June 5, 2015
By Hilary Reeves, Strategic Advancement and Communications Director, Transit for Livable Communities
Now that the Green Line is open, how are organizations along the line incorporating it into their workplaces? That’s a question Transit for Livable Communities is seeking to address. In partnership with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, we’re working to establish transportation choices in the workplace—for the commute, for trips during the day, and in other ways.
So far, individuals from nearly thirty organizations have participated in our Rethinking Transportation workshops including Life Track, Minnesota Public Radio, Springboard for the Arts, Minnesota Literacy Council, Trust for Public Land, and the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota. The workshops provide participants with direct hands-on exploration of the transportation options along the Green Line—bus and train, bike and car sharing. The workshops cover the benefits of using different ways of getting around, share some history about how our transportation systems have evolved, and give tips and tools for route planning. Perhaps most importantly, the workshops give organizations a chance to learn about how other organizations are fostering the use of transit, bicycling, walking, and sharing options in the workplace.
|Transportation options along the Green Line|
What have we learned so far? We’re finding that organizations’ internal policies related to transportation vary greatly. Many organizations include language about flexibility in their employee manuals, ranging from formal flex time policies to language allowing employees to “dress for their day.” A day with few meetings can also be a day to try a new form of commuting. Flexibility can also extend to understanding that a few minutes leeway in arriving or leaving can make it easier to align with bus schedules.
Others are compensating staff for arriving by transit or bicycling. This can be via subsidized transit passes and/or by tracking commute method and making direct payments (extra money on a paycheck or added to a Health Savings Account) for bicycling or walking more. A few already are incorporating car sharing or transit into the workplace in ways that allow their staff to leave their cars at home. Some workshop attendees return to their organizations with a new attention to the options available to their staff and their visitors. Some attendees say they want to challenge their coworkers to try new modes.
As part of this project, we’re asking each organization that participates to assess the options they currently provide, identify possible steps to rethink transportation in the workplace, and to have employees track travel behavior. With these inputs—and the very lively exchanges at the workshops—we’re developing a roster of transportation best practices. Our plan is to recognize these organizations as Transportation Leaders at the October annual conference of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
We’re looking for more individuals from nonprofits along the Green Line to sign up to Rethink Transportation. For more information, visit this page or contact Erin Kindell (firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-789-1403).