What It Is
Alternative transportation refers to commuting in any way other than driving alone. Examples include biking, walking, carpooling, and taking public transportation.
Why It Matters
Public transportation can be less stressful than driving in congested city traffic, and contributes to clean air. Employees who use mass transit as an alternative to driving alone tend to walk more each day. Healthy employees are more productive.
Carpooling can reduce traffic, air pollution, and other negative side effects of solo automobile travel. Carpooling and ridesharing reduce fuel costs and can lead to community building and social networking.
Encouraging employees to cycle or walk to work can provide myriad benefits. These range from reduced parking costs to healthier, happier employees.
- Step One: Encourage employees to use public transportation.
- Step Two: Encourage employees to use carpool and rideshare.
- Step Three: Support bicycling and walking.
- Step Four: Incentivize alternative transportation.
Find out more information by contacting your local transit agency for schedules and maps through the American Public Transit Association at this site.
Share information with employees about how to connect with other carpoolers who are commuting along similar routes. This includes carpooling and ridesharing specific to the organization and any city and town programs that may exist.
Distribute information to employees about local bicycle trails and safe walking routes.
As you consider which alternative transportation methods to encourage at your organization, remember that incentives are a compelling way to bring about behavior change. Possible incentives include:
- Charitable contributions to organizations of the employee’s choice
- Additional vacation days
- Cash rewards
- Special parking spaces
- Step One: Offer public transit benefits.
- Step Two: Subsidize bicycling and walking costs and make these easier options to adopt.
Implement transit benefits. There are tax benefits for employers who provide transit subsidies to their employees. Click here for information on this topic from the IRS. Use public transit for company errands when possible. Choose the bus or train for longer distance travel to conferences and meetings in place of airline travel, as these options are much more energy efficient.
You can also advocate for public transit in your neighborhood by getting involved in local transportation planning issues.
Provide a subsidy to yourself and or your employees for biking to work and biking supplies. Provide a secure place to store bicycles. Provide a shower room for employees. Promote bike to work month, May, in your business. More information on the League of American Bicyclists site here.
Resources for More Information
- Public Transit Guides: Click here to search by state and local area.
- This site provides long-distance trip matching: http://www.erideshare.com/
- The IRS provides tax credits to employers for employees who commute by bicycle. Scroll down to ‘Qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement’ after clicking here.
- More information on the benefits of bicycle commuting for small businesses, and many creative ideas on how to set up a bike program can be found by clicking here at the Bike Sonoma website.
- Links to state bicycle information can be found at this site.
- More information on the benefits of cycling found at the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.
- Read the GreenBiz article, “Ten Ways to Make Your Business Bike-Friendly.”
Alternative modes of transportation can reduce stress and traffic. They can save employees money on fuel and improve air quality.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has an online newsletter with several stories about innovative biking and walking initiatives around the country. You can view their newsletters here: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/newsletter/
Air Pollution: Air pollution comes from many different sources such as factories, power plants, dry cleaners, cars, buses, trucks and even windblown dust and wildfires. Air pollution can threaten the health of human beings, trees, lakes, crops, and animals, as well as damage the ozone layer and buildings. Air pollution also can cause haze, reducing visibility in national parks and wilderness areas.
Alternative Modes of Transportation: Modes of transportation other than driving a single-occupancy vehicle (e.g., carpooling, mass transit, biking, walking, etc.).