This month’s webinar broke our records! On Tuesday, October 22nd ACT hosted a webinar on commuter benefits sponsored by Luum with speakers from Google and Bedrock Detroit to give insight into building commuter benefits programs that change behavior. Over 400 attendees from employers to planners tuned in to hear from Sabrina Ruiz, Google and Kevin Bopp, Bedrock Detroit as they discussed what worked for their employees (or team members) and why incentives and disincentives can be useful in changing everyday habits.
The webinar was moderated by Marko Iljadica from Luum who began by emphasizing the keys to behavior change: providing employees with a flexible, daily choice and implementing a combination of incentives and disincentives to shift behavior from driving alone and parking. What is needed to accomplish this is data and engagement with employees. Marko emphasized the importance of data, because without it, an employer has no way of understanding the current commuting behaviors of employees which will make engaging with them about alternatives difficult. Data is also necessary when showing the success rate of a program by comparing it to a baseline from before a benefits program is launched.
Sabrina took attendees through several incentive programs on Google campuses in Boulder, Los Angeles, and Kirkland noting the different approaches based on location and what strategies are the norm in the area. Trips were more easily logged when parking integration was introduced and implementing a rewards program gave employees the flexibility to use alternative modes on a daily basis, rather than being locked into one for the month.
On another two campuses in Seattle, Google implements incentives and disincentives or the “carrot and stick approach” to shift behavior. Sabrina summarized the three-year effort to introduce a parking fee and rewards program, announcing the change in policy then introducing the benefits before launching the fee. Parking rates went down 29% when the incentives were announced and then further reduced 21% when the parking fee was launched, further reinforcing the shift from driving alone everyday.
Bedrock Detroit is a full-service real-estate firm committed to transforming Detroit’s urban core to an engaging, active, and vibrant destination for the people that live, work and visit Detroit. Kevin gave attendees an overview of Bedrock’s parking management before diving into what they are doing to motivate team members to use alternate modes of transportation (AMTs). Based on the projections of parking demand in Detroit, Kevin and his team discovered that additional parking infrastructure to meet that demand would cost half a billion dollars.
Because of this cost, Bedrock has implemented several incentives programs to reduce individual parking among team members. The firm uses MyCommute, a one-stop commute hub that connects with other commuting apps for data integration, and offers rewards and competitions to participants. Bedrock also offers guaranteed rides home with Lyft, no matter the time of day or price of the ride, and also subsidizes QLine (a new circulator route in Detroit), bus, and MoGo (bikeshare) passes. The firm also partners with Scoop to promote carpooling amongst the team.
Kevin emphasized that “every culture and every organization is different,” so there is no one solution and the two speakers demonstrated that different strategies can be more successful than others depending on region, company culture, infrastructure, and education efforts. Sometimes just using incentives is successful and sometimes a combination of incentives and disincentives will be more effective.