Defining and understanding transportation resilience
In the context of risk management, “resilience” is defined as a system’s ability to continue to function at an acceptable level of efficiency in the face of disruptive or unexpected conditions. This concept has been imported into the world of transportation demand management, giving rise to the idea of “transportation resilience.”
Transportation resilience is defined as the ability of a transportation system to move people around in the face of one or more major obstacles to normal function. These obstacles can include extreme weather events, major accidents, and equipment or infrastructure failures. More specifically, the concept of transportation resilience has even more precise implications, depending on how the term is applied:
- For individuals, transportation resilience means being able to get around if the person’s vehicle breaks down, or if the person is injured, becomes disabled, or suffers a loss of income
- For communities, it means that public transit is accessible, and that traffic can continue to move despite accidents, emergencies, seasonal construction projects, or special events
- On a design level, it means that transportation systems have specific built-in features to deal with extreme levels of demand and critical, unexpected problems
- On an economics level, it enables personal transportation to continue functioning even if an important resource, such as oil or gasoline, becomes unavailable or prohibitively expensive
- On a strategy level, it means a transportation system is created to accommodate future growth and possible changes to future usage or access patterns
At the day-to-day level, transportation resilience is of greatest concern to individuals and communities. It is something businesses and commuters need to think about, since the availability of transportation is critical to the function of both these entities.
What types of organizations have the most pronounced need for resilient transportation strategies?
Transportation resilience is critical to organizations with high concentrations of commuters. The more dependent those commuters are on single-occupancy vehicles, the more important it becomes.
All kinds of unexpected events can disrupt a person’s commute — car trouble, bad weather, traffic congestion, transit outages, accidents. The key to transportation resilience is to offer commuters alternatives that enable them to get around despite these issues.
Proven strategies for improving organizational transportation resilience
Some aspects of transportation resilience are beyond an organization’s control. Extreme weather events, like severe summer storms and blizzards that dump massive amounts of snow, will disrupt even the most carefully planned resilience strategies. Yet, despite this, careful planning and foresight can dramatically boost your organization’s ability to continue functioning at a high level in the face of everyday problems.
Let’s start with an essential “ridesharing for enterprises 101” type of concept: the importance of information. Encourage commuters to get in the habit of checking traffic information before they leave home in the morning. You’d be surprised how many people don’t bother to seek updates on things like road and traffic conditions until they’re already on the move. This can lead to major problems. After all, how likely is it that a commuter is going to turn around, go back home, and seek an alternative mode of transportation after driving into the thick of a traffic jam?
This easy, simple habitual shift helps commuters make smarter choices from the get-go. If traffic congestion is causing major delays along their normal driving route, commuters can simply opt for public transportation or other alternatives that allow them to bypass problem areas, get to work on time, and maintain their normal levels of productivity.
To that end, employers can make this transition even easier by building supports for alternative commuting into their transportation demand management models:
- Offer free or subsidized monthly transit passes to commuters
- Install secure bicycle parking along with showers and lockers to make active commuting a viable option
- Introduce an emergency ride home program to help overcome commuter hesitation
Another excellent way to improve organizational transportation resilience is to offer flexible telework options. After all, the most efficient commute is one that’s never made.
Working from home is a great strategy for maintaining productivity no matter what local weather and traffic conditions may throw at you. Help employees stay productive by offering telework commuter services that help employees new to the world of remote working make key adjustments. Chances are you’ll find teleworking a highly beneficial solution, as it boosts employees’ work-life balance and improves job satisfaction. Ancillary benefits include superior employee retention rates and a happier, more positive workplace culture.
Power your solutions with the RideAmigos smart commuting app
The RideAmigos commuter hub is replete with features that support transportation resilience for commuters and the businesses that employ them. With easy-to-use planning features and connections to a complete range of transportation alternatives, users can take part in rideshare and carpooling programs, make better use of public transit, use carshares, and much more.