How to Get University Employees to Carpool

Helpful tips for getting university employees to carpool more often

Universities face a unique set of challenges with regard to car-based commuting. At educational institutions, administrators often face rising year-over-year demand for limited parking facilities. Building new parking structures is very expensive. Given that reality, a growing number of schools are using their resources to get more university employees to carpool instead.

While some schools have overlooked employee carpooling and commuter programs in the past in favor of focusing primarily on student transportation needs, that is quickly changing. Administrators are realizing that employee carpool initiatives provide several key benefits. They offer excellent starting points like being convenient, engaging frequent commuters, and delivering outstanding cost-to-benefits ratios.

Colleges and universities typically employ hundreds if not thousands of staff and faculty members, giving them large communities to work with. This means university carpool programs are an excellent option to get more employees to carpool, especially when supported by proven strategies like:

  • Premium parking. Give vehicles used in carpools access to convenient parking spots. This also generates visibility for your rideshare programs, showing other university employees the popularity of carpooling.
  • Parking cash-out option. Offer employees financial benefits in exchange for giving up their parking privileges and watch participation rates soar.
  • Commuter rewards and challenges. Engage community members while promoting carpooling as an alternative to solo driving through commuter rewards initiatives and campus-wide commuter challenges.

Engage more employees through strategic communication

Administrators will also enjoy better success in their efforts in encouraging employees to carpool when they strategically promote the availability of ridematching resources. Here are some easy, effective ways to do that:

  • Build awareness through signage and email campaigns.
  • Mention the availability of commuter support programs, like rideshare matching, during new employee orientation sessions.
  • Draw attention to your program through periodic challenge and special events like rideshare month.
  • Promote rewards and incentive programs that encourage ongoing participation.

One particularly effective strategy used by a growing number of universities is to create commuter rewards programs that allow employees to rack up points every time they log a carpool trip to or from work. These points can then be redeemed for a wide variety of gift cards or other merchandise via a mobile app or commuter portal, which gets keeps people engaged for the long term.

Looking for more tips on how to deal with the parking crunch at your school?
Be sure to check out our free e-book on reducing campus parking demand.

If you need further advice on how to get university employees to carpool more often, or if you want a free, objective evaluation of your existing commuter programs, the RideAmigos team is here to help. Get started today!

Brandeis University’s Campus Carpooling Program Success

In 2017, Brandeis University adopted the RideAmigos software platform to help commuters more easily and efficiently manage their transportation needs. As the university was preparing to launch a RideAmigos-powered campus carpooling program, the school’s assistant director of English Language Programs, Amy Rinaldo, said, “Traffic can be long and stressful, and I also feel environmentally guilty and frustrated about my commute.” At the time, Rinaldo lived about nine miles from campus, and had been locked into the habit of solo driving. “[Solo commuting] takes a toll on life, which is why I was so excited about the possibility of carpooling.”

Now, just over a year later, it’s become clear that Rinaldo was far from alone in her feelings. Brandeis University officially launched their RideAmigos-powered carpooling program in October 2017, and the number of carpooling trips to and from campus nearly doubled after it was implemented.

Sustainability manager Mary Fischer noted, “We are making strides. More people realize that they live much closer to other Brandeisians, including those who have compatible schedules.” Since the launch of the campus carpooling program, Rinaldo has settled into a habit of ride-sharing about once a week, and tries to bike or take the train as often as possible. “Brandeis has a great community and carpooling has helped me meet people from across campus in a different capacity.”

The strong performance of the Brandeis campus carpooling program highlights a few of the key benefits of creating ride-sharing communities to serve educational institutions:

  • They fill a gap by providing a program that many people would use if it were available
  • They reduce commute-related stress and cost
  • They help commuters form new social connections

The RideAmigos commuter platform provides a complete suite of administrator-end and user-end tools that make it easy to create, join, and manage carpooling networks while connecting with community members looking to share rides. In our work with academic institutions, we’ve consistently found that commuters would be more than happy to use alternatives to solo driving if they were readily available, and that’s exactly what our platform achieves.

