How to Start a Commute Program

Follow these steps for an accurate picture of where your employees live, how they get to work, and which commute options you should promote at your worksite.


Step 1. Conduct an employee survey.

Start by asking employees about their commute, including their satisfaction with their current options. In addition to illuminating the pain points for your employees, a survey may reveal the best commute alternatives to promote. An initial survey will establish a baseline for tracking improvements and may be helpful in reporting metrics to executives or stakeholders.

Visit Conduct Your Survey for details.

Step 2. Create a map of where your employees live.

Ask the Human Resources department for a list of employee residential zip codes and cities and upload the data into a simple, low-cost online mapping tool, such as Mapline or BatchGeo.

Step 3. Set a goal for your program.

Using your survey results, set measurable program goals. Success can be measured through a reduction in drive-alone rates (the percentage of employees who drive alone to work for a specific number of days) or an increase in average vehicle ridership (the number of employees divided by the number of cars in your parking lots).

Step 4. Create your program.

Using the data from your survey and your zip code maps, create a commute alternative program that promotes appropriate commute options for specific employee groups. Visit Commute Solutions for questions to consider.

Step 5. Offer incentives and support.

Offer incentives to encourage employees to try an alternative to driving alone one or more days a week. Monetary incentives – like subsidies for transit or vanpools or a pre-tax transit benefit program in which employees use their own pre-tax salary to pay for transit – are often effective. Other suggestions include regular prize drawings or free lunch for participants in your commute program, preferential parking for carpools and vanpools, or lockers and showers for bicyclists.

Visit The Ultimate Commute Program Resource for information about incentive programs, pre-tax commuter benefits, preferential parking, bicycle facilities and more.

Step 6. Promote your plan.

Develop a plan to communicate the benefits of the program to your employees. Visit Market Your Program to get tips on how to encourage employees to participate.

Step 7. Get started!

Launch a new program all at once or roll out features throughout the year. As you communicate available commute options, track employee responses to the various outreach efforts to determine which communication methods are most effective.

Step 8. Review and improve.

At the end of the year, conduct a follow-up survey and compare the results to your baseline survey. Look for changes in the drive-alone rate or average vehicle ridership. Note whether use of promoted alternatives has increased. Consider adding questions about your marketing efforts to inform adjustments as well.