Posts

5 Ways Bike Commuting Benefits Your Bottom Line

Bicycle commuting creates a positive impact on your organization

May is National Bike Month! In honor of the occasion, it’s time to highlight five often-overlooked ways that bicycle commuting delivers bottom-line benefits to businesses and organizations.

More bike commuters means less need for parking

Renting or building additional parking spaces to accommodate vehicles can be very costly. Many bicycles can fit in the space a car would normally occupy, and providing secure bicycle lock-ups and racks can be achieved for a small fraction of the cost of adding parking.

Cycling reduces stress

Research has shown that a single-occupancy vehicle is the most stressful way to get to and from work. Battling other drivers for space on congested highways and thoroughfares is never a great way to start the day.

Cycling, by comparison, is far less stressful. Studies indicate that those who choose smarter forms of transportation, including bicycles, improve their productivity in addition to reducing stress.

Bike commuters take fewer sick days

The British Medical Journal recently published a study showing that cycling is one of the healthiest ways to commute. It provides a great cardiovascular workout that helps support immune system function. Those who cycle to work are less likely to miss days due to illness, in large part because they tend to have better overall health than those who choose sedentary modes of transportation.

Cycling is a great team-building activity

A growing number of businesses are discovering the benefits of bikepools, in which more experienced riders team up with lesser experienced bike commuters to show them the ropes of urban cycling. Bikepools offer an organic, engaging way to promote camaraderie, collaboration, and friendship, all of which help create a more unified work environment.

It boosts organizational credibility

Eco-friendly values are proving to deliver major branding and image-boosting benefits for businesses. By promoting and encouraging bike-based commuting, businesses can build a better public image, attract higher-quality employees and do a better job of retaining talent.

Moreover, you’ll connect with a broader base of potential customers, as market research is showing that people are increasingly choosing products and services delivered by businesses that share their values.

To learn more about how your organization can benefit from a higher rate of bike commuting, and get proven tools for promoting cycling as an alternative to driving, let us know you’re ready to get started with RideAmigos!

Shift your commuter programs into high gear for bike month

Make an impact with your National Bike Month commuting program.

Every year since 1956, May has been designated as National Bike Month. Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month offers businesses and communities a wealth of ways to encourage active, sustainable commuting alternatives.

National Bike Month is a great opportunity to improve health and fitness, reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and discover new ways of looking at your community. Bike-to-work programs enable businesses and organizations to get more people involved, and provide a perfect opportunity to encourage commuters to make a long-term transition to pedal power.

Building a successful bike-to-work program means getting as many people involved as possible. Here are a few winning tips to help you drum up robust participation rates for your smart commute challenges and events:

Start with a survey

When designing your bike to work challenge, the best place to start is with a survey. This will help you generate information-based insights into important factors like the experience level of riders, how far people will be commuting, and what routes they will be following.

From there, you can divide the respondents into groups that reflect their enthusiasm and experience level. This allows you to focus segmented promotional efforts on specific groups of people. Use strategic insights to help turn people with middling levels of interest into enthusiastic participants who can’t wait to get started. After all, promotional efforts are best directed at those who are on the fence instead of those who are already jumping at the bit to take part.

Create incentives

Gamification incentives, like prizes and rewards programs, give participants an extra bit of motivation to get involved in your bike to work challenge. Playing for points or pride can work in the short term, but commuter challenges work best when they also encourage people to make better use of smart commuting alternatives over the long run.

To that end, remember that offering rewards and prizes for continuing to commute by bike is a surefire way to get people to commit to behavior change over the long haul. You can also use short-term challenges as test runs for longer-term or permanent programs to see what works, what connects with participants, and where you need to improve your strategy.

Promote your program strategically

When you get around to launching your promotional campaign, build in time to analyze the results. Instead of making an all-in push from the get-go, leave wiggle room that allows you to make adjustments. This will help you bring more people into the fold, ultimately supporting a more successful program.

You can also learn more from our collaboration with Google on creating a strong and successful bike-to-work initiative.

Pair inexperienced riders with “bike buddies”

Bikepooling and “bike buddy” programs are effective options for reaching people who would like to bike to work but don’t feel comfortable riding alone. These programs match new riders with experienced bike commuters who can show new biking enthusiasts the ropes and help them navigate city traffic safely and confidently.

An added benefit of the “bike buddy” approach is that it helps improve workplace collegiality and foster increased cooperation among your company’s commuter base. People can form friendships and expand their professional networks through the connections they make by taking part in smart commute challenges and events.

Expanding beyond the challenge: Emerging ideas for driving long-term mode shift

Encouraging long-term behavior change is challenging, but one strategy that’s catching on is the idea of trading parking permits for bicycles. Organizations and institutions in both the public and private sectors have already leveraged this strategy to great success, and it provides a powerful incentive that reduces parking demand, keeps parking costs in check, and helps build a healthier, happier community.

