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.

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.

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.

Where is Micromobility Heading?

Micromobility has been hailed as “the future of urban transportation” and a solution to “multiple problems in congested cities.” The term has certainly enjoyed soaring prominence in recent years, moving beyond niche circles of the mobility industry to penetrate popular consciousness. Yet, at the same time, even some transportation industry veterans do not have a complete grasp of what its full transformative potential.

Chances are good that micromobility will continue to make inroads in cities around the world as the 2020s progress. Given its rising profile and promising future, we’ve put together this introduction to micromobility, the solutions it offers, and the challenges that still lie ahead.

Defining micromobility

As an urban transportation concept, micromobility refers to small, lightweight vehicles available for short-term, individual use. There is no universally agreed-upon standard for weight and performance specifications, but one common benchmark sets weight limits at 350 kilograms (771 pounds) and top speeds at 25-45 kilometers per hour (15-28 miles per hour).

Technicalities aside, micromobility usually includes:

  • Bikeshare systems (including both conventional pedal bikes and power-assisted e-bikes)
  • Electric scooters
  • Other small personal electric vehicles like Segways, electric skateboards, hoverboards, and even electric water bikes

Some classifications also include compact electric cars with capacity for one to two passengers.

How micromobility systems work

Commuters and city-dwellers can purchase their own micromobility vehicles for their personal use, but prevailing models mainly focus on short-term rentals. These can be paid on a per-use or subscription-based system, with travelers usually accessing vehicles using their smartphones. Payment structures typically follow a flat-rate system, in which travelers pay a fixed price to access to the vehicle for a set number of minutes. Some localities use distance-based fee structures, or hybrid systems that account for both time and distance.

Passengers find shared vehicles in one of two ways: through docking stations, or dynamically. Docking stations were the universal standard when micromobility was first introduced, and they remain popular. This model sees vehicle fleets placed in strategic locations in densely populated urban centers, often near major transit hubs. Travelers use digital credentials to unlock a vehicle, which they then ride and leave at the docking station nearest their destination.

As 5G networks have rolled out, micromobility solutions have also adopted dynamic models. These allow passengers to source the nearest available vehicle through a smartphone app. Passengers then reserve the vehicle, unlock it with digital credentials upon reaching it, then ride it to their destination. The major advantage of this model is that travelers do not need to deal with docking stations: they instead use the vehicle for point-to-point travel, locking the vehicle at their destination for the next customer to use. Some systems incentivize riders to end their rides near certain in-demand locations.

Advantages, limitations, challenges, and potential solutions

The key advantage of micromobility is that it offers a feasible, convenient solution to the common “first mile/last mile” dilemma. Research shows that people in the United States are comfortable walking about a quarter of a mile to access public transit, but tend to seek other solutions if the nearest transit station or stop is further away. Micromobility can bridge those distance gaps, thus putting public transit within reach of a wider base of potential passengers.

This key advantage ties in with many other micromobility benefits:

  • It offers time- and energy-efficient solutions for short-distance smart commuting
  • Micromobility vehicles are inexpensive to operate and do not generate emissions
  • E-bikes and e-scooters are far cheaper to produce and purchase than road vehicles
  • It is inexpensive to use, thus offering strong benefits to lower-income individuals

At the same time, micromobility presents new challenges. These include:

  • Vehicle access is becoming increasingly dependent upon smartphones and internet access, presenting challenges for people who cannot afford or choose not to use these technologies
  • Micromobility vehicles can potentially lead to safety hazards for pedestrians and riders when used unsafely or on sidewalks
  • Many municipalities have yet to formally integrate them into their traffic codes
  • Some travelers abandon bikes or scooters in inopportune places, creating obstacles to foot traffic and other vehicle users

A number of experts have also expressed concerns about micromobility getting too big, too quickly: vehicle quality may suffer, creating potential pitfalls for users. And, there are important questions about the overall environmental impact shared-use vehicles have when balancing the potential to reduce emissions from transportation with their short lifespans leading to waste .

However, with more research, the emerging narrative is that micromobility’s advantages outweight its known and potential drawbacks, leading cities to embrace it with increasing enthusiasm – and more thoughtful regulation.

