The City of Austin is among the fastest growing urban areas in the United States.

With high rates of job creation and population increases, there are more people than ever commuting in the region.

To take the lead on managing traffic, the City of Austin, a 2017 Forbes Top Ten Employer, set its own ambitious commute reduction goals including cutting vehicle miles traveled by 800,000 during an initial six-month period.

The Strategy

The City employed many typical transportation demand management (TDM) strategies, including holding regular challenges. To achieve its objectives for the new program, the Transportation  Department designed a new and innovative incentive policy that allowed employees to earn units of administrative leave, a type of paid time off (PTO) in exchange for recording sustainable commutes.

The Results

City employees achieved impressive results. In the first six months, the program, 53 percent of participants shifted away from driving alone, and carpool and vanpool trips were doubled! Here are more impressive numbers:

How They Did It

The City of Austin automated its innovative employee incentives points program tools in the RideAmigos enterprise commuter engagement platform. Users who signed up were able to log trips in to earn points that could be exchanged for units of administrative leave. Program administrators then used a report from the RideAmigos platform to accurately process rewards.

The City of Austin’s initial ADL reward pilot deployment was a resounding success and has been recognized and awarded for its innovation by local and national organizations. I am proud that it has become a best practice example for employers across the country. 

— Tien Tien Chan, AICP, TDM Program Manager

Why It Works

The incentive worked quite well to encourage employees to rethink the commute.

Of course leave time is a highly valued employee benefit. As an incentive, it was also appropriately aligned to the program objectives. By presenting employees with additional time off rather than cash, the city reinforced its commitment to improving local air quality and promoting employee well-being. This kind of incentive is a great option for organizations that want to incentivize employees with a meaningful benefit that doesn’t increase taxable income.

About The City of Austin

With more than 820,000 residents, Austin is the 13th most populous city in the United States, and is the state capital of Texas.

The city employs around 13,500 people in more than 40 departments. It has been recognized as a Top 10 Employer on the Forbes List of Top Employers in 2017 and by Best Workplaces for Commuters in 2018 and 2019.

Learn More

RideAmigos is proud to partner with the City of Austin on its Smart Commute Rewards program. If you’d like to learn more about replicating results like these, get started today by talking to us about your commuter programs and goals.