Commuter Connections provides complimentary information on a host of employer programs to assist your organization in determining which commuting options work best for your organization and your employees.
Commuter Connections Employer Services representatives will help your organization and employees find transportation solutions that will not only make your organization more successful, but improve the economic vitality and quality of life of the entire region.
Whether your company is located in Tysons, Bethesda, or on Capitol Hill, you have a local Commuter Connections representative who knows your specific region and the programs available to assist your employees with their transportation needs. Your local representative will work on site with you to help you realize the bottom-line benefits of commute alternatives.
Take a look at the Overview of Services tab below to see the various services that Commuter Connections offers to employers.
Five Simple Steps to Commute Solutions
1. Use our Employer Services Request Form to request an appointment, obtain additional program information, or ask questions. You can also call a representative at 1-800-745-RIDE.
2. Meet with your local Commuter Connections representative to assess company and employee transportation needs.
3. Conduct an employee commuting survey.
4. Meet with Commuter Connections representatives to review survey analysis and recommendations.
5. Implement commute strategies and incentives.
If you are interested in learning more about these or other incentives, obtaining brochures for your employees, or if you have any questions, use our Employer Services Request Form, or call us at 1-800-745-RIDE.
Easy Things You Can Do
Many employers have found that providing incentives that make an employee’s commute to work easier benefit both the employee and the company. Incentives may cost very little or nothing at all. Here are a few examples of some of the incentives you can provide to your employees.
- Have transit schedules, rideshare, and Guaranteed Ride Home information available to employees. Just having bus and rail information at the work site can be a tremendous help to employees, especially for those who do not use transit regularly. You never know when an employee may have to take their car in for repairs or when the area will get hit by a snowstorm. Having transit information available means employees can easily use other commute options when they cannot use their own vehicle.
- Preferential parking for carpools and vanpools. Reserve the parking spaces closest to the door as an incentive for carpools and vanpools. Or, if employees must pay for parking, offer a free space for carpools and vanpools.
- Host a commuting information day. Commuter Connections staff will come to your office and set up an information table in your lobby, cafeteria, or other high-activity areas. This allows employees to ask questions and receive information about their specific commute.
- Provide equitable parking and transit incentives. If your company offers free or reduced rate parking for employees, why not offer comparable incentives for employees who use transit? Give employees a choice between the parking incentive and the transit incentive. SmartBenefits is the easy way to offer a transit incentive. If you lease parking space, you may even save money by offering a transit incentive. Employers can also load the value of employee’s tax-free commute benefit onto a SmarTrip card through the SmartBenefits program
How Your Employees Benefit from Commute Alternatives
• Reduced commuting time and expenses
• Reduced wear-and-tear on personal vehicles
• Less stress
• More productive time while riding to and from work
• Flexible work schedules
• Access to time-saving HOV lanes
How Your Company Benefits from Commute Alternatives
• Improved employee productivity
• Improved morale
• Easier recruitment and retention
• Reduced parking and office space needs and costs
• Easier access and traffic flow at work site
• Reduced absenteeism and late arrivals
• Public recognition as a good corporate citizen
Below are a few case studies which illustrate how employers in the Washington DC metropolitan region can integrate commute transportation benefits into their overall benefits package. Offering commute benefit programs often help to increase recruitment and retention issues and improves the quality of life for your employees.
Falls Church, VA
Inova Health System is a non-profit network of 5 hospitals located in Northern Virginia. Inova Fairfax Medical campus is the main campus located in Falls Church.
National Harbor │Peterson Companies
National Harbor, MD
National Harbor is a development along the Potomac River in Oxon Hill, Prince George’s County, Maryland just south of Washington, D.C. near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. National Harbor is a 350-acre resort destination that includes the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Tanger Outlets, thousands of hotel rooms, hundreds of residential and office units, tree-lined promenades with scores of popular shops and restaurants, a marina, and The Capital Wheel – a 180-foot observation wheel featuring panoramic views of the nation’s capital.
Consumer Technology Association
Originally founded as the Radio Manufacturers Association in 1924 the association is the standards and trade association for the consumer electronics industry in the United States.
Mathematica Policy Research
Employee-owned Mathematica Policy Research (MPR) is a nationwide organization with five divisions: data analytics, health, human services, international research, and survey. Providing program evaluation and policy research, survey design and data collection, program performance, data management, and research assessment.
Leidos is a spin-off of Science Applications International Corporation, formed in 2013 to provide scientific, engineering, systems integration, and technical services for government clients.
