UrbanTrans has been providing technical assistance and support to the San Francisco regional rideshare program, 511 Rideshare, since 2007. Our efforts have been designed to help achieve measurable Return on Investment for the client, the employer stakeholders, and the area commuters. Activities have ranged from planning and policy development to development and implementation of campaigns designed to reduce single occupant trips. Notable projects include:
Employer Individualized Marketing
UrbanTrans developed and evaluated employer-based individualized marketing campaigns with the objective of increasing an organization’s commuter benefit programs and employee participation rates within these programs. The project was piloted with two key employers: Bayer and UC Berkeley. We worked with their employees on an individual basis to motivate them to change their commuting behavior and to actively support transportation demand management policies and strategies in the workplace. The project also included showcasing innovation and commitment from employers in reducing single occupant vehicle (SOV) trips and corresponding carbon emissions.
LEED TDM Opportunities
UrbanTrans is assisting 511 with the identification of opportunities to use LEED Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) certification requirements to encourage the implementation of TDM programs. Taking advantage of changes to the LEED scoring criteria, UrbanTrans is conducting several workshops to identify interested TDM stakeholders and to gain a precise understanding of their needs. As a result of those findings UrbanTrans is working directly with the Green Building Council to adapt 511’s survey tool so that it meets the requirements of LEED EBOM v4 for establishing a building’s commute mode split. Additionally, a service line is being created that focuses on the implementation of TDM programs and vehicle trip reduction at buildings interested in pursuing LEED EBOM certification.
Currently working with 511 on an analysis that directly links how employer outreach and marketing activities impact behavior change and how metrics can be used to improve overall program performance. With the passage of MAP-21 transportation funding is being linked to performance outcomes, which increases the importance of tracking specific travel behavior change associated with the 511 program. UrbanTrans will develop recommendations as to what metrics 511 should be monitoring and how to track those metrics.
Commuter Choice Handbook and Training
The Internal Revenue Code Section 132(f) Qualified Transportation Fringes known as the “commuter tax benefit” is a key tool in the TDM toolbox; however, due to confusion about how to implement this program it is often overlooked. The recent passage of a senate bill that mandates commute choice in the bay area, has elevated the importance of this program. UrbanTrans created a Commuter Choice handbook and has conducted one webinar to provide all the information necessary to assist employer based representatives in understanding the tax law, associated IRS guidance and other relevant issues associated with this program. It also gave information and tools to assist employers in setting up a commuter benefit program. We are currently conducting a second workshop and train the trainer event.
Employer-Operated Shuttles to Address Last-Mile Issues
The San Francisco region is served by numerous high-quality transit services. Unfortunately, many large employment sites are not within walking distance of rail stations nor do they have direct bus connections to rail stations. UrbanTrans researched the effectiveness of employer-operated shuttle services to address this last-mile issue. We developed an employer guide for 511 that outlines the benefits of shuttle programs, provides step-by-step instructions for establishing programs, and identifies funding sources available to employers and property managers. The guide is designed to educate companies and organizations about the benefits of implementing last-mile solutions that decrease employee drive-alone trips and increase the accessibility of businesses and properties.