RTA Board votes to fund Commute Options program, through which area employers provide incentives to help workers drive less
April 19, 2012
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board voted on Wednesday to approve a one-year contract with the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) for employee Commute Options services. A federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant is funding 80 percent of the $75,000 contract, and no more than 20 percent or $15,000 will come from RTA funds.
Commute Options is a pilot program led by MPC through which 11 employers in metropolitan Chicago are providing options and incentives to encourage their employees to trade driving solo to work for a different type of commute. For each participating employer, MPC conducts an upfront survey and evaluation of their employees (at no cost to the employer), using the results to craft a customized program that encourages as many employees as possible to choose alternatives to driving alone. The program began in late 2010 and is based on similar Transportation Demand Management programs around the country.
Through the one-year contract with MPC, the RTA seeks to continue the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Commute Options strategies. MPC will assist RTA with recruiting employers located in geographies prioritized by the RTA priority initiative of increasing transit utilization; provide free Commute Options consulting services to RTA-prioritized employers that focus on pre-tax transit benefits, reverse commutes, and Pace RideShare and Vanpool programs; and coordinate support to the RTA’s planning effort to establish a regional Transportation Demand Management program.
“There is no doubt that providing public transportation with incentive programs and vehicle sharing programs are effective ways to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality," said Joe Costello, RTA Executive Director. “Broadening the Commute Options program regionally will promote our transit system’s priorities to achieve greater mobility, maximize use of the system and enhance the customer experience."
“Everyone in our region pays the price of a lower quality of life caused by traffic congestion,” said Metropolitan Planning Council President MarySue Barrett. “Through the Commute Options program, employers are playing a significant role in unlocking gridlock and improving regional air quality, while improving employee satisfaction and retention and decreasing company costs.”
Community partners: Active Transportation Alliance, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Clean Air Counts, Civic Consulting Alliance, REACH Counselors, Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Compass Strategy, Chicago Water Taxi