Employee Commute Options
Contributor: Chris Hagerbaumer, Deputy Director, Oregon Environmental Council
As an employer who cares about employee job satisfaction and our regional economy, you know you've got everything to gain from supporting transportation options for your workforce. What you may not have known is that there are many resources to help you develop and encourage employee commute options, and you may even qualify for state tax breaks and other financial incentives.
Popular employee commute programs include transit subsidies, rideshare matching and preferential parking for carpools and vanpools, cash in lieu of free parking, pretax benefits for using transit or ridesharing, compressed workweeks (e.g., four 10 hour days instead of five 8 hour days), telecommuting, and bike/walk programs. And most companies offer a guaranteed ride home for personal emergencies for staff members who don't drive to work.
Helping your employees put fewer miles on their cars will help curb pollution, reduce congestion, and reduce the stress associated with being stuck in traffic. A happy employee is a productive employee! We suggest promoting small steps: "Don't Drive One in Five" or "Join the Once a Week Club" are catchphrases for encouraging employees to leave the car at home just once a week. This can be less daunting than giving up solo car commutes altogether.
The Rogue Valley Transportation District's "Way to Go!" Program promotes alternatives to driving alone, and the links on the "Way to Go!" Program page will connect you with resources available right here in the Rogue Valley. Whether you're passionate about reducing air pollution or just enjoy walking, biking or saving money on fuel, there truly is something for everyone!
- Find out the location of the Rogue Valley's Park & Ride lots
- Connect with neighbors interested in carpooling or vanpooling
- Discover bus pass programs for employers and schools
- Join Oregon's Drive Less Challenge
- Get help organizing a "Walk + Bike to School Day"
- Access educational links to learn about teleworking, pedestrian and bike safety, and more!
And don't forget to alert employees on Clean Air Action Days. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issues pollution prevention advisories on hot summer days when air pollution creates especially unhealthy levels of smog, or on cold winter days when the inversion layer traps the smo. Cars are the number one source of smog, so you can help out by encouraging your employees to leave their cars at home on Clean Air Action Days. Sign up for Air Pollution Advisories at DEQ's website.
We invite you to peruse these resources and hope you'll agree that alternatives to drive-alone commuting are economically beneficial and yield great value to workers, employers, and our environment.