National Academies of Science
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.
Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
Host Hotels is located in Bethesda. A hotel and resort developer and operator with properties around the world the company wants to provide a positive experience for its clients and employees.
SMECO is an electric cooperative serving Charles, St. Mary’s, Calvert, and part of Prince George’s counties. SMECO has three locations in Maryland: two in Hughesville and one in Leonardtown with 534 employees.
Patton Boggs, LLP
Squire Patton Boggs is a leader in public policy, litigation and business law, and is well-known for deep bipartisan roots in the political arena. The firm’s core practice areas are government relations and lobbying, administrative and regulatory, commercial and transactional, litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property and international law.
MITRE is a not-for-profit company that operates multiple research and development centers funded by the federal government. MITRE provides innovative, practical solutions for some of the nation’s most critical challenges in defense and intelligence, aviation, civil systems, homeland security, the judiciary, healthcare, and cyber-security.
Lockheed Martin Federal Systems
Lockheed Martin Federal Systems is a government contractor with many employment sites throughout the DC region and the country. Lockheed provides support to federal agencies in technical support, aerospace, and security.
United Nations Foundation
Created in 1998, the United Nations Foundation (UNF) helps support the UN’s causes, activities, and policies by assisting in solving problems the UN faces around the world. UNF encourages the use of public transportation and promotes alternative commuting at its DC location through the human resources department.
Wells Fargo is a leader in mortgage lending and financial services across the country. The Frederick location has 1,600 employees with varying commute options to the large campus.
Corporate Sponsorship Benefits:
- Excellent branding opportunity
- Provides traffic to your retail store/website
- Boosts revenue by creating new and recurring customers
- Identifies your organization as good public stewards of a redeeming cause
For questions about how you can become a Commuter Connections sponsor, please contact us at 800 745-7433 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and ask for the marketing manager. See below for the various types of sponsorship opportunities available.
Commuter Connections is always looking for more corporate sponsors to provide free or discount coupons to reward commuters who use alternative methods of transportation and who sign up for our popular and reliable Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program. The coupons serve as a thank you to commuters for doing the right thing by decreasing traffic congestion and pollution. After registering for the free GRH program, commuters receive a membership card along with our corporate sponsor coupons. For example, we’ve had a leading retail ice cream shop as a sponsor, supplying new members with free ice cream cone coupons! Another example was a major quick oil change service that provided 50% off coupons.
Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association invite you to participate as a corporate sponsor for Bike to Work Day, the Washington region’s biggest Bike to Work Day event. Bike to Work Day encourages commuters to try bicycling to work as a clean and healthy alternative to solo driving. This popular region-wide event occurs each May. Celebrations occur at more than 100 “pit stop” locations in the District, Suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
This non-profit event is free and open to all commuters in the Washington area. It has grown enormously in the past several years, attracting over 18,000 cyclists annually. Participants who join in the festivities each year receive free T-shirts, refreshments, giveaway prizes and a chance to win bicycles. The region’s top elected officials and scores of volunteers support this worthwhile event each year.
To help make Bike to Work Day happen, we are asking for monetary donations from corporate sponsors to ensure we can continue with this terrific spring tradition. Each partnership level offers exciting promotional opportunities to let the public know that your organization supports bicycling as a viable means of transportation and that you are doing your part to ease traffic congestion, improve air quality, and promote healthy living in the region. In-kind donations such as refreshments and giveaway items are also welcome.
Car Free Day is held on September 22nd each year. It’s a worldwide event that encourages greener methods of travel; meaning ways to get around other than driving alone by car.
Commuter Connections hosts Car Free Day in the Washington, DC region to bring awareness to the benefits of travel options such as transit, bicycling and walking; and also telework for people that can work from home. Carpooling and vanpooling “car-lite” also count, both are at least twice as better for the environment than driving alone.
Using more sustainable ways to get around helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion. The more people who travel using bicycles, buses, trains, walking, carpools and vanpools, the less harmful pollutants are released into the atmosphere.
The focus of Car Free Day is not just about commuters, as all are welcome to take the Car Free Day pledge, whether a Washington DC region resident, commuter or student.
To help incentivize and reward those who take the online pledge to participate in Car Free Day, we’ll automatically enter them into a prize raffle. That’s where sponsors come in. In exchange for a substantial prize of at least $100 or more, we’ll place your logo on the event website, plug your company on social media, and on the press release.
