Tools for Employers
1. How to get started
2. Employer Toolkit
3. Employee Promotions and Social Activities
4. Flexible Start Times for Employees
5. FlexPass Distribution
6. Green Business Leadership
8. Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit
9. Telework Options
10. Let’s Go News Email
11. Evaluations Toolkit
Movability Austin has developed a one-stop resource for Employers seeking to add a new mobility option through develop an entire program. There is easy step by step advice on planning, preparation and setup, including templates for HR policies and details on everything from enrolling employees in a transit pass program to telework polices is covered in the Toolkit. It is an invaluable resource and is free with your membership!
Changing habits is serious work and you will need fun, social, and interactive rewards for your accomplishments. The Movability team can help. Sign up for Let’s Go News to get specific information on each of these events as they are scheduled. When you are ready, let us know how we can help.
Social Opportunities to Learn
Rolling Lunches: We will arrange small practice sessions for you and your fellow employees to try out car2go/ZipCar, Bus/Train, Bikes/Electric Bikes, and other commuting alternatives.
101s: Does basic training sound boring? 101s are for you. Choose which topics you want addressed and Movability Austin will bring peppy and experienced trainers to help you and your peers master the basics and beyond.
There are literally dozens of groups rides every day and you can join any of them.
- Check out the Austin on Two Wheels Calendar – one of the best resources that advertises group rides in and around Austin.
There are a few special rides that combine light exercise with social destinations.
- Eileen’s Museums Loop: explore local museums while riding around town with fellow art lovers.
- Movabilty Meet-ups: happy hours, coffee shop meet-ups, and more!
Movability is developing partnerships with Austin’s most prominent events to help event goers with “no drive alone” options get in and around downtown.
- Occasionally this translates into benefits beyond a greener, healthier commute. For example, Art City Austin 2012 gave free entry to all participants who showed a transit pass or bicycle value ticket.
- Be in the know about Movability events and social happenings
- Engage with other green commuters by sharing videos, photos, and stories
- Stay up to date on the latest important information and news
Flexible start times help employees use their many commuting options, while rigid workday start and stop times may give employees no choice but to drive alone to work.
Policies that require fixed start times can be counter-productive to your efforts to get employees to use transit or to carpool or vanpool or bicycle. By making start times more flexible, you strengthen the impact of your employee transportation program, make it easier to achieve Commute Trip Reduction goals, and save money.
You also empower your employees by giving them the opportunity to select the commute option that works best for them. And when employees rideshare to work, they free up valuable parking for customers, clients and vendors.
Choose a better alternative.
Residents of Central Texas can take advantage of free ride matching services that match up individuals by where they live, where they work, and when they start work. Visit Commute Solutions for more information. Regional transit centers (Park&Ride)are a great place to catch the bus.
Capital Metro offers monthly discounted passes to employers to incentivize the use of public transportation. We are currently developing a comprehensive Business Transit Pass plan that will expand the existing program.
The Business Pass program aims to contribute toward the improvement of our environment through the reduction of car usage, air pollution, traffic congestion and land use waste.
To stay informed of our progress or for more information on how to become a Capital Metro Business Transit Pass partner contact the Business Development Manager at 512-369-6249 or send an email to Walter.Petticrew@capmetro.org. For all other information related to Capital Metro visit www.capmetro.org.
The Austin Green Business Leaders program was created by the City of Austin to support Austin businesses and their pursuit of sustainability. Whether you’re an established green business or just getting started, Austin Green Business Leaders can help your business protect the environment, save money, and make Austin a more livable place.
How Does it Work?
1: Sign up
Sign up and download the green business scorecard, a simple, step-by-step guide to greening your business
2: Go Green
The green business scorecard will help you identify what you’re doing well and where your business has room to improve. Its helpful tips and resources make it easy to take action in the seven performance areas.
3: Be Recognized
Return your completed scorecard to the City. Score well, and your business will be recognized as an Austin Green Business Leader and promoted by the City of Austin.
Seven Performance Areas
- Communications and Outreach
- Resource Management
- Transportation (Movability Austin can help!)
- Healthy Work Environment
- Community Stewardship
Did you know that a parking policy that provides free or discounted parking actually encourages individuals to commute by single occupancy vehicle?
