The issue: Traffic congestion
The Metropolitan Planning Council's Moving at the Speed of Congestion study found traffic congestion costs the Chicago region $7.3 billion annually in lost time, fuel and environmental damage. For commuters, sitting in traffic diminishes productivity, increases stress levels and lowers overall quality of life. For employers, congestion decreases employee satisfaction and retention, and increases parking and health care costs.
The solution: Engaging employers in improving employees' commutes
Since 2011, MPC's Commute Options pilot has elevated the role of northeastern Illinois employers in helping their workers trade the stress and expense of driving solo to work for more cost-effective, energy-efficient and enjoyable commutes. Through the pilot, MPC recruited 16 employers—large and small, city and suburban—and surveyed their employees, ultimately learning a great deal about 6,200 area employees' current and preferred commutes. Based on those initial surveys, each employer received customized recommendations for strategies they could take—from installing a shower and bike racks to promoting transit benefits programs—to help their employees overcome their commute challenges.
For each employer, MPC is in the midst of conducting a follow-up evaluation to find out what strategies employers implemented successfully, how those changes impacted commuting behavior, and what the benefits have been to the employer, employee and region. As the pilot comes to an end in December 2013, MPC is exploring whether and how northeastern Illinois might establish a permanent Commute Options program, known as a Transportation Demand Management strategy.
- Attract and retain skilled, valued employees
- Expand future labor pool
- Take advantage of corporate tax incentives
- Enhance company image
- Support sustainability efforts
- Limit traffic-related stress
- Save money by reducing vehicle maintenance and parking costs
- Potentially save time
For the region
- Reduce traffic congestion
- Improve air quality
- Improve community health and curb healthcare costs
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