Description of Annual Awards Program
The Commuter Connections Annual Employer Recognition Awards Program recognizes employers who have voluntarily initiated programs that facilitate the use of alternative commuting methods such as transit, teleworking, carpooling/vanpooling and bicycling. These methods help to mitigate traffic congestion and provide for cleaner air through reduced auto emissions.
Eligible employer programs include those that marketed alternative commuting options, initiated a successful telework program, or provide incentives that make using alternative transportation modes easier and more attractive than driving alone. Applicants are evaluated and winners are chosen for their ability to offer measurable commuter benefits that reduce automobile fuel consumption and emissions through fewer vehicle trips and miles traveled. In addition, winners are selected for their altruistic policies that have improved the lives of their employees and the region.
Incentives Commuter incentives reward and encourage employees for taking alternative means of commuting. They also help to attract and retain employees. Incentives and commuter benefits can come in many forms such as transit and vanpool subsidies, pre-tax transit and vanpool passes and preferred or discounted parking for carpools and vanpools. Other incentives might include offering flex-time schedules or the provision of facilities and equipment such as showers and lockers for those who bike or walk to work, on-site amenities, free shuttle service or laptops for teleworkers.
Marketing Promoting the merits of ridesharing, transit and teleworking within a company is an essential part of a successful commuter program. Companies who educate and advocate alternative commuting options enjoy high employee participation rates in such methods. With knowledge of the available choices, employees are empowered to make well-informed decisions about better and smarter ways to get to work. They arrive less stressed and more able to start their productive day. Marketing of commuter information and available benefits clearly serves as an influential aspect behind helping to change commuter drive-alone patterns.
Teleworking Teleworking at home, or at a local telework center, allows employees to dramatically reduce or completely eliminate the time and money spent commuting to-and-from work, one or more days per week. For employers, savings may come in the form of reduced overhead such as office space costs and parking. In addition, telecommuting provides for lower absenteeism, higher productivity and helps businesses attract and retain qualified employees.
Employer Services Local Representatives
|Alexandria GO Alex||(703) 626-7247|
|Arlington County c/o Arlington Transportation Partners||(703) 247-2417|
|Bethesda Transportation Solutions||(301) 656-0868|
|District of Columbia / goDCgo||(202) 299-2186|
|Dulles-Area Transportation Association||(703) 817-1307|
|Fairfax County RideSources – Employer Services||(703) 877-5900|
|Frederick County c/o Ecologix Group||(301) 600-3543|
|Loudoun County Commuter Services||(703) 737-8044|
|Maryland Transit Administration||(410) 767-8747|
|Montgomery County Commuter Services||(240) 773-2989|
|North Bethesda Transportation Center||(301) 770-8108|
|Prince George’s County||(301) 577-0887|
|Prince William County||(703) 580-6130|
|Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland||(301) 870-2520|
|Tysons Partnership||(703) 676-3640|
|Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) – SmartBenefits Sales||(202) 962-2784|
Click here to see locations where you can purchase regional and local bus and rail tokens, tickets, passes, and farecards in person, by e-mail or online.
Click here to access the latest quarterly Employer Services regional newsletter.
Q: How do I set up a program for our employees? A: Contact your local employer outreach representative who can assist you in setting a program for your worksite. Click here: https://www.commuterconnections.org/employers/
Q: What programs are available for our company to put into place? A: Depending upon your geographical location, there are many programs that are available for implementation at your worksite. Click here: https://www.commuterconnections.org/employers/ to contact your local Employer Services Representatives to find more.
Q: How do I set up a SmarBenefits program? A: Commuter Connections partners with WMATA in assisting employers setting up a SmarBenefits program for their employees. There are several options for consideration Click here: Smartrip: https://www.wmata.com/fares/smartrip/
To view the Online Newsletter, click here.
How Commuter Connections Can Help Your Organization
Commuter Connections offers a variety of services and programs designed to help your organization provide smarter commute solutions to your employees.
Commuter Connections offers the following services to employers. These services provide important information to employers so that organizations can offer the most appropriate commuter solutions to their employees.
On-site transportation assessments
Confidential employee commute surveys
Mapping of employee residence patterns
Commuter Connections offers the following programs listed below. Employers may take advantage of these programs to provide their employees with alternative commute options. Commuter Connections Employer Services representatives can provide assistance with developing and implementing alternative commute programs and incentives for your organization. Additionally, your Employer Services representative will provide program follow-up and support to ensure that your initiatives are successful.
