An employee program has helped reduce solo driving at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has its headquarters in downtown Seattle. Almost 90% of employees there drove solo to work in 2010, but after a program was implemented in 2011, that number dropped to 42%, and it decreased from that point as well.
The program was established to make employees aware of their transportation options and to provide incentives to them to utilize them, rather than only driving solo.
Some of the incentives were $3 daily payments for employees who used alternative transportation, passes for ferries and trains, and charging for employee parking.
The foundation collaborated with the enterprise mobility software provider Luum in order to collect information about employee commute activity, analyze it, and help better manage it.
The foundation’s transportation and life safety program administrator, Bree Moore, started up the program, “The Luum platform was essential in enabling us to bring together this holistic transportation-benefits program that centers around the foundation’s Commute Tool: a one-stop-shop experience for employees to find out about all of their commute options.”
Using such an approach is sensible because of the employee tracking, incentives, and transparency. Setting specific goals can be helpful for behavior change.
“First we set goals, then we gave our employees the flexibility to choose how they travel to and from work each day. There are a lot of [employer programs] that do not or are not in the position to provide all the information and the choices we offer our employees,” explained Moore.
Some research has shown that the Puget Sound area could experience the following conditions in the future:
- 1.1 million hours of traffic delay per day
- 40 percent more vehicles
- An average of nine hours of congested traffic conditions daily along heavily traveled corridors
Implementing employee transit programs is not just better for the environment because they reduce air pollution and climate change emissions, but because they are also better for people as well. Solo driving is an easy habit to fall into, especially in America where cars are very popular and there may be something of a disdain for public transportation.
Image Credit: Public domain, Wikipedia.org
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