Consider it as a potential end goal of your bike to work challenge!

Power your commuter challenges and incentive programs with RideAmigos

The RideAmigos software platform has everything you’ll need to design, promote, manage, and administer bike to month challenges and other commuter programs. Our industry-leading solution supports survey distribution, data analysis tools, incentive tracking, statistical management, and a complete range of other features for administrators and commuters alike.

To learn more, get started with RideAmgios today!

Tips From Google For Planning a Successful Bike-to-Work Program

Use this recipe from our friends at Google to build a fantastic bike to work campaign

We were recently joined by Lucy Tice, TDM Program Manager from Google, for a RideAmigos Academy Coffee Talk. Lucy and her colleagues were kind enough to share the recipe they used to get hundreds of Google employees on board with the company’s bike to work program. Now we’re going to pass it along to you!

  1. Create a survey. Find out how many people might potentially be interested in biking to work, how far their commute would be, and how experienced they are with cycling.
  2. Divide into segments. Google’s survey yielded four distinct segments within their prospect pool: “brave and fearless,” “enthusiastic and confident,” “interested with reservations,” and “not happening.” See how many members of your organization fall into similar groups.
  3. Choose a focus. Concentrate promotional and marketing efforts towards the segment that comprises the most valuable slice of the prospect pool. For example, Google elected to direct its efforts toward getting the “interested with reservations” group onto the participation side of the fence, since about 60% of survey respondents fell into that category.
  4. Set up a challenge. Engage individuals and/or teams by creating friendly competitions to see who can tally the greatest number of trips and/or miles during the campaign. You can also divide into networks and groups to take advantage of team spirit. 
  5. Add incentives. Prizes for the individuals and/or teams that lead the pack can be advertised at the beginning of the campaign to provide an extra spark of motivation. 
  6. Start promoting. Keeping your focus segment in mind, use a full range of communication channels to put the word out about the incentivized bike to work campaign. By giving out some rewards early in the program you can increase the likelihood of winners sharing about your program.
  7. Evaluate the results. Using this recipe, Google got over 800 people on board with their challenge and racked up more than 15,000 bike trips. 

Learn more about Google’s bike-to-work program at the RideAmigos Academy: Beyond Bike to Work Day, How Google is Expanding TDM Programs Using RideAmigos

Our industry-leading RideAmigos commuter management software platform is the perfect backbone to create, promote, and administer bike to work campaigns, enabling a ripple-effect of long-lasting, positive impact on commuter behavior. It’s a fantastic tool, loaded with features that support route planning, bike- & carpool matching, challenges & incentives, community management, data analysis, and much more. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you transform transportation within your organization. 

Promoting Safe Riding for Urban Cyclists

These experts tips from experienced urban cyclists can help bike commuters stay safe.

Commuting by bike is a great way to get exercise and relieve traffic congestion, but safety should always come first. Here at RideAmigos, we’re big fans of increasing bicycle usage as part of a transportation demand management strategy.

During these summer months many organizations promote bicycling as a smart and healthy way to commute. As partners in a shared mission of transforming transportation, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips from experienced urban bike commuters to help keep your organization’s cyclists safe. Share and re-use widely!

  • Adopt “active scanning.” Always be aware of everything going on around you. Scan the road, as well as adjoining driveways and intersections. When you’re able to do so safely, take periodic glances behind you to see what’s approaching. Even better – invest in a mirror.
  • Be predictable. Don’t make sudden moves or swerve into traffic. If you’re scanning properly, you’ll react to obstacles like sewer grates and cracked pavement smoothly and well ahead of time.
  • Use your ears. As a cyclist, you’re more reliant on your hearing than you may realize. Never ride wearing headphones or earbuds.
  • Be defensive. Drivers are protected by thousands of pounds of steel and glass. You’re not. It won’t matter that you had the right-of-way if you get hit by a car. Don’t be aggressive; be cautious.
  • Eye contact is your friend. Making eye contact with turning drivers is the only way you can be sure they’ve seen you. If you’re not sure a motorist knows you’re there, slow down and be prepared to stop.
  • Be seen and heard. Bells, headlights, reflectors, and bright, reflective clothing are all helpful, especially if you’re going to be riding at night.
  • Control your speed. Maintain a suitable speed for road conditions; slow down in heavy traffic. You need to give yourself enough time to react to anything that might happen.

In addition, safe riding means staying alert at all times for potential hazards:

  • People emerging from parked cars. “Dooring,” as it’s known, can be very dangerous. Give yourself ample clearance when riding past parked vehicles, and keep your eyes open for people who may be about to step out of their cars and onto the street.
  • Turning vehicles. Many motorists are only looking for oncoming cars, and bikes can be hard to see in heavy traffic. Be extra careful when going through intersections.
  • Aggressive drivers. Unfortunately, some motorists drive as though the road belongs to them. Don’t pick a fight; avoid confrontations, especially needless ones.
  • Drivers in reverse. People backing out of driveways or into parking spots are more likely to be watching where they’re going than watching for oncoming bikes. Again, be extra defensive in these situations.

