What we know about employer support for TDM programming:

Employer support significantly increases employee adoption of alternative transportation commute options. While employers recognize their employees’ personal frustrations with traffic congestion, e.g., long commutes and stress, many do not recognize how traffic congestion affects their businesses. Consequently, few employers offer any type of assistance, other than free parking, to help their employees with their work commute.

Research findings:

  • Employers in major urban areas in Virginia recognize their areas have air quality and traffic congestion problems. In Richmond, for example, 55% of senior level business executives believe a traffic congestion problem exists in Richmond and 44% believe Richmond has an air quality problem.

­ Almost half of these executives (49%) believe these issues affect their employees. Source: “Telework!Va Employer Study,” 2004.

  • Employers do not always recognize, however, how traffic congestion and air quality impact their businesses in terms of reduced employee productivity.

­ In Richmond, only 36% of the business executives interviewed for the “Telework!Va Employer Study” (2004) believed traffic congestion impacted their employee productivity. Similarly in Norfolk, downtown employers recognized problems of bridge and tunnel traffic congestion during peak travel times and downtown back-ups during inclement weather. But, many said that traffic congestion does not currently pose a serious problem for their business.

­ Some employers, in contrast, recognize the impact of traffic congestion on their business. Employee tardiness, employee retention and recruitment, productivity, low employee morale, delivery of goods/services, employee stress and customer accessibility are all negative impacts of traffic congestion and issues of concern to some employers.

  • Just as employer perception of the impact of traffic congestion varies, they vary in their willingness to support and adopt TDM programming to help their employees.

­ For some employers, helping employees find ways to make their commute to work easier is simply not a priority. The 2004 “Telework!Va Employer Study” conducted among Richmond and Hampton Roads business executives suggests that the vast majority (86% in Richmond and 81% in Hampton Roads) have never had any type of formal assistance programs to help their employees with their work commute.

­ Other employers recognize the impact on their businesses and/or feel an obligation in regard to the quality of life experienced by their employees. Approximately 10-15% of the companies surveyed in Richmond and Hampton Roads have put in place programs that support, at least minimally, their employees with their work commute. These programs include flextime and a compressed work week, telework, transit subsidies, ride matching, preferential parking, vanpools, and so forth. Flextime and telecommuting programs appear to be the most popular.

  • Employer involvement can range from informal programs that simply let employees arrange their own carpools to highly structured and formal programs where employers set up home-based workstations for employees to telecommute. Only about half of the employers who say they offer their employees telework options, for example, have formal programs.
     
  • Employer participation is important. Direct and active employer support and involvement in their employees’ work commute “lifts” employee participation in ridesharing activities – car and vanpooling - by as much as 300% over companies where management does not openly encourage and support these activities.
     
  • Convincing employers to adopt and advocate transportation demand management (TDM) programming is a “sales” activity. Employers may be interested or intrigued by a program, but few will take the initiative to develop and put in place a company initiative without external prompting.
     
  • To generate employer support and involvement in TDM initiatives, marketers find these steps most productive:

­ Once the decision has been made to approach a company, TDM marketers often start by networking – perhaps with a CEO breakfast.

­ After initial networking meetings, they follow-up with direct mail pieces, phone calls and face-to-face meetings.

­ They often conduct in-depth company research to develop the right programs and approach for the prospective company.

­ TDM marketers try to offer a company a range of programs and initiatives so prospective companies can “select” what is right for their employees and their company.

­ The formal sales process ends when a company launches a TDM product or TDM portfolio of services. At this time, however, the second stage of what can become a long-term relationship starts. In this stage, TDM marketers provide ongoing support and consultation for the company as requested.
 

Related Studies/Documents:

1994: “Employer-Based Transportation Programs – Focus Groups with Non-Participating Employers”
1998: “Chincoteague Visitor Transportation Needs Assessment Study”
1998: “Oyster Point Transportation Needs Assessment Study”
2000: “Virginia Beach Oceanfront Transportation Needs Assessment Study”
2000: “Lynnhaven / Oceana Transportation Needs Assessment Study”
2001: “Naval Station Norfolk Transportation Needs Assessment Study”
2001: “Oakland Industrial Park Transportation Needs Assessment Study”
2001: “Hampton Coliseum Central Transportation Needs Assessment Study”
2001: “Downtown Norfolk Transportation Needs Assessment Study”
2001: “Norfolk Commerce Park Transportation Needs Assessment Study”
2002: “Greenbrier Transportation Needs Assessment Study”
2003: “Northern Virginia HOV Study”
2004: “Telework!Va Employer Study”