RideAmigos is proud to be a big part of the success of Brandeis’s campus carpooling program, and we’d love to help your organization become our next success story. To learn more, get started with RideAmigos today.

3 Ways to Improve University Ridesharing

Improve university ridesharing programs to cut costs and control demand for limited parking.

America’s colleges are booming. Over the past five years, enrollment rates have spiked by 17 percent. While that’s great for the state of higher education in the country, it also creates challenges for administrators. More growth generally means more cars, and finding places to put those cars can be difficult and expensive. Schools that improve university ridesharing programs can alleviate these issues, cutting costs along the way.

University ridesharing programs have emerged as a dynamic, environmentally friendly solution to parking reduction. Campus-wide initiatives that are accessible to students, faculty, and staff cast a wide net, giving community members flexible options for traveling to and from campus at practically any time of day or night.

Successful university ridesharing programs usually have three key strategies in common:

  • Education. People may be reluctant to share rides with strangers, or have the impression that ridesharing isn’t as convenient as other options. University ridesharing programs can be configured to limit matches to user networks or specific departments, and users can make regular or occasional use of other accessible options including transit or vanpool services.
  • Direct appeal. Use commuter surveys to glean insights into community-specific commuter behaviors, then custom-craft a strategy that best meets the needs of end users. Communicate and advertise this strategy over multiple channels, including on-campus publicity such as banners, posters, and signage, email, and social media.
  • Incentives. Games and incentive programs are proven ways to boost participation rates. Give commuters another good reason to take part by offering prizes and other perks to those who make the best use of available services.

Some schools, like the University of Louisville, go a step further by sponsoring innovative earn-a-bike programs. These programs offer bike vouchers to community members who willingly give up their assigned parking privileges, and they’re a great way to promote a healthier, more active community while reducing demand for limited parking.

Learn more about how ridesharing can help you manage university parking and traffic by downloading our free PDF resource guide for university administrators and transportation managers.


University Ridesharing and Commuter Services

Solve parking and congestion woes by introducing an expanded range of university commuter services.

University and college campuses face a unique set of transportation demand management challenges. Parking is limited, forcing schools to make difficult choices when determining how to distribute permits. Students, staff and faculty tend to keep irregular hours, given the prevalence of evening and weekend classes.

A lot of schools provide free or subsidized transit passes, which helps but doesn’t often provide a complete solution. Given how limited most campus parking facilities are, colleges and universities usually need to take a multi-pronged approach that combines several effective strategies.

One emerging approach that’s making waves at campuses across the country is to expand the available range of university commuter services. Mobile connectivity has created new possibilities that didn’t exist before the smartphone revolution. Schools that embrace cutting-edge commute to school apps open up a dynamic range of smart, sustainable transportation choices.

Ridesharing is one of the most popular alternatives. Campus ridesharing programs usually take one of two forms:

  • Carpooling communities: Students, staff and faculty can join carpools with regular schedules, or access available carpools on an as-needed basis to travel to or from campus. Carpools can also extend to weekend rides home, getaways during school breaks, and more.
  • Vanpool services: Arrange vanpool shuttles from nearby city landmarks or major public transit stations and give campus members a convenient and affordable alternative to driving.

Both are cost-effective, high-impact options with strong appeal for students with limited transportation budgets.

Understand the features of an effective campus carpool network.

For students, the potential cost savings they can realize by carpooling instead of driving are only part of the equation. Many colleges have attempted to create internet-powered ridesharing networks, only to see very low participation rates. This often happens because the network lacks an identity.

Students are less likely to use a university rideshare app that makes anonymous connections. Instead, allow users to link their posts to social media profiles so potential matches can put faces to names. Schools that allow drivers and riders to exchange information about things like music and smoking preferences also tend to have higher success rates.

Basically, it boils down to this: if you build in features that allow users to refine their results to find more precise matches, your program is more likely to become a success. The same is true if your approach eschews anonymity in favor of a more personal approach.

