Employer Toolbox

Here are tools and resources to help you start or enhance your trip reduction program:

 

Steps for creating a successful Trip Reduction Program

Here's a quick glance at the steps involved with creating a successful trip reduction program. For more details and assistance with your program, visit our partners' web sites.

  1. Establish a Transportation Committee – Gather a group of interested people to share their expertise and build enthusiasm within the organization.
  2. Survey Existing Physical Conditions – Determine whether your work site has the capability to offer carpool parking, bike facilities and transit access.
  3. Survey Employee Commuting Choices – Learn how your employees are commuting now and understand what inspires them to make more sustainable choices. For guidance on conducting an employee commute option survey click here.
  4. Evaluate Employee Incentives – Typical incentives include subsidized or pre–tax transit passes, help finding carpool partners, offering bike parking, gift cards and recognition.
  5. Develop and Implement Your Plan – Set trip–reduction targets and roll out your program (subsidies, facilities, events, etc.).
  6. Chart Your Success – After a year or so, repeat your survey of employees and check against the previous survey to determine your trip–reduction rate.

 

Travel Options

  • Telework ( or telecommuting):Allow employees to work from home or a satellite office one or more days a week. Here are resources to help start a telework program:
  • Variable work hours programs (VWH): Offer your employees variations on the traditional "9–to–5" Monday through Friday work week.
    • This can help you:Comply with ECO Rules.
      • Improve employee recruitment and retention, as well as facilitate carpool, vanpool and transit arrangements for employees.
      • Help employees better manage their personal and professional responsibilities.
      • Reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
    • Choose from the following VWH programs:
      • Flex–Time – employees work five eight–hour days each week, but are allowed to choose their work arrival and departure times.
      • Compressed Work Week – employees complete their required number of work hours in fewer–than–normal days per week (or per pay period).
      • Staggered Work Hours – spread out employee arrival and departure times by anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours.
    • To learn more about variable work hours and how to implement a program, review Variable Work Hours: An Implementation Guide for Employers. The guide contains:
      • A closer look at VWH programs
      • Details on implementing a VWH program
      • Sample polices and procedures
      • Sample surveys

 

Incentives

Incentives are a great way to encourage your employees to reduce car trips. Your employees benefit by cutting their transportation costs and gaining more time to relax or get things done. As an employer, you can benefit by receiving tax deductions. It can also help you comply with ECO rules. Here are some possible incentive programs you can incorporate.

  • Bicycle Commuter Reimbursement Benefit
    • Provide your employees a reimbursement up to $20 per month for bike commute expenses incurred on their way to work. Bicycle Commuter Reimbursement is a qualified fringe benefit covered under section 132 (f) of the Internal Revenue Service Code, however it can not be funded through employee pre-tax income. Also, employers can not receive both the transit and bike qualified transportation fringe benefits in the same month. Learn more.
  • Bike parking
    • Bike parking, storage and shower/changing rooms are important ways to provide convenience and security for cyclists at destinations. Learn more.
  • Car parking cash out
    • Offer your employees the choice to keep a parking space at work or to accept a cash payment and give up the parking space. In turn, you can reduce the overall demand for employee parking and costs associated with leasing parking space.
      • Guidelines for setting up a parking cash out program
  • Carpool incentive programs
    • Encourage employees to form carpools of two or more people by offering them reduced cost or free parking, preferred parking or prize rewards.
      • Click here for guidelines for setting up a carpool incentive program.
  • Employee recognition
    • Find ways to recognize individual employees who champion biking, carpooling or other commute modes through a "commuter of the month" award. Profile them in your newsletter or post their picture at the front desk, for example.
  • Gift Cards
    • Hold monthly or quarterly drawings for gift cards to local coffee shops, restaurants and businesses. Some employers provide carpools and vanpools with gift cards for gas as incentives.
  • Pre-tax transportation fringe benefit for employees
    • Each month a fixed amount can be deducted automatically from an employee's paycheck for transit or vanpool costs before taxes; reducing income tax and FICA contributions.
    • Learn more about transportation fringe benefits covered under the tax free and pretax provision of the federal tax code.
    • See your local transit agency about transit pass programs for employers.
  • Tax breaks for businesses
    • Reducing employees' taxable earnings via pre–tax transit deductions reduces FICA and unemployment taxes you pay on employees' incomes.  In addition, you may be able to claim your share of employee transit or vanpooling costs as an allowable business expense on your taxes. Learn more.

 

Transportation Management Associations (TMA)

Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) are membership organizations which serve as central sources of information and assistance regarding commuter transportation issues. TMAs provide:

  • Effective transportation programs and services with member benefits
  • A forum for businesses and neighborhood associations to work together
  • Assistance with ECO Rule compliance

Also, being a dues paying member can make you eligible for the Business Energy Tax Credit. Contact the TMA that most closely serves your area for help with your transportation plan.

 

Additional Resources

  • Cost of Congestion Study (PDF) - Study explains how much traffic congestion costs businesses in the Portland metro area.
  • Marketing Commuter Benefits to Employees (PDF) - Marketing strategies and suggestions for program implementation/launch.
  • Pre-Tax Benefits Brochure - Information on payroll deductions for employees using transit or vanpools.
  • Taxable Fringe Benefit Guide - Understand the tax issues related to employee fringe benefits. The guides covers:
    • Reporting and withholding employer-provided fringe benefits
    • Procedures for computing taxable value for fringe benefits
    • Reporting taxable value on W-2 and 1099 MISC forms
    • Federal reporting requirements