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Commuter Benefits Programs

One way that municipalities can encourage the use of ride sharing, public transportation, and active transportation is by establishing a commuter benefits program for city or town employees. This pre-tax benefits program allows workers to save hundreds of dollars a year on commuting expenses.  The City of San Francisco provides a good model with a goal of 80% of trips made by sustainable modes by 2030. The program helps to make sustainable transportation the easiest choice.

Communities can also encourage the businesses within their community to establish similar programs.

Action Steps

To establish a commuter benefits program similar to the one offered by the City and County of San Francisco, follow these steps:
  1. Assess Employee Needs: Determine the commuting patterns and preferences of your employees through surveys or consultations.
  2. Research Legal Requirements: Ensure compliance with local and federal regulations regarding commuter benefits.
  3. Choose Benefits: Decide on the types of benefits to offer, such as pre-tax commuter benefits, discounted transit passes, bike-sharing programs, or emergency ride home services.
  4. Partner with Service Providers: Collaborate with local transit authorities, bike-sharing services, and other relevant providers to offer these benefits.
  5. Develop Enrollment Processes: Create easy and accessible methods for employees to enroll in and manage their benefits.
  6. Promote the Program: Educate employees about the available benefits through presentations, emails, and informational materials.
  7. Monitor and Adjust: Continuously gather feedback and data to refine and improve the program.

Taking Action

Townwide

STUDY

PLAN

DO

>Vehicle Inventory

>Transp. Infrastructure Assmt.

>

>Transportation Plan

>Funding Options

>

>Education

>Policy Making

>Installation

Municipal

STUDY

PLAN

DO

>Town Fleet Assessment

>VMT Assessment

>EV Chargers Siting Assessment

>Vehicle Replacement Schedule

>VMT and Idling Reduction Plan

>Funding Options

>Charging Station Installation

>Fleet Conversion

>Employee Training

As with other areas of the 100PercentCT project, the strategy for transportation is to quantify current energy usage, reduce it, then replace remaining energy use with clean alternatives. The Benchmark Energy Assessment provides a starting point for this analysis. Using town-specific data from the tax roll, this analysis yields an estimate of the energy consumed by vehicles registered in town. This calculation entails summarizing the community’s fleet of vehicles by Connecticut Class Code and then using Department of Transportation estimates for miles per gallon (MPG) and vehicle miles travelled (VMT).

This quantitative assessment focuses on the current vehicle fleet of your town. The next step is a qualitative review of transportation systems other than motor vehicles. These should include bus systems, trains and other public conveyances in the community.

These quantitative and qualitative assessments then form the basis for a range of policies, regulations and initiatives aimed at reducing energy usage and emissions, and then replacing them with clean energy alternatives.

  • Complete a quantitative energy benchmarking exercise for your town’s vehicle inventory. The Resource section below provides a link to the data request from the town tax roll to get started.
  • Carry out a qualitative assessment of public transit infrastructure, bicycle/pedestrian resources, etc.
  • Develop a town-specific plan, as part of the broader Energy Plan, to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT), shift transport to public alternatives and accelerate the transition to low and zero-emission vehicles.
  • Electrify town vehicle fleet. Municipalities can accomplish several goals by electrifying their fleet – first they are leading by example – second they will achieve operating economies because of reduced fuel consumption and decreased maintenance requirements.
  • Consider deploying all-electric municipal or school buses (see resources below).
  • Conduct a study of your town’s electric vehicle readiness. An excellent resource here is the detailed study carried out in Fairfield.
  • Assess your town’s Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness Scorecard, administered by the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Assess where electric vehicle charging infrastructure is needed in town and develop a plan for building it out.
  • Add additional charging stations on municipal properties.
  • Consider property tax incentives for electric vehicles.
  • Require new construction to be EV-Ready.
  • Educate residents about local public transportation options.
  • Implement the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Complete Streets
  • Achieve bronze certification as a Bicycle Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists.
  • Encourage commuting by entering the CTRides Transportation Leaders Program.
  • Explore opportunities to expand local bike/pedestrian trails.
  • Conduct a no idling campaign.

Resources

Checklist

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