What Is a Smart Commute?

The term “smart commute” is starting to displace the familiar “alternative commute” among in-the-know Transportation Demand Management (TDM) pros. As some leaders point out, the word “alternative” implies that solo driving is and should be the default mode. Instead, characterizing a particular mode as “smart” removes this distinction and uses language that reflects TDM’s true values and objectives.

Moreover, a growing number of regional and organizational commuter programs are applying “smart commute” as a term to define the modes of transportation that qualify for rewards or make a positive impact on sustainability goals. How are these industry leaders thinking about what constitutes a smart commute? Let’s examine some common answers.

Smart commutes use shared instead of individual modes

One defining aspect of a smart commute is that it emphasizes the intelligent use of shared trips over individual transportation. Thus, it embraces modes like:

  • Carpooling
  • Public transportation like busses and trains
  • Vanpooling
  • Rented micro transit solutions like bikeshares and scooters to bridge that “first mile/last mile”

Anything that gets solo commuters out of cars and into a greener, more efficient shared trip counts as “smart” in our books.

Active commuting is smart commuting

People who walk or bike to work are smart (and happy) commuters. These modes have little if any environmental impact, and they also support physical and mental health and wellness.

You can make your workplace friendlier to active commuters by providing facilities like showers, lockers, and secure bike parking areas.

The smartest commute may be one that doesn’t happen at all

A growing number of employers offer remote teleworking as an alternative to coming into a physical workplace. Many TDM advocates argue that telecommuting is often an optimal choice, as it doesn’t require a commute at all. Employees also value the added focus and work-life balance telecommuting offers. Depending on your business, it can be a great way to boost morale and help your business attract and retain higher-quality employees.

If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to encourage your people teams to embrace the “smart commute” mentality, we can help. Get started today with a free analysis of your existing commuter programs and a personalized demonstration of our leading commuter engagement platform.

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