Integrating micromobility into your commuter toolbox

Micromobility is filling gaps in urban and suburban transportation ecosystems, and forward-thinking employers are already integrate it into their programs to support commuters. RideAmigos can help you integrate public and private transportation options into a single hub to provide comprehensive commuter support.  Get started today with a friendly analysis of your programs and a demo of the future of the commute.

Exploring Change in Transportation Demand Management

The past year has been one of the most challenging in memory for many in the transportation demand management industry. Widespread workplace shutdowns erased tens of millions of jobs in the United States alone, leaving highways, transit hubs, bus networks, and subway stations eerily silent. The pandemic’s protracted course has only added to the uncertainty, with the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel continuing to blink in and out as we head toward the seventh annual CommuteCon in April 2021.

Yet, despite these challenges, the past year has also been a catalyst for great change: the traditional workplace might never be the same after months of mass telecommuting, and shifting priorities have inspired many to seriously rethink the way we get around. At the same time, safer and healthier ways to access shared transportation have found the spotlight, while a transition in federal governance signaled intriguing policy changes.

CommuteCon 2021 will examine the lessons we learned in 2020 and look ahead to where these changes might lead the transportation demand management industry in 2021 and beyond. We are in the midst of transformative and regenerative change, and here’s a sneak peek at how the upcoming edition of CommuteCon will advance the unfolding conversation.

Transportation demand management policy appears headed for a new era

The new presidential administration appears committed to enacting major policy changes that stand to have a transformative impact on the way people get around. These include:

  • Ambitious targets for reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT), including a proposal to supplement or replace the gas tax with a VMT tax
  • Shared transportation investment models that get state and local officials more involved
  • Minimizing or getting rid of municipal parking requirements, signaling an expected decrease in the number of cars requiring parking in the future
  • A likely shift toward more public transit and mass commuter solutions

It’s still too early to predict exactly where these policy ideas will end up, but CommuteCon’s expert panelists will offer their insights.

Shifting priorities are redefining the TDM landscape

One of the most profound and important concepts currently regenerating the transportation demand management landscape is not directly related to emissions, infrastructure, or support for certain modes at the expense of others. Instead, it has to do with the very philosophies that underlie and inform transportation demand management strategies. This concept is widely known as transportation equity (or transit equity).

Transportation equity grows from the principle that transportation access is a public good and a public right, and should equally serve people of all classes, races, and socioeconomic standing. Transportation leads to opportunity, and equity-focused policies strive to make those opportunities more readily available to everyone.

What matters to commuters in the COVID-19 age?

Health and safety have rocketed to the forefront as top concerns of commuters in the time of COVID-19, but transportation demand management professionals are also looking at other important priorities. These include:

  • Increased workplace flexibility
  • The rise of hybrid onsite/offsite working
  • No more parking defaults

As commuter priorities shift, transportation demand management strategies will need to shift as well. A near-term direction is just beginning to take shape, and our presenters will weigh in with their thoughts on where things may be heading.

Will traditional commuting ever come back?

One of the most intriguing aspects of the current debate centers on whether commuting as we knew it will ever be the same again. Some transportation demand management insiders believe daily commuting will quickly return to normal, while others think it has changed forever and will never go back to the way it used to be.

CommuteCon 2021 presenters will explore this and many other uncertainties about how things will play out in the months and years ahead.

Answers are still emerging and CommuteCon is a forum for continued conversation

Above all else, CommuteCon 2021 will serve as a safe and engaging place for professionals to exchange ideas about transportation demand management strategies and policies for a post-COVID world. Our goal is to inspire an impactful, insightful, and ongoing discussion around these and other key issues facing the TDM community in this unprecedented time.

Join us at CommuteCon 2021 for a fascinating glimpse into the future of transportation demand management. Sign up for the CommuteCon mailing list  to get registration and speaker updates.

Reflecting on 2020 & Looking Ahead

At RideAmigos we are on a mission to change the way the world commutes for good by empowering everyone to make smarter transportation choices; and we partner with some of the most innovative employers and government agencies to do it. 