University rideshare solutions for faculty and staff often need to be tweaked in their focus so they speak directly to the needs of employed commuters. Initiatives aimed at engaging staff members can use proven workplace strategies like gamification, premium parking for carpool vehicles, and parking cash-out programs, among others.

Interested in making a vanpool part of your university ridesharing program? Follow these planning tips to success.

Adding a vanpool to your university ridesharing and commuter services is an excellent way to solve the so-called “first mile/last mile” dilemma. Vanpools provide convenient, direct links between campus and major transportation hubs. They’re especially effective in schools that draw a lot of commuters but aren’t well-served by high-speed forms of public transportation.

Here are some strategic keys that can help make your vanpool program a success:

  • Schedule regular service with increased frequency during peak hours
  • Integrate vanpools into your existing rideshare matching and commuter management services
  • Promote the service through widely used communication channels so campus members know about it

Finally, make your vanpool accessible to all campus members, rather than restricting eligibility to only students. You’ll maximize the efficiency of your operational budget and drive higher participation rates by making vanpooling an option for all campus community members.

Campus communities enjoy major benefits by adding university ridesharing programs to their list of transportation options.

These university ridesharing options deliver significant, continuous benefits to campuses, including:

  • Reduced demand for parking, leading to cost savings
  • Less on-campus vehicular traffic, improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists
  • A clear alignment with environmentally responsible values
  • Decreased emissions and pollution

They’re also a great social tool for helping students, staff and faculty interact with a broader range of community members. By helping you create and manage new university commuter services, RideAmigos can help you build a stronger and more interconnected campus.

Smart ridesharing and incentive programs can be a great way to address parking problems. Check out our free, downloadable PDF  on curbing campus parking demand.

The RideAmigos software platform delivers powerful management and administration tools, serving as the central hub of your university ridesharing initiative. We’ve already helped a long and growing list of schools around the world better manage their transportation needs, and we’d love to add your campus to our list of success stories. Get started today with a free analysis of your existing commuter programs, helpful commuter management tools, or a detailed one-on-one consultation.

University Rideshare Programs

University rideshare programs deliver advantages that benefit all members of the campus community

In an age of rising parking costs and increased awareness of the environmental toll of single-occupancy vehicles, campus community members are becoming increasingly interested in university rideshare programs. In addition to connecting students, staff, and faculty with more affordable and convenient ways to travel to and from campus, these programs generate a long list of benefits that have a positive cross-campus impact:

  • They help keep the prevalence of single-occupancy vehicles in check, fostering a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • They reduce demand for limited parking facilities, helping alleviate cost burdens and making it easier for educational institutions to operate within their budgetary constraints.
  • They give students a safe and convenient transportation solution no matter what time of day or night they need to travel to or from campus.
  • They help community members foster deeper and more diverse social connections with others.

Creating and managing a university rideshare program with an extensive reach and a long-lasting impact is easy, with the right tools. The RideAmigos software platform is a powerful ally for university administrators who want to implement a campus-wide rideshare program.

RideAmigos supports university rideshare programs by promoting easy connections among users.

The RideAmigos platform provides a transportation hub that helps connect students, staff, and faculty members in a number of innovative ways. Its community-based features make it fast and easy for users to connect with available rideshares for both occasional and regular use. Users can take advantage of these powerful features to manage their daily campus commuting needs, arrange trips home during holiday breaks, locate transportation to off-campus community events, and more.

In addition to these advanced rideshare and carpooling features, users can also make quick and convenient connections to other alternative modes of transportation, including Zipcar, public transit, vanpools, walking and cycling routes, and more. These features are all delivered through an intuitive, easy-to-use interface with a quick learning curve, helping new users get connected in a matter of minutes.

RideAmigos has already helped numerous universities and educational institutions around the world implement effective rideshare programs that help reduce pollution, improve safety, and lower costs. If you’re ready to discover the power of the RideAmigos software platform, get started today to access further information, arrange a consultation, or get a free analysis of your existing ridesharing and commuter programs.