With support and experience, it becomes second-nature to navigate city streets by bike. Even so, bike commuters should never take safety for granted!

Riding with a group is another great way to improve your bicycle visibility, and by extension, safety. Like carpooling, bikepooling can also turn commuting into a social event. The RideAmigos platform is an ideal way to build a bikepooling network and promote bicycling as a viable form of commuting.

Help people skip the solo drive – contact RideAmigos today!

Using Pokémon Go to promote smart commuting

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

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

Transit

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

Bike

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

Rideshare

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

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

3 Impressive Executives Leading the Way to Smarter Commuting

Join these high-profile organizational leaders in inspiring people to change how they commute

Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to encourage organizational change. An increasing number of executives are doing exactly that when it comes to smarter commuting. Here’s a look at three people in leadership positions who are choosing enjoyable, environmentally friendly ways of getting to work:

Alan Elser
CFO, GM Nameplate

Despite a notoriously rainy climate, a growing number of Seattle commuters are choosing to bike to work throughout the year. Among them is Alan Elser, the chief financial officer of GM Nameplate, a leading supplier of custom-manufactured industrial goods
In 2013, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that Elser bikes to work three times a week. The 24-mile journey between GM Nameplate’s Seattle headquarters and his May Valley-area home is undaunting for Elser. “Riding in in the morning is a great way to wake up and plan your day,” Elser said in an interview. “Riding home is a chance to decompress.”

Jennifer Welch
Managing Deputy Commissioner,
Chicago Department of Family and Support Services

She may have a much shorter commute than Elser, but Jennifer Welch bikes to work and back all year round, despite during Chicago’s notoriously cold and snowy winters. Her four-mile commute takes her from Logan Square toward the center of the city. Even when Chicago was hammered by the “Snowmaggedon” blizzard in the winter of 2011, Welch bundled up and biked to her job at the Department of Family and Support Services. Even more, her blizzard bike commute included a trip to the city’s 911 center to attend to a staffing emergency.

Christopher Eisgruber
President, Princeton University

The Princeton University president has emerged as a strong voice in the local call for better biking infrastructure. Traffic congestion makes cycling to Princeton’s campus challenging. But, thanks to a vocal advocacy campaign, the city of Princeton seems to be moving towards becoming more bike-friendly. Eisgruber says he cycles to work as often as possible, and hopes that the city will do its part to encourage others to join him.

RideAmigos salutes these and the many other business, education and government leaders who are leaving their cars behind more often. If you’re part of an organization that’s committed to helping commuters make smarter choices, be sure to check out our comprehensive TDM software toolkit. We deliver powerful solutions for ridesharing, trip planning, incentives, and data analysis.  Transforming how your organization commutes can have a major positive impact on your bottom line. Contact us to schedule your personal demonstration.

Top 4 Ways to Engage Commuters for Bike to Work Week

May is National Bike Month, and Bike to Work Week is right around the corner – May 16-20. Getting people excited about this event is a great way to help change how they think about commuting. Here are four creative ways to encourage greater levels of local participation:

Launch a Challenge

Tapping into the spirit of competition is one of the most powerful ways to engage people. Challenges give participants an added incentive to put forth their best effort, and few things are more rewarding than seeing hard work pay off in the standings.

Incentivize Bike to Work Week by making challenge winners eligible to claim prizes. See the clash of wills heat up as the race intensifies, all for a positive cause.

Organize a Bikepool Group

Organize a Bike to Work week cycling group to give those who feel safer riding with others a place to engage. Bikepools are ideal for experienced cyclists who want to share tips with newbies and for first-time or inexperienced riders who want to be part of a team.

Help your existing bike commuters to connect with their neighbors, form a group, and share the bike-to-work love!

Discover New and Interesting Routes

Bicycling is a great way to explore your city from a different perspective. Take a scenic path through a park or along a river. Follow a journey plan through a historic or artistic quarter. Find the best streets for biking.

Encourage Bike to Work Week participants to discover and share unique, little-known and interesting alternate routes to get to and from work.

Suggest Multimodal Options

People who have long commutes often feel like they can’t take part in Bike to Work Week. Suggesting ways to combine biking with other modes of transportation might change their mind.

More and more municipalities are working to make combining cycling with public transit a viable option for commuters. Buses and commuter trains are being outfitted with bike racks. Major stations and transit hubs offer secure, low-cost, or free on-site bicycle storage. Let your longer-distance commuters know about these possibilities so they can bike, too!

Try some of these ideas to engage your commuters during bike to work week and who knows – cycling might even become a habit!


For more great ideas from the RideAmigos team be sure to sign up for our Commuter Tips email newsletter.