Over the years, agencies and employers have used RideAmigos to help commuters choose an alternative to driving alone over 25 million times and eliminated 237 million pounds of CO2.

Looking back on the past year, we are so proud of how our partners each rose to meet the challenges brought by the pandemic, economic crisis, and continued reckoning with access and inequities in our mobility ecosystem.  

Setting New Precedents

Overall in 2020, commuters used RideAmigos to report working remotely more than a million times in connection with employer or regional programs. They also logged just as many active trips, such as biking or walking, either to work or just to get outside. 

Before the pandemic set in, agencies and employers using RideAmigos were replacing over half a million SOV trips per month in 2020 with active trips, remote work or shared modes. 

Also in 2020 RideAmigos was part of a team that received an Association for Commuter Transportation Excellence in Research Award. The award recognized work with the City of Durham and Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight to bring a personalized commute plan pilot to scale and through this helped organizations achieve a mode shift of up to 10%.

Taking Action in a Crisis

When the COVID-19 crisis began, agencies and employers used RideAmigos to communicate safe commuting guidelines. They also responded to changing circumstances with rapid adjustments to incentive programs.

As the pandemic continued our clients began to reimagine commuter engagement strategies. This included: 

  • Launching programs to engage a hybrid workforce of remote and essential onsite employees.
  • Creating opportunities for community members who may have been unemployed or furloughed to stay engaged and learn about alternatives to driving alone.
  • Challenging employees and the public to build new habits by biking-to-anywhere 

2020 was a difficult year for the world and our community of transportation demand management (TDM) professionals was no exception. But we also came together in exciting ways. CommuteCon, always a virtual event, saw over 1,500 people join in. The April 2020 event was timed perfectly, providing a forum to discuss the unprecedented challenges and unique opportunities brought about by the pandemic. 

Looking Ahead 

We are continuing to work with our amazing customers as they reimagine the future with a reimagined commute experience for essential workers, future returns to the office, or hybrid work arrangements with smart parking management, subsidies and incentives, and other proven commuter behavior change programs.

We are continuously reinvesting in our products, and working to bring the latest insights from research into technology to our clients to create a better more sustainable commute experience. 

2021 promises to be a year of transformational and regenerative change. We’re looking forward to working together to harness this moment to make an even greater positive impact on our communities and the planet. If you are interested in learning more about how commuter engagement can support your evolving workplace, contact us to get started.

How to Make Transportation Incentives Work Better on Limited Budgets

Transportation incentives are programs local transportation and public transit authorities create to encourage people to choose alternatives to solo driving. They aim to achieve their objectives by giving commuters specific rewards for using smarter modes of transportation. Common examples include things like:

  • Free public transportation on certain days
  • Access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on highways
  • Rewards programs
  • Loyalty programs
  • Access to preferred parking
  • Free electric vehicle charging

While transportation incentives generally have a beneficial impact, default strategies have some noteworthy limitations. First, they tend to reward people who are already using smart alternatives to solo driving instead of encouraging single-occupancy vehicle operators to change to another mode. They also stagnate by failing to engage participants over the long term while offering financial rewards that do not provide enough motivation. Typically, this results from budgetary limitations.

So, how can you make transportation incentives more appealing without driving up their costs? We have identified four effective strategies:

  • Targeted campaigns: Data-driven insights offer a cost-effective way to determine who is already participating in the preferred behavior and what groups can be targeted for a behavior shift. Don’t go after those who are already using smart alternatives. Instead, save your resources for those who aren’t.
  • Randomness: Build participants’ anticipation for rewards through randomness: use techniques like raffles and draws for major prizes to get people excited about taking part. Randomness also helps fight program stagnation by introducing an element of excitement and uncertainty.
  • Normalization and framing: Create sustained marketing and public awareness campaigns that frame smart alternatives to solo driving as normal, popular, and increasing in popularity.
  • Self-image: People are motivated not only by financial rewards, but also by their identity. For example, cycling enthusiasts can often be convinced to start biking to work fairly easily. Knowing the identity characteristics of your target audience can give program effectiveness a big boost.

