DC Councilmember and TPB Vice Chair Tommy Wells was the Emcee of the 16th Annual Employer Recognition Awards ceremony
Washington, D.C. – Today, local business leaders and elected officials attended the 16th Annual Employer Recognition Awards ceremony hosted by the Metropolitan Council of Governments’ Commuter Connections program to recognize employers whose commuter benefits programs were judged to be the best in the region. This year’s winners, selected from a competitive field of nominees, are the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD; the United Nations Foundation in Washington, DC; and the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, VA.
For 16 years, the Employer Recognition Awards have helped raise the bar for transportation benefits offered by employers in this region. We are pleased to recognize this year’s winners for continuing to demonstrate their commitment to improving the quality of life in this region by promoting innovative transportation benefits that can reduce the cost of commuting for employees, the number of cars on the road and their emissions,” said Nicholas Ramfos, Commuter Connections Director. “Congratulations and thanks to all the winners. It is estimated that they have saved their employees’ fuel consumption by more than 3 million gallons per year and reduced more than 60 million vehicle miles traveled annually.”
This year’s winners demonstrate exceptional dedication to promoting and advancing transportation alternatives to reduce gasoline consumption, traffic congestion, and improve air quality by reducing auto emissions. Winners were named in the Incentives, Marketing, and Telework award categories:
Incentives—National Institutes of Health, (Bethesda, MD) — Since 1993, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been providing its employees with incentives to encourage the use of transportation alternatives. Approximately 12,500 of its 23,000 employees participate in the Institute’s commuting alternatives program. The NIH provides incentives including transit subsidies. In an effort to promote teleworking, the NIH developed the Telework & Flexible Work Schedules Working Group and sponsored a Telework Festival. It also offers on-site facilities for bicyclists and walkers. NIH is also one of the first Federal agencies to offer a Bicycle Subsidy Program as an incentive, and the Institute is a champion for Commuter Connections’ Bike to Work Day, with 590 employees participating in this year’s event.
Marketing—United Nations Foundation (Washington, DC) — The success of employee participation in the United Nations Foundation’s (UNF) commuter benefits program rests on a focused marketing strategy that generates awareness and encourages trial and adoption of more sustainable methods of getting to and from work. To keep its 207 employees, and new hires informed, UNF promotes the program through a human resources information system, signage, Intranet site, email blasts, a suggestion box, employee orientation, and one on one employee feedback sessions. As a result, 187 employees actively participate in the commuter program. UNF also supports bicycle safety and awareness in collaboration with their insurance provider, to offer discounts and promote a walking club that encourages nearby employees to walk to work. Those who cannot commute by bicycling or walking to work are provided up to a $245 monthly subsidy to encourage the use of transit.
Telework—Council of Better Business Bureaus (Arlington, VA) — For more than 10 years, the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) has offered its employees a telework program. Initially an informal, case-by-case program, CBBB instituted its formal program in May 2011. With 89 employees, CBBB currently has 83 participating in the telework program. With such a large percentage of its workforce off-site, CBBB was able to decrease its physical work space, resulting in $5 million in total savings over a 10-year period. CBBB also ensures its teleworking team can transition seamlessly to their home offices, providing them with laptops, monitors, docking stations, VOIP phones, and other equipment. With an increase in morale and flexibility, CBBB saw a decrease in absenteeism for teleworkers.
“For nearly 40 years, Commuter Connections has provided a no-fee service to help employers establish commuting benefits and assistance programs, including telework/telecommute programs, for their employees,” said Nicholas Ramfos, Director, Commuter Connections. “Businesses of all sizes and types can benefit from Commuter Connections’ expertise to implement commuter benefits programs that can improve their ability to attract and retain skilled employees.”
Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at COG, focuses on making alternatives to drive-alone commuting practical, attractive and cost-effective. 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. These benefits also provide each participant with a better work/life balance and flexibility, which improves morale, absenteeism and productivity.
Commuter Connections works closely with local Washington-area 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. In addition they offer the ‘Pool Rewards incentive program which provides up to $130 in cash to drive alone commuters who start or join new carpools, and a $200 monthly subsidy to new vanpools.
For more details on this year’s list of winners, log on to www.commuterconnections.org.