Washington, D.C. – Three companies within the metropolitan Washington region – ICF International, Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., and TCG – were honored today at the National Press Club by Commuter Connections for their outstanding commuting options and alternatives for employees. Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, focuses on making alternatives to drive-alone commuting practical and attractive.
Each of the companies voluntarily implemented strategies to support alternatives to driving to work alone, such as carpooling/vanpooling, teleworking, walking, bicycling and taking public transit. Such alternatives help reduce gasoline consumption, ease traffic congestion and the stress that long commutes place on employees, and provide for cleaner air through reduced auto emissions.
“We are honoring the winners here today because they have put in place innovative and successful commuter benefit programs that have changed the commuting culture within their workplaces. Because of their initiative, these organizations are making positive contributions to the quality of life for their employees and the region’s residents as a whole,” said David Snyder, Falls Church City Councilmember and TPB Chair. “We thank them for their commitment to reducing traffic congestion and improving the quality of the air we breathe.”
Social & Scientific Systems, Inc. (SSS), an employee-owned company focused on improving public health around the world, won an award for marketing for their innovative and multifaceted approach to promoting alternatives to drive-alone commuting.
TCG, which specializes in providing tailored information technology services and solutions for small businesses, was recognized by Commuter Connections for its telework program.
ICF International, a global professional services firm that partners with government and commercial clients to deliver consulting services and technology solutions, was awarded for offering a wide variety of commuting incentives to encourage the use of public transit, ridesharing, bicycling and teleworking.
More detailed explanations of the winning organizations are provided below.
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. Commuter Connections also manages the Guaranteed Ride Home program, which provides peace of mind for commuters using alternatives to driving alone by providing a free ride home in the event of an emergency.
2010 Commuter Connections Employer Recognition Award winners:
ICF International: Fairfax, Virginia (Incentives Award); Contact: Steven Anderson, 703.934.3847
2,200 employees. The center point of its transit program is a shuttle bus providing service between the Vienna Metro station and office headquarters. The ICF shuttle is combined with a pre-tax transit benefit up to $120 per month and a monthly subsidy of $50. In 2009, a total of 448 employees received the subsidy, a 20% increase from 2008. ICF has been a staunch supporter of bicycling and the Bike to Work Day event for many years. To support their own pedalers, ICF provides bicycle racks as well as showers and lockers. Based on a 2008 commuter survey, 10% of ICF employers either walk, bike or use carpools to get to work. ICF has a formal telework policy with about 200 employees telecommuting on a full-time basis, while others telework one to two days per week. The program allows flexible scheduling and provides laptops to employees. Employees are also reimbursed for work-related cell phone/PDA expenses. The total savings per year for ICF employees based on alternative transportation methods, including telework, is approximately 11.9 million vehicle miles and 600,000 gallons of fuel annually.
Social & Scientific Systems, Inc: Silver Spring, Maryland (Marketing Award); Contact: Robin Goudy, 301.628-3023
450 employees. Serving as a member of the Silver Spring Transportation Management District Advisory Committee, SSS actively engages with the Montgomery County Commuter Services team, allowing employees to be kept up to date about the latest commuting trends and changes. Postings on their intranet site, SSSence, and the weekly staff newsletter have been key areas for marketing the transportation programs throughout the company on a regular basis. SSS also motivates employees by participating in events, such as the annual Bike to Work Day, and by disseminating the Annual Commuter Survey. SSS offers employees up to $65 per month in direct subsidy through Super FareShare. Since winning an Employer Recognition Award from Commuter Connections in 2003, SSS has added showers and lockers to encourage bicycling and offers a $50 credit to employees for commuting by bicycle. As a result of developing a robust transportation program and proactively marketing and promoting it, participation has accounted for an estimated reduction of 700,000 vehicle miles traveled each year and a savings of 34,000 gallons of gasoline annually.
TCG: Washington, D.C. (Telework Award); Contact: Julius Ermis, 202.742.8476
36 employees. Telecommuting and flexible work arrangements have been in place at TCG since its inception in 1994. Using cutting edge technologies, employees transparently work at different federal agency work-sites and from home based offices. Employees who telework at least two days per week are provided with a computer, two monitors, a printer (if necessary), and other additional equipment and software where required. All staff members are provided with a VoIP (voice over IP) extension. Those who work at home one day or more each week also get a VoIP phone, creating a virtual office phone system. TCG staff can use these phones anywhere with internet access. Employees working from home receive reimbursement for their internet provider expenses. More than 58% of TCG's employees work from home full-time while many others telework at least one day per week. The telework policy has allowed TCG to reduce its parking facilities to serve just two cars in downtown D.C., a major cost saving for the company. As a result of cost savings and work-life benefits brought on by its telework policy, TCG’s employee retention rate is 96%. TCG estimates annual vehicle mile reductions of 244,500, and a savings of 12,348 gallons of gasoline per year.