Our experts can suggest many other techniques and strategies to help make your transportation incentives that much more appealing while keeping your budget under control. If you would like a free assessment of your existing programs, the entire RideAmigos team is here to help you get started.

Why Cities Are Eliminating Traditional Parking Requirements

In North America, many municipalities have bylaws mandating the inclusion of parking facilities in new residential developments and commercial buildings. These policies, which date back to about the middle of the 20th century, once served important and practical purposes.

First, municipalities feared that a lack of adequate parking would put their businesses at a competitive disadvantage. This concern was especially prevalent in downtown areas of major metropolitan centers, which were economically threatened by the rapid rise of suburban development. Also, neighborhood residents tended to worry that they would have to compete with new neighbors for limited parking. As such, they were reluctant to support new high-density construction projects like apartment buildings and condominiums.

Parking requirements solved these issues, but they also supported over-reliance on privately owned vehicles. Thus, as cities continued to grow, traffic congestion and pollution continued to grow with them. They also contributed to urban sprawl, as the amount of space occupied by surface parking lots adds up quickly when aggregated across an entire metropolitan area.

In 2017, Buffalo became the first major city in the United States to repeal its municipal parking requirements. Many other cities, including San Francisco and Minneapolis, have since followed suit. In examining this trend, we are left with three interesting questions:

Why now?

Reduced reliance on private vehicle ownership is a major driver of the shift away from parking requirements. Cities are becoming acutely aware of the many negative impacts of traffic congestion, and many have responded with policies designed to make alternatives to solo driving more accessible and user-friendly. This is having a positive impact by making people less reliant on cars, which in turn makes parking requirements less feasible than they were in the past. As some observers have pointed out, parking requirements enabled urban addictions to cars, and getting rid of them will help cities break free.

In addition, developers lamented the financial and intangible costs associated with parking requirements, which not only take up precious space but also cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to fulfill. Eliminating these requirements reduces construction costs, which in turn allows more housing to be built. Getting rid of mandated parking also makes it easier for cities to embrace smart, high-density urban growth models by ensuring that prime real estate is not occupied by something so inessential as a parking lot.

How will eliminating parking requirements benefit cities?

The most obvious benefits will come in the form of increased residential density, reduced vehicle usage, and accompanying reductions in pollution and traffic congestion. However, there are also many other advantages:

  • Lower rent rates. Because eliminating parking requirements increases available housing by reducing construction costs, housing becomes more affordable because supply levels rise. According to a 2016 study, parking requirements add an average of $1,700 a year in rental costs. Eliminating them could lead to big savings, especially for lower-income individuals.
  • Developmental diversity. Meeting parking requirements puts limits on the types of buildings that can be constructed, as they necessitate certain architectural and functional characteristics. Getting rid of them allows developers to be more creative. For a few interesting examples, look to downtown Sandpoint, Idaho.
  • Historical building preservation. In Buffalo, and many other cities, parking requirements led to the demolition of numerous historic buildings since they could not be redeveloped while meeting municipal zoning bylaws. Scrapping the requirements will make it easier to preserve and repurpose buildings that were constructed before parking requirement laws existed.

How will the changes impact residents?

The urban living landscape will begin to change as more and more cities rethink their parking requirement bylaws. Demand for smart solutions like carpooling, carsharing, and emerging mobility models like shared bikes and scooters will continue to grow. People will make more regular use of public transit, and cities will become more walkable as growth densities rise and updated building codes facilitate the creation of innovative mixed-use spaces.

Just as municipalities will need to respond by continuing to support the proliferation of alternative modes of transportation, employers will see an increased need to create effective commuter programs. Statistics show that long and difficult commutes frequently lead people to quit their jobs, and businesses will need to offer solutions that support recruitment and employee retention efforts.

RideAmigos can be a big help in these areas. Our innovative, comprehensive software platform provides an exhaustive list of administrative and management tools municipalities and businesses can use to make transportation alternatives more accessible. To learn more, get started with a demo or a free analysis of your existing commuter management strategy.

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!