Employers Have the Power to Cut Single-Occupancy Trips - Government Technology

Changing commuter behavior is not just about engaging with drivers heading to work, but their employers as well.

This has been the approach taken in Columbus, Ohio, where the Smart Columbus program is working to reduce single-occupancy trips by boosting public transit ridership and electric vehicle adoption, among other reforms.

Part of this transformative effort established the Ignite Action Fund, a roughly $600,000 pot of money to seed programming aimed at developing traffic reduction programs within companies. The fund was created to get "companies committed to the program, get them to move,” said Jordan Davis, director of Smart Columbus for the Columbus Partnership in Ohio.

Officials with Smart Columbus reached out to large employers like J.P. Morgan Chase, which employs more than 20,000 workers across two campuses in the city, to have them explore opportunities that would result in workers driving less. Some of those changes included tweaks to new employee orientation about bus schedules or fares and even other mobility options like car-pooling.

“We wanted to help spur a rebalance of this culture,” said Davis. Smart Columbus helped to fund some of these “drive less” activities.

“What we’ve seen now is a lot of the programs that we started with this are now becoming the norm, and they’ve been able to justify that it works through a pilot. And so now, it’s a normal benefit that they can fund and scale in the company,” said Davis.

Working from within the business organization is also the approach taken by Share, a new “mobility-as-a-service” provider in Columbus. The company provides scheduled shared rides to destinations like workplaces, with pick-ups at “virtual bus stops” or in some cases, the rider’s front door. Share partners with businesses and other organizations to set up the service for their workers. The rides are booked in advance through the Share app.

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