The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC Washoe) was recently awarded the 2019 ACT TDM Excellence Award for Small Government at the Seattle TDM Forum.
RTC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Washoe County, Nevada, serving both Reno and Sparks along with unincorporated areas of Washoe County.
RTC SMART TRIPS is a free TDM program provided by RTC to assist local businesses with shifting the mode split of their employees. Programs offered include vanpool services, a newly updated website, a new mobile app, ridematching services, community outreach, and a bus pass subsidy program providing discounts up to 20% per month. RTC employer outreach focuses on educating employers on the opportunities available to them, including the ability to offer pre-tax transit and vanpool benefits, and the benefits of providing employees with an easier commute.
“The RTC is honored to receive the Excellence in TDM award this year. One of my old managers had a flip chart of his 10 rules. Rule #6 was Failure is an option. #7 was Catastrophic failure is not. Meaning you never know how big your box is until you go outside it, but don’t blow it up. It’s great to work for an organization that lets you try new things,” said Scott Miklos, Trip Reduction Analyst, upon receiving the award.
RTC Washoe invites commuters to “jump in the pool” with its RTC VANPOOL services. In operation since 2005, the program has grown rapidly, with 190 vans currently in operation. Sparking this growth is a $400 - $600 per month subsidy to participants. Since launching, the RTC VANPOOL program has reduced 400,000 single occupancy vehicle trips and 13 million vehicle miles traveled in the county.
RTC SMART TRIPS has engaged many large employers in the region like Tesla, the Army National Guard, Ebay Enterprises, and many others have sought assistance from RTC with commute planning for their workforce.
The programs newly redesigned online Travel Database and accompanying mobile app allows users to seamlessly search for transportation options. The RideMatch feature lets users search for available carpool, vanpool, and transit options to get them to their destination. The website’s total active users have grown from less than 400 in 2008 to over 2,500 in 2019, demonstrating the expanded reach of the program and a shift in how residents of Washoe County think about the commute.
Early this summer, RTC officially launched the U-Pass/ED-Pass program for the University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College. Now students, faculty, and staff can ride any of RTC’s fixed-route buses for free just by showing their university ID. The pilot program was a success and ridership is up 18% at TMCC, and 134% at UNR after just three months.
To further enhance access to public transit, in 2018 the RTC Board lowered fares for transit users across the board, ensuring the availability of affordable public transportation to everyone – a rare move among transit agencies across the country.
The organization also has its sights set on 2020 with goals to introduce a transportation management association in Northern Nevada, adopt a Trip Reduction Ordinance in the City of Reno, and adding more Park and Ride lots throughout the region.