Cars have been the go-to commuting option for employees since what seems like the beginning of time. The freedom of coming and going at any time of the day is hard benefit to pass up. Unfortunately, because of this freedom, traffic has become a major issue for most cities — turning that perceived freedom into more of a burden.
Boston has one of the oldest transit systems in the world. Starting in 1897 with only a mile-and-a -half streetcar line, their metro system now has nearly 80 miles of track running on five different lines. Even with a robust transit system, however, Boston commuters still face some of the worst traffic conditions in the nation.
For people living in cities, getting to work is a daily decision. The rise of mobility options like bikeshares, scooters, and ridehailing companies have made this decision even more difficult. Commuting options outside of traditional public transportation have never been more abundant and accessible to people.
If you’ve ever been to Atlanta, you’ve seen the enormous highway surrounding it. Boasting 15 lanes, it’s truly a sight to see. Unfortunately, even with this behemoth roadway, traffic issues have not gotten any better. In fact, simply because there’s so much road space, there’s an increased incentive to drive. More than 85 percent of Atlanta’s commuters choose cars.
When Johnson and Johnson implemented their Live for Life wellness program in 1979, it was viewed as groundbreaking. Now, corporate wellness programs are essentially required to attract and retain top talent. Subsidized gym memberships and an abundance of healthy snacks in the office are available because of the rise of these programs.
The younger workforce is moving to cities, and they want access to reliable transit options. The older generations are coming from the suburbs, and they don’t want to be stressed out on a daily basis sitting behind the wheel. The desire to avoid driving alone to work is shared by commuters of all ages, but sometimes it’s not as simple as just taking the train. In many places, it’s just not feasible to live within walking distance of public transportation. Vanpooling can be a great way to get your employees to change their commuting habits in the absence of access to transit, but it might not be a big enough solution depending on the size of your company — and of the problem.
The Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) is an international organization working to improve employee commutes around the world. They host a series of events and webinars, and also sponsor regional chapters in order to enhance local infrastructure and mobility options.