Set Your Organization's Commuter Baseline
For this 2018 competition, the transportation actions are designed to help employers increase sustainable employee commutes and measure reductions in commuter emissions. Employers engaging with employees about their transportation habits can save money, reduce traffic congestion, mitigate air quality impacts related to particulate matter and ground-level ozone emissions, and cut down CO2e and greenhouse gas emissions.
Creating incentives for alternative commutes helps employees by making it easier to make the sustainable choice. An example (See action T18: Utilize the Commuter Choice pre-tax benefit) is subsidizing the cost of alternative transit for anyone that commutes by public transportation. Katharine Eagan Kelleman, CEO of Port Authority of Allegheny County, noted:
"Port Authority applauds the participating companies encouraging their employees to strive for a cleaner and healthier Pittsburgh. Our JobPerks program, which allows customers to purchase monthly passes or stored cash value with pre-tax dollars, and our partnership with HealthyRide, which provides ConnectCard holders free 15-minute bike rentals, makes living a green lifestyle even easier."
To learn more about tax incentives, you can see the IRS employer guide to fringe benefits here.
To reduce commuter impacts and combat traffic congestion, employers can also advocate for employees to join ride sharing programs like CommuteInfo. (See action T8: Encourage employees to sign up for CommuteInfo.) According to Ronda Craig, Southwestern PA Commission, CommuteInfo Outreach Specialist:
"Employers that recognize traffic congestion as key indicators for workers arriving late, frustration and stress, long work commutes, and loss of personal time can implement ride sharing strategies through CommuteInfo. It has shown to be effective in higher retention rates, plus happier and healthier employees."
CommuteInfo also provides employer consultation to help identify strategies specific to your organization. See action T3: Kick off with a "Getting Started" orientation with CommuteInfo for details.
More than 30 Challenge participants have set a Transportation baseline by distributing the employee transportation survey, with more than 2,500 survey responses received so far. Sustainable Pittsburgh will use these responses to award points for employees already taking sustainable commutes, as well as to assess opportunities to reduce commuter-related impacts.
In the SP Challenge, employers can encourage commuter mode shifts with actions:
- T2 (Pledge to increase your sustainable commutes)
- T8 (Encourage employees to sign up for CommuteInfo)
- T12 (Create a rideshare board and policy for non-commuting trips)
Set your organization's baseline (Action T1: Set your organization's baseline) by April 30 by distributing the Transportation Survey link to employees.