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Thriving Communities / News & Views / Five Reasons Your Company Should Offer Commuter Benefits

Five Reasons Your Company Should Offer Commuter Benefits

Learn what your business can do

Choices | October 8, 2013 | By James Bruckbauer

About the Author

James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at james@mlui.org.

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Companies can save money by offering transit passes to their employees. (Photo: Gary Howe)

Companies all over the Grand Traverse area are discovering that by making it easier for staff to carpool, bus, bike or walk to work, they can become better neighbors, keep their workplace healthy, and boost their bottom lines.

They’re learning a lesson or two from Stanford University and Google Ann Arbor.

Those companies encourage their staff to leave their cars at home by offering useful incentives. They pay staff to give up parking spaces, and provide lockers, showers, and free transit passes.

Why should you consider commuter incentives for your business?

Here are five reasons:

1. To boost your bottom line

You can avoid major parking expenses by offering incentives to carpool, bike, and bus to work.

Stanford University, for example, saved more than $107 million by offering university staff cash to carpool, bus, bike or walk to campus; adding bike lanes; giving carpoolers prime parking spaces; and adjusting parking rates to reflect demand. Would you rather invest in your key services or parking?

You can also trim payroll taxes by allowing employees to use pre-tax dollars for transit through the Commuter Tax Benefit.

2. To free up parking for your customers

Let’s face it: Everyone wants to park right by the door. Smart business owners keep those spaces open for their most important fans.

You don’t want your staff taking up valuable spaces. Free up those spots by encouraging your employees to leave their cars at home.

3. To attract and retain healthy and productive employees

One reason Google Ann Arbor pays its employees to leave their cars at home is because they want to promote healthy lifestyles for their employees.

Biking to work increases staff moral, energy, health, and focus.

Even sharing rides can boost productivity. One study showed that those who share rides with coworkers in a car or bus get promoted more often because of the bonds created through job networking.

When we surveyed more than 1,500 local employees earlier this year, most respondents said they were interested in having more transportation options.

4. To be a good neighbor by easing traffic in surrounding neighborhoods

Are neighborhood groups concerned about your expansion plans? Be proactive. Commit to maintaining a small traffic footprint while expanding your services.

Through goal setting and an aggressive commuter incentive strategy, Stanford University expanded its services and its campus footprint by 2.5 million square feet without adding any additional traffic.

5. To reduce your energy footprint

Your energy footprint doesn’t end at the door. The amount of energy your staff consumes as they get to work has a big impact on your neighborhood’s air quality.

Through our new program, Local Motion, we’re dedicated to helping you figure out how you can offer more transportation choices to your employees.  Contact me to figure out how we can help.

James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at james@mlui.org.

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