- Telework program development
- Transit information, including SmartBenefits
- Bicycle commute program development
- Work schedule alternatives development
- Parking Management strategies based on an evaluation of the current parking situation
- Emergency Preparedness plan development
- Air Quality Action Days program development
- Guaranteed Ride Home program registration and information
- Computerized Ridematching for carpools and vanpools
- Assistance for LEED Certification related to transportation
- On-site rideshare promotions and displays
- New employee commute options information
- Corporate relocation assistance
- Training an on-site transportation manager
- Commuter program coordination with nearby companies
Want to collaborate more with other employers in the region? Join the Commuter Connections LinkedIn page.
Air Quality Action Days are called when air quality in the Baltimore/Washington region is expected to reach unhealthy levels. These days occur during the summer months when hot, humid, and stagnant weather conditions contribute to the formation of air pollution. Poor air quality affects children, individuals with respiratory and heart ailments, and older adults. Even healthy people can experience problems associated with high levels of air pollution.
When an Air Quality Action Day is forecasted, all participants are either emailed or faxed an unhealthy air alert. The media is also notified. On unhealthy days, we ask individuals and organizations to take action to protect their health and also to reduce air pollution.
Public and private sector Air Quality Action Days participants have agreed to develop voluntary Air Quality Action Day plans. These plans range from notifying employees and customers of an Air Quality Action Day to rescheduling operational activities. Air Quality Action Days empower government agencies, businesses, and residents in the Baltimore/Washington region to do their share for cleaner air. During Air Quality Action Days, all sectors of the community will be called on to take voluntary actions to reduce air pollution. Every action makes a difference!
Interested in starting an Air Quality Action Day program at your organization? Visit the Clean Air Partners website for further information.
Support Work Schedule Alternatives
Employer-sponsored flextime and telecommuting can help reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and crowding on Metro during peak commuting times.
What are Work Schedule Alternatives?
The most common time-management options for employers are variable work hours also called flextime and compressed workweek schedules. Flextime programs, in which employees are given the option of adjusting their arrival and departure times, are proven ways to reduce congestion at peak travel times. Compressed work schedules (such as a four-day, 40 hour work week) can eliminate commuting altogether one day a week for many employees. Companies with such programs report less absenteeism, fewer late employees, and less use of sick leave.
Advantages of Flextime and Compressed Work Schedules
- Changes can be implemented company-wide or by the department
- Increased coverage for companies that communicate across time zones or whose customers require extended hours
- Employees travel to and from work with less stress during off-peak hours
- Less use of leave time due to greater flexibility in planning personal and medical appointments
- Increases employee morale
- Employees can choose to work during their most productive hours (flextime)
- Reduces spot congestion at work site entrances
How Commuter Connections Can Help Your Company
- Identify job types best suited to alternative work schedules
- Advise on issues related to schedule changes (legal, union contracts, etc.)
- Survey employees and managers for planning input
- Recommend program policies and procedures
- Develop a pilot program and evaluate results
If you’re interested in setting up a flexible or compressed work schedule, Commuter Connections can help. Use our Employer Services Request Form or call us at 1-800-745-RIDE.
Commuting Solutions for Washington Area Employers
Cycling is a healthy, quiet, clean, economical, and fun way for your employees to get to work. Thousands of DC area employees bicycle to work every day. Commuter Connections offers support and information to employers so they can encourage this smarter way to work
Bike To Work Day
Bike to Work Day is an annual event that encourages commuters to ride their bikes to work as an alternative mode of travel. Pit stops are located throughout the DC metropolitan region that provides refreshments, giveaways, and even music! To learn more about Bike to Work Day, visit www.biketoworkmetrodc.org.
Employer Bicycling Guide
To view or print a pdf copy of the bicycling employer guide, click the image below:
How will your employees get back to work after a natural disaster or regional catastrophe? In today’s uncertain world, it is essential for every organization to have a plan to cope with an emergency situation.
While each emergency situation is unique, it is still possible to prepare for such situations. Any organization can be prepared if it plans carefully and puts emergency procedures in place for dealing with a variety of emergency situations. Careful planning and preparedness can go a long way in an organization’s ability to recover after a major disruption.
How Commuter Connections Can Help
One of the most daunting challenges for organizations and companies following a disaster is finding commuting options for their employees so that the organization can continue to function. Your local Commuter Connections Employer Services representative can help your organization create a plan for coping with an emergency situation.
