Three companies within the Washington region; Consumer Electronics Association, Tysons Corner Center, and Noblis were honored today at the National Press Club by Commuter Connections for their outstanding commute/telework offerings for employees. Commuter Connections is a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
All programs were voluntarily initiated by the companies to support alternatives to driving to work alone such as carpooling/vanpooling, teleworking, bicycling and taking public transit. These methods help reduce gasoline consumption, ease traffic congestion and provide for cleaner air through reduced auto emissions.
“The employers we are honoring today have implemented innovative and successful commuter benefit programs and have changed the culture within their workplaces. As a result, they are making positive contributions to the quality of life for their employees and the region’s residents. We thank them for their commitment to reducing traffic congestion and improving the air we breathe,” said David Snyder, First Vice-Chair of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board.
Tysons Corner Center of McLean won an award for marketing their “Access Tysons” program that increased employee participation in transit by 10 percent, contributing to 610,000 fewer vehicle miles traveled. Noblis, a non-profit organization in Falls Church, was recognized by Commuter Connections for its telework program. Noblis currently has 145 (22%) employees that telework an average of 1.8 days per week and 26 employees that Telework full-time reducing 450,000 vehicle miles traveled and 20,000 gallons of gas per year. Arlington based Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) won an Employer Recognition Award by offering a wide variety of commuting incentives to encourage the use of public transit or carpooling. In order to decrease commute times, CEA also encourages employees to live and work in Arlington County by providing an interest free mortgage assistance loan of up to $25,000. CEA’s commute programs reduced approximately 500,000 vehicle miles traveled per year.
Commuter Connections works closely with local businesses to educate and promote alternatives to drive alone commuting practices of employees. With free assistance from Commuter Connections, employers can offer a wide array of commuting options from transit subsidies or pre-tax benefits to telework and ridesharing programs.
2009 Commuter Connections Employer Recognition Award winners:
Consumer Electronics Association, Arlington, Virginia (Incentives Award)
135 employees total. Consumer Electronics Association established a commuter benefits program that offers employees a variety of incentives including a $120 per month subsidy for public transit or vanpools. Other benefits include free or reduced parking for carpools, reimbursement for 50 percent of internet costs for teleworkers, and showers, lockers and bicycle storage for employees who walk or bicycle to work. Based on CEA’s desire to decrease commute times, they encourage employees to live and work in Arlington County by providing an interest free mortgage assistance loan of up to $25,000. As a result of the company’s various commuting incentives offered, 37 percent of CEA’s employees commute primarily using public transit or vanpools and 40 percent telework at least one day per week, leading to an estimated reduction of approximately 500,000 vehicle miles traveled per year and a savings of 25,000 gallons of gas.
Tysons Corner Center, McLean, Virginia (Marketing Award)
5,500 employees total. Through its Access Tysons program, Tysons Corner Center conducted a commuter survey of its employees to learn about their commuting habits. Commuter toolkits were tailored to individual needs and distributed to employees. Postcards, flyers, brochures and maps were also distributed to continue the marketing efforts. Online components also included ridematching, trip tracking, commuter calculator and a trip planner. As a result, retail-tenant relationships and employee morale improved. Based on their efforts, Tysons Corner Center has seen a 10 percent increase among employees who use public transit and carpools based on a survey comparison from year to year. This increase led to 610,000 fewer vehicle miles.
Noblis, Falls Church, VA (Telework Award)
658 employees total. Noblis introduced a telework program in 2000. It was anticipated that the program could contribute to increased productivity and decreased employer and employee costs. Results have been positive and the program is credited with attracting and retaining talented staff. Today, 22 percent of employees telework an average of 1.8 days per week, and 26 employees telework full-time. Participation has steadily increased over the last few years as there was a 29 percent jump in participation in 2007 which climbed by another 18 percent in 2008. Teleworkers are supplied with laptops by the company. Teleworking has led to an estimated reduction of 448,889 vehicle miles traveled, 411,825 pounds of carbon dioxide, and 20,591 gallons of gas per year. According to a company-wide survey, Noblis employees rated telecommuting as one of the most important benefits they have and that it is a motivating factor for employees to work at higher levels.