Offering free or subsidized employee parking dilutes the impact of your transportation program, makes it more difficult to achieve Commute Trip Reduction goals, and wastes thousands of dollars. By modifying your parking policy, you motivate employees to use transit, carpool, vanpool, or choose other commute alternatives. And your new parking policy demonstrates your commitment to clean air, reducing congestion, and creating a better quality of life for our region.
Choose a better alternative.
Remove or reduce the incentive for employees to drive alone to work:
1. Eliminate or substantially reduce your parking subsidy, or
2. Eliminate free parking at your company lot.
Check the chart below for examples of parking policies changes that qualify for parking policy change incentive. When your company changes its parking policy, you can see for yourself that employee use of commute alternatives is influenced by the price of parking.
Travel Impacts (VPTI-TDM)
Shifting from free to cost-recovery parking (prices that reflect the full cost of providing parking facilities) typically reduces automobile commuting by 10-30%, particularly if implemented with improved Transportation Choices and other complementary TDM strategies (Comsis Corp., 1993; Hess, 2001). However, pricing parking in just one area may simply shift vehicle trips to other locations with little reduction in overall vehicle travel (Hensher and King, 2001). About 35% of drive-alone commuters would likely switch modes in response to $20 per month parking fees, even if offset by a transportation voucher (Kuppam, Pendyala and Gollakoti, 1999).
Increase your employees’ take-home pay without increasing your payroll!
As of January 2012, federal law allows your employees to use up to $125 per month ($1500 per year) of their pre-tax income to pay for commuting on public transit and in eligible vanpools plus up to $240 per month ($2880 per year) for qualified parking. You save on your payroll taxes and your employees lower their taxable income… it’s a win-win!
You can also “share the fare” and contribute all or a portion of your employees’ monthly fare, up to $125 per month. Employees can deduct their own pre-tax income to pay any difference in their commute costs. Note: the total amount set aside per employee cannot exceed the actual cost of the employee’s commute.
Four Easy Steps
1. Develop the plan
2. Recruit/enroll employees
3. Choose employment reimbursement method*
4. Promote the program
*Or choose a vendor to do it for you. If you want to outsource, vendors like ADP, Wage Works, and Paycheck can implement and administer the program for you.
*No IRS filings, no use it of lose it, no deadlines (start anytime during the year).
Businesses that offer telework can save money by increasing employee productivity and retention and reducing training costs while reducing the congestion impact drive alone commuters have on their community. Many employees would love the flexibility to work from home or a remote location closer to home, than to travel into work every day. With a little bit of planning, telework can become a win-win-win for companies, for employees and the region.
Mobile Work Exchange is a public-private partnership that can help you do the planning and make technology improvements to make sure telework is available to employees, while also providing the quality of interaction between teams, managers, and peers that your operations require.
TeleWork.gov is an interagency website established by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide easy access to information about telework in the Federal Government; however, it can help governmental agencies find the policy solutions they might need to implement telework options.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce has also also created a Mobile Workforce Strategy webpage with resources and information on local services.
There are hundreds of companies that have discovered that adding telework to their employee commute program makes good business sense. For example, IBM’s Austin office has more than 40% of their employees conducting telework at least one day a week. Here are just a few advantages that can be gained by offering telework:
- Helps achieve trip reduction goals.
- Increases productivity.
- Decreases absenteeism.
- Improves employee morale.
- Decreases overhead.
- Provides a great retention and recruitment tool.
Choose a better alternative.
While not suitable in every situation due to operational, financial, practical and human considerations, telework is a viable alternative work arrangement that benefits both the employer and the teleworker when properly implemented and administered. Good policies include agreements between employers and teleworkers on responsibilities, obligations and reporting requirements.
Work Place Evaluation
Your building and its location can make it easier or harder for employees to use options besides driving. Are there bike parking facilities, showers, and places to change? Is it safe and convenient to walk or walk from transit? Is there an opportunity to give priority parking (closer to the exit or an elevator) to people car or van pooling? Understanding you location’s assets and deficiencies can help you understand what barriers may be preventing your employees from considering alternative commutes – and how those barriers can be overcome.
10. Let’s Go News
You can stay informed with regular updates on events, activities, and great ideas to help you enjoy the relief that comes with choosing to miss the traffic, the high costs, and the frustrations of driving alone.