, check out all the ways you can connect with our customers and our team in Anaheim. You’ll see what we mean!

Presentations and Panels

Don’t miss hearing from some RideAmigos customers at one of these interesting and informative sessions at this year’s conference:

Bike Share on Campus: Emerging best practices
(Monday, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM)

David Sorrell, who manages the TDM program at UC Berkeley, will be on a panel discussing how dockless bike share systems have changed, how we think about and plan for bicycle commuting, and how his program is responding.

Rethinking Residential TDM
(Monday, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM)

This panel features Tien-Tien Chan, TDM Program Manager at the City of Austin, along with others behind residential TDM campaigns from around the nation. Together they will discuss how they measured success and share valuable lessons learned.

Three Winning Incentive Strategies in Practice
(Monday, 1:30 – 2:45 PM)

A panel of experts from across industries will focus on the commuter incentives strategies that are driving real, measurable results, including daily incentives, commuter stores, and parking cash-out programs. This panel features three RideAmigos clients; Brittany Barrett, Assistant Director of Transportation at Emory University; Kim Comstock, Commuter Programs Manager at  Commute.org, and Tien-Tien Chan, TDM Program Manager at the City of Austin. It will also be moderated by our own Corey Tucker, Director of Programs and Customer Success at RideAmigos.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: New Mobility Approaches for Your Workplace of Campus
(Tuesday, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM)

Amy McCrary, Senior Sustainable Transportation Specialist at Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, California will be part of a panel discussing how to help commuters to rethink how they move to, from and around your facilities.

The Cost of Competition: Subsidy and Incentive Strategies for All Employer Markets
(Tuesday, 1:45 PM – 3:00 PM)

Kim Comstock of Commute.org in San Mateo County will join another panel to discuss how employers can differentiate themselves in recruitment and retention by leveraging commuter benefits and incentives. This panel will share examples of how organizations of different scales implemented successful strategies that fit their budgets and needs.

Vanpool Group Formation: Getting All the Pieces to Fall into Place
(Tuesday, 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM)

Does this sound familiar: You have a group of people interested in vanpooling but, in practice, it’s difficult to get them all going? In this session, Patty Olmsted, Senior Business Outreach Specialist at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, and other experienced panelists will share real-life vanpool group formation tips to overcome the challenges and get more people in vanpools.

Scale UP! TDM Strategies for Large Employers
(Tuesday, 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM)

Shawn Chavira, Associate Director of Transportation, USC Transportation, and other panelists will help us understand what kinds of commuter benefits programs work for large employers to reduce the transportation frustrations of their employees, visitors and surrounding community.

ACT Award Finalists

If you cross paths with any of these RideAmigos customers, be sure to congratulate them on being recognized as finalists for ACT Awards in these impressive categories:

California State University, Los Angeles, Transportation Services – Marketing and Outreach, University

City of Austin Smart Commute Rewards – Commuting Options, Carpooling

GoRedmond – Commuting Options, Biking

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission – Marketing and Outreach, Public

Patty Olmsted, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission – Commuting Options, Vanpooling

Stanford Research Park Transportation Management Association – Outstanding TMA

Tien-Tien Chan, City of Austin Transportation Department – Excellence in Advocacy

TravelWise, Region of Waterloo and Sustainable Waterloo Region – Commuting Options, Carpooling

UCLA Transportation – Commuting Options, Biking AND Commuting Options, Public Transit

Kudos to all these amazing programs, teams, and individuals – you’re all transportation heroes in our book! We love working with and learning from leaders like you who are at the top of their field.

RideAmigos ACT Commuter Challenge

Drop by the RideAmigos booth to take part in the RideAmigos ACT Commuter Challenge! We’ll be giving away $50 gift cards for most CO2 saved, most single occupancy vehicle (SOV) miles avoided, and most calories burned. Even if you don’t top the charts, you’ll still have a chance at a random giveaways of our new Transportation Hero t-shirts.

RideAmigos Academy Meet-up

If you’re a RideAmigos customer, you should already have your calendars blocked off for Tuesday night’s user meet-up and appreciation dinner. Need more convincing? Here are 5 reason’s not to miss this year’s meet-up.

Annual Closing Night Karaoke Party

There’s no better way to wrap up another great ACT conference than the annual karaoke party. This year’s party will be bigger and better than ever, just a short walk from the conference hotel in the Anaheim Garden Walk at 8pm on Tuesday, July 31st. We’re also excited to welcome Lime as a co-sponsor of this year’s event. They might even bring some of their famous electric scooters. If you’re not already on the list, sign up for your free ticket now!

If you’re looking for a RideAmigos team member to chat with about the latest and greatest updates to our platform, programs, and mobile apps, just drop by booth #27 or send a note to act@rideamigos.com. We’d love to meet you in person and learn about the work you’re working to engage commuters in your area!

ACT 2018. Let’s do this!

5 Reasons Not to Miss This Year’s Academy Meet-Up in Anaheim

ACT RideAmigos Academy Meet-up 2017

The RideAmigos Academy is a tremendous resource for RideAmigos customers, providing opportunities for learning, sharing, and support. Each year at the Association for Commuter Transportation’s International Conference, RideAmigos customers and partners have the special opportunity to meet up in-person for even more value and fun.

Here are 5 reasons that RideAmigos Academy members should make sure to mark your calendars for 6-8pm on Tuesday, July 31st for this year’s meet-up at the ACT conference in Anaheim, California:

1) Connect with RideAmigos Power Users

The unique strength of the RideAmigos Academy is the opportunity to learn from and share with other transportation professionals who use RideAmigos on a daily basis. Our in-person meet-up gives you the chance to connect with the Academy members you’ve heard from during our monthly webinars and to compare notes with other users. Find out how industry leaders are leveraging the many tools within RideAmigos, and which TDM strategies are proving most effective.

2) Learn What’s Coming Next

Academy members are always at the forefront of RideAmigos product updates and announcements. We’ve got some big news coming up around this year’s ACT conference and the Academy meet-up will be a great opportunity to learn how these new additions will help you create and manage impactful commuter programs.

3) Help Shape the Future of RideAmigos

Here at RideAmigos we’re always listening to our customers and watching the evolution of the smart mobility ecosystem to determine how to provide the best products in the business. This year’s Academy event will feature an in-depth exploration and discussion of industry trends, which will ultimately inform future RideAmigos tools and programs.

4) Free Food and Drinks

You’ve got to eat, right? Why not do so for free, and have a drink on us while you’re at it! As a way to show our appreciation for you, our beloved Academy members, your food and drinks are provided. Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal?

5) Stick Around for the Annual Karaoke Party

In case you aren’t aware, the most famous party of the year for the commuter management industry also happens on the last night of the ACT conference. The annual RideAmigos karaoke party is not to be missed, and if you’re at the Academy meet-up you’re already there. Starting at 8pm we’ll transition into party mode, so be ready to belt out some duets with your colleagues and close out the conference right. The karaoke party is free and open to anyone attending the ACT conference.

Click here to register for the Academy Meet-up

Click here to register for the Karaoke Party

If you’re in the market for better tools and resources for running your commuter programs, you won’t find a more active, engaged, and fun user group than the RideAmigos Academy, and membership is included for all RideAmigos platform and network administrators. Want to learn more? Get started with RideAmigos today.