Maximizing the efficiency of the commute goes beyond mere convenience. It becomes a powerful investment that brings significant advantages to commuters, communities, and companies. Let us explore benefits of improving daily commute: enhanced productivity, well-being, reduced environmental impact, stronger communities.
Improving the Journey to Work for 3 Cs
Each day, around 130 million Americans commute to work in bustling urban centers, suburban office parks, and peaceful rural communities. People’s commuting choices are influenced by various factors such as transportation affordability and convenience. Additionally, decisions made at different levels of government over the years have prioritized the development, expansion, and upkeep of road infrastructure.
Policies that prioritize infrastructure over transportation have inadvertently fostered a culture where solo commuting is the norm. The outcome is that an overwhelming majority of individuals commute to work by themselves in their own cars. Relying too much on individual cars has caused severe traffic jams in both big and small communities. This directly affects the economy and quality of life in those areas. Therefore, the adverse consequences of both individual and governmental choices have a far-reaching impact on every one of us, resonating within our economy.
It is crucial to shift our priorities to prioritize people over vehicles. After all, it is not cars that arrive late for work or fail to attend their child’s recital at school, but rather, it is people who experience these setbacks. However, it is important to note that we should not give up on our endeavors to preserve and expand our transportation system. We need a better plan at all levels of government to improve infrastructure and transportation.
The Texas Transportation Institute reports that the average commute delay for each driver in the top 100 metro areas of the United States has increased to 52 hours per year. This entails both being separated from loved ones and a decline in economic productivity. The annual cost of congestion in the United States is a staggering $124 billion, with predictions indicating that it will surge to $186 billion by 2030. This means that every American will be burdened with an average cost of $2,300 per year due to congestion.
When accounting for parking expenses, transportation often emerges as the second most significant cost for many individuals, following housing. Living in a city comes with a hefty price tag for those who own and drive a car, with annual costs easily exceeding $10,000.
- We should encourage new ways of doing things in the public sector and business world that make it easier to create and launch new services.
- To promote collaborations that enhance our current transportation systems, we need to explore methods of reducing the obstacles associated with government regulations and procurement procedures. By doing so, we can facilitate the development of services that address the challenges of first mile/last mile commuting and empower innovative micro-transit companies to operate more efficiently.
- It is imperative to promote initiatives that foster robust collaborations between the public and private sectors in the planning and delivery of transportation services. Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) are nonprofit organizations that unite employers and building owners in a specific area to coordinate transportation services. By pooling resources, TMAs offer commuters a wider range of transportation options, leading to reduced congestion and improved air quality throughout the entire region.
- Investing in the creation of new TMAs within various communities can effectively maximize public resources by leveraging private sector investments.
- MPOs and local governments should involve the private sector more in transportation planning and implementation for better alignment with economic activity.
- Employers need to support their employees’ commuting choices. This includes options like carpooling, vanpooling, public transit, biking, walking, or telecommuting. It’s important to make these options efficient, affordable, and sustainable.
- Employers benefit from these programs by increasing recruitment and retention rates, reducing parking costs, improving productivity, saving costs, and enhancing employees’ quality of life.
- We can achieve significant reductions in the number of commuters who drive alone by promoting and facilitating private sector participation in Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and implementing effective programs that make transit more affordable and accessible.
To successfully decrease the number of drive-alone commute trips, and to incorporate 3 Cs for success we cannot rely solely on employers to recognize the advantages of implementing internal measures. There are times when it is necessary for local authorities to act and establish a minimum standard of involvement. This is crucial to implement policies that enhance transportation choices for the people who live and work in the area.
Commuting and Employee Wellbeing
Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs have been widely embraced by communities and employers nationwide. These programs are specifically designed to motivate individuals who usually commute alone by car to consider alternative transportation options such as public transit, carpooling, vanpooling, teleworking, biking, and walking. To decrease the rate of individuals driving alone in the country and alleviate the adverse effects of single-occupancy vehicles, it is crucial that we adopt a fresh perspective on the programs, policies, and transportation services we offer.
The Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) urges communities and employers to adopt more intelligent strategies to establish a highly efficient and effective transportation system that maximizes the utilization of our current networks. ACT, as the nation’s most influential proponent of TDM programs and policies, is dedicated to promoting these innovative approaches that support commuters.
The benefits will have a positive effect on everyone, as they will lead to better air quality, less traffic, increased employee satisfaction, and increased financial well-being for families.
The transit benefit offers employers a highly effective and effortless way to offer employees transportation alternatives while simultaneously lowering transit expenses using pre-tax funds.
There are three possible ways to offer transit benefits.
- Combination – Companies provide financial assistance to cover a portion of their employees’ transportation expenses. In addition, employees contribute an extra amount according to their financial needs and the maximum limit set for each month.
- Pre-Tax– Employees choose to have money deducted from their salary to buy transportation tickets or vanpool passes. Employees do not pay taxes on withheld funding, and employers are also exempt from paying employment taxes on those funds.
- Subsidy– In addition to a salary, employers offer transportation benefits such as transit passes or van pooling options. Employers are not required to pay employment taxes on the additional value of the fare media, which means that employees can receive this benefit without being taxed.
In conclusion, the concrete benefits of enhancing the commute extend far beyond personal convenience. This initiative creates a domino effect of advantages, ranging from improved well-being for commuters and a diminished environmental footprint, to stronger community ties and increased productivity for companies. Through prioritizing and revolutionizing this field, we have the power to shape urban landscapes that are not only sustainable, but also full of vitality and resilience. This transformation will bring immense advantages to commuters, communities, and businesses, all at once.