While Commuter Connections will work with your organization or company to create an emergency preparedness plan tailored to your organization, there are several recommended strategies that organizations can consider:
• Emergency Situation Carpool Formation
• Emergency Work Schedules
• Public Transportation
• Bicycling and Walking
For more information or for help in creating an emergency preparedness plan, contact your local Commuter Connections Employer Services representative, use our Employer Services Request Form or call us at 1-800-745-RIDE.
Studies show that approximately 70% of Washington area workers drive to work by themselves. Every car needs a parking space, and this can be a major expense for businesses though it’s often free to employees. Surface parking may run $2,000 per space per year, and underground garage parking can be more than $20,000 per space.
How Commuter Connections Can Help
Commuter Connections can help you evaluate your current parking policies and suggest ways to reduce or reallocate parking space to the benefit of your company, its employees, and its customers and clients. Our programs can help you increase your workforce without increasing your facility costs. In some cases, Commuter Connections can work with you on zoning requirements for alternative parking proposals.
The Parking Connections
Those who have to drive to make a connection to public transportation may be eligible for the parking connections benefit. In recent years, residential growth and expansion have occurred away from the downtown urban areas, making it difficult to rely solely on mass transit. Commuters can enjoy tax-free incentives for driving when the automobile is a part of the commute trip, and mass transit is used for the remainder of the trip. For instance, the eligible parking benefit may be up to $255 per month to pay for parking at a location from which employees commute by public transportation, such as a park and ride lot, transit station or facility or vanpool staging area. Employers can pay for the benefit and receive an equivalent deduction from business income taxes. Your employees will receive the benefit completely free of all Federal payroll and income taxes up to $255 limit. Eligible parking costs may be provided as a direct benefit, a pre-tax deduction, or as a shared expense. The same tax savings, reduced payroll costs, and program flexibility apply to eligible parking expenses.
Cash out and Convert..
Many employers provide free or subsidized parking for employees, making it more economical for the employees to commute by automobile. The goal is to make it as economical for employees to use mass transit. If you only provide parking and your employees want to take advantage of public transportation and other alternatives, establishing a parking “cash out” program may be the appropriate choice. Your employees may forego parking and cash out the value of the parking benefit. The value of the parking benefit will be subject to taxes. However, if the value is converted to transit or eligible vanpool benefits, up to $255 of the amount converted will not be subject to taxes.
There is no real cost to employers if they are leasing parking spaces for employees. They may simply transfer the cost for the parking space to a direct payment to employees. Should an employee decide to accept the cash value rather than a tax-free transit or vanpool benefit, the amount is treated, as additional compensation and they also would incur payroll and income taxes. If the cash-out value is greater than $255, employees could accept a tax-free transit or vanpool benefit and receive the balance in taxable salary. The employer will have to pay payroll taxes on the taxable portion of the cash out benefit provided. To offset that cost, simply lower the cashout amount by your share of the payroll taxes as follows
Cost of Parking Space $270
Payroll taxes (15)
Cash out Offer $260
The employees could apply the additional compensation towards costs associated with commuting modes that are not considered qualified transportation fringe benefits, such as walking, bicycling, carpooling, or rollerblading to work. Cash out provides an incentive for your employees to try other commuting alternatives. The tax status of employees who continue receiving the parking benefit would not be affected. For more information on Parking Cash-Out please Click here
Commuter Connections can work with you to set up alternate work schedules and teleworking programs that may greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for some parking spaces. Setting up a ridesharing program such as carpooling or vanpooling can equally consolidate your parking requirements. And, we can show your ridesharing employees where the closest park-and-ride lots are throughout the metro area. Also, encouraging employees to use public transit whenever possible eliminates the need for expensive parking spaces. Most likely a combination of the above strategies will best work for your company.
If you’re interested in Commuter Connections employer services to help you investigate cost-effective parking management programs, use our easy Employer Services Request Form or call us at 1-800-745-RIDE.
Teleworking, also known as telecommuting, means using information technology and telecommunications to replace work-related travel. Simply put, it means working at home or closer to home. With teleworking, employees work at home, a local telework center, or an employer’s satellite office one or more days per week. Communication is accomplished by phone, fax, email, and teleconferencing. Regionally, more than 500,000 workers are going to work simply by picking up the phone or turning on their computers. This workplace alternative pays real dividends for area businesses and their employees, while reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, increasing the area’s economic vitality, and bolstering the overall quality of life.
Join us and other teleworkers on Commuter Connection’s Telework Facebook Page
Commuter Connections helps employers establish a variety of commuting alternative programs for their employees.