Commute Smart Raleigh
Transportation Demand Management
Every day, traffic congestion drains your employees of energy while growing commuting expenses reduces their incomes, negatively impacting their outlook on work. As an employer, you can encourage and offer alternatives to your employees to change their commuting habits, especially when they are looking to make lifestyle changes to help balance their budgets.
The City of Raleigh offers an easy solution to help alleviate traffic congestion and employee stress with Transportation Demand Management (TDM). TDM seeks to move more people in fewer vehicles. Using the program's strategies can decrease the use of the single occupancy vehicle (SOV) and encourage the use of alternatives such as transit, carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, walking, teleworking, and alternative work schedules.
TDM outreach is becoming a vital component to the downtown Raleigh area. Employees take advantage of vanpools, carpools, transit options, and bicycle routes to get to and from work. Many employees may already be using an alternative transportation mode and not even recognize it. They are using the Free Downtown Circulator, the R-LINE, traveling to restaurants, running errands, and connecting to other transit systems.
Implementing a TDM Program can:
- Increase employee satisfaction;
- Reduce the demand for parking spaces;
- Reduce tardiness and absenteeism;
- Reduce stress;
- Expand the employer's labor pool; and,
- Enhance the employer's public image.
Carpooling is an excellent alternative to driving alone. It is a great way for employees to share expenses. A carpool is considered to be two or more people commuting and the most flexible of commute options as it can be used one or two days per week. Carpoolers can switch from driving every day, or one person drives one week and the other drives the next week. If one person does all of the driving, they are usually reimbursed by the other riders.
As an employer, this is the easiest program to implement and make available to all of your employees. You can set the eligibility requirements for your own program. For example, requiring carpools with three or more people, and they must carpool three + days per week.
Sharing a ride can be cheaper and faster than driving alone. Unlike a carpool, a vanpool allows you to save wear and tear on your own vehicle, and offers greater cost savings. A vanpool is made up of no fewer than seven commuters who live and work near each other and who share approximately the same work hours. GoTriangle provides the van, pays for gas, and arranges, oversees, and pays for all maintenance.
As an employer, you can play a critical role in the formation of a new vanpool group at your worksite, such as helping employees get organized, staying motivated, and recruitment. GoTriangle can also assist you with these roles.
For more information on Vanpools: Contact Vanessa Battle, GoTriangle Vanpool Manager at 919-485-7462.
Walking & Bicycling
Walking and bicycling to work aren't just about being fit; it's also reducing traffic and wear and tear on the roadways. It's the non-pollute commute!
Walking is an option for employees who live within a mile or two of their worksite. It is important to promote safety and education for those who choose to walk. If possible, provide your employees with showers and lockers.
Bicycling is an option for employees who live within five miles of their worksite. If employees live farther than five miles, they can combine their commute with transit. All GoRaleigh buses have bicycle racks on the front of them so a bike commute can be combined with a transit route.
Secure parking, as well as lockers and showers, is also important for bicycle parking or storage areas.
For more information on walking and bicycling, please contact the City of Raleigh's Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator at 919-996-2476.
Bus & Transit
Riding the bus is a great option if:
- A bus route is within three blocks (1/4 mile) of your worksite and near the employee's home;
- Employees have easy access to a Park and Ride lot where they can park their car and ride the bus;
- Bus schedules meet their work schedules;
- There's safe access between transit stops and your site; and,
- Employees bike- they can use the bike racks on the front of the bus to combine their bicycle trips with transit.
The GoPass program allows registered employers and their employees the opportunity to ride GoRaleigh and GoTriangle buses for free. Once the employer has enrolled in the contractual program, they will receive the GoPass swipe cards. The pass should be swiped at the fare box in lieu of a regular bus pass. A GoPass can only be used by the employee/employer.
Teleworking is also known as "telecommuting." This allows employees to work from a location other than their usual place of business - for example, home, a satellite office or a telework center.
For an employee to telework, it is important that they understand that working from home is a work arrangement, not a benefit. Also, it is not for everyone. Employees who telework must be self-motivated, results-oriented, and be able to work independently. They must be successful in their current position, knowledgeable about the organization, and be effective communicators who take initiative.
Compressed Work Weeks
By allowing employees to adjust their work schedules, companies are not only able to recruit and retain valuable employees, but it also makes it possible for them to completely eliminate commute trips on certain days by compressing their work weeks. A compressed work week does not change the total number of hours an employee works; it reduces the number of days an employee works in a given period. The most typical compressed work schedules are:
- 4/10 work week - Forty hours are worked in four 10 hour days, thus reducing the employee's commute trips by 20 percent.
- 9/80 work week - Eighty hours are worked in nine days with the tenth day off, thus reducing the employee's commute trips by 10 percent.
- 3/12 work week - Thirty-six hours are worked in three days, which means the employee commutes two fewer days than the typical 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. worker.
As an employer, adopting a compressed work schedule can allow you to extend your customer service and sales force hours.
Tardiness and absenteeism can reduce with compressed work weeks and flextime due to the option of commuting outside of rush house and an increased flexibility in scheduling appointments and running errands.
Allowing your employees a more flexible schedule may allow them to take advantage of alternative transportation. Under a flextime arrangement, employees are given some degree of choice for their own starting and ending times.
Flextime can support the use of commute alternatives. For example, the bus that runs by Mary's house leaves once an hour. Her work day starts at 8 a.m. If she takes the 6:30 a.m. bus she arrives to work at 7:15 a.m. - 45 minutes early. Mary feels that extra time is better used getting her kids ready for school. Although she prefers to take the bus, if she takes the 7:30 a.m. bus she arrives to work at 8:15 a.m. - 15 minutes late! The solution? Allow Mary to start her workday at 8:30 a.m. Mary's thrilled that her company gives her the freedom to better juggle her personal life, and the employer is pleased because one more single occupied vehicle is removed from the morning commute. Plus, it didn't cost the company a dime!!
Allowing some flexibility in employees' work schedules, flex-time makes it easier for them to take the bus or rideshare with employees from other companies. Walkers and bicyclists may be able to commute more safely by taking the best possible advantage of daylight hours.
Kathy Molin and Anne Galamb are the City of Raleigh's dedicated TDM Coordinators. They will work with you to help assist your employees with new commute options. Let's help to change your employees' commuting habits, which will also help their bottom line.