Archive for the ‘Telework’ Category

wintercommuttipsTurning back our clocks doesn’t mean we have to turn in for the winter. Having moved to the Pacific Northwest from Michigan just this past August, I am no expert on Seattle’s gloomy winters, but I do know that we shouldn’t let the darkness and cold weather get us down! Here are a few ways to make the most of your commute during these next few months:

Get out on your lunch hour. If you get to work when it’s dark and leave when it’s dark, consider getting out of the office during lunch. For you downtown workers, grab a buddy and stroll through the Downtown Park or check out one of the many food trucks. Perhaps getting some fresh air during the day will make the ride home a little more bearable.

Be prepared for rain or chilly weather. These next few months will most likely bring wetter and colder weather. If you have an extra set of gloves, a hat, a scarf, and an umbrella or waterproof jacket at work, you will have one less thing to worry about if the weather takes a turn for the worse halfway through the day.

Walk part of the way home.  If you do not already walk or bike to work, consider incorporating a short walk to or from your place of employment. Research shows that even adding a 10 minute walk to your commute can improve psychological health and well-being[i]. You can incorporate a short walk into your regular routine by getting off the bus one or two stops earlier, depending on the distance. Make sure to dress in layers!

Embrace the darkness. If all else fails, try looking on the bright side. A dark sky is a perfect backdrop for watching part of your favorite movie, TED talk, or news clip on your bus ride home. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your show.

Do you have other tips for a happy commute? Leave them in the comments so readers can learn from your experience.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer, Danielle

[i] Health Economics Group (2014). “Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing.” University of East Anglia Norwich Medical School and the University of York Centre for Health Economics.

Monday, November 30th, 2015 10:12 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

CIM Logo trimmed
King County Metro recently launched the I-405 Communities In Motion (CIM) program that rewards $25 to those willing to make some changes to their commute. If you live or work in Bellevue you are invited to participate via On The Move Bellevue. We’re here to help you find alternative modes of travel, whether it be by bicycling, walking, taking public transportation, or finding a rideshare alternative. On The Move Bellevue has plenty to offer local commuters – and this fall there are even more incentives and rewards available due to the I-405 Communities In Motion campaign. There has been a lot of progress since the program launched in 2013. Read on for more about how joining On The Move Bellevue and taking the I-405 Pledge can support you in your non-drive-alone goals!

The first Metro Community in Motion program was developed in 2013 and has been widespread for residents across 13 cities in the King County region. Here’s CIM by the numbers:

  • 6,500 participants have pledged to reduce to two drive-alone trips per week.
  • Through been logging their trips.
  • 3 million miles have been eliminated by non-drive-alone trips.
  • An estimated 341,242 gallons of gas have been saved.
  • 5 pounds of carbon dioxide has been prevented from entering the atmosphere.
  • $2,548,661 in travel costs has been saved.

So how do you pledge, you ask? Here’s how it works:

CIM-RSO-icon pledgeStep 1: Pledge and earn $25! Join the movement and register online through On The Move Bellevue to record your weekly progress. You can access the pledge once you’re registered under your “Rewards” tab under “Incentive Programs”. (Look for the little icon on the right.) It’s a pledge to change some of your drive-alone trips, log your reduced trips for three months and then take a follow up survey.

Can’t reduce your trips because you don’t own a car? Or do you just want to spread your love to your friends and colleagues? Become a Car-Free Champion or Program Ambassador to earn your $25. Take the pledge as normal and then email your story or your recruit to getinmotion@kingcounty.gov.

Step 2: Join the I-405 Diamond Club: Within your On The Move Bellevue account, you can join The Club once you’ve completed the pledge. And trust us; The Club has its benefits. Just for completing the pledge you will receive your first Emergency Ride Home code for a taxi ride home in case of an eligible emergency.

Step 3: Log those trips! Calling all Diamond Club Members: Every month that you log eight reduced days on your calendar through June 15, 2015, you will be eligible to request another Emergency Ride Home code to have in your back pocket for those emergencies. Another bonus for logging? Each month 25 win $25 (REI or a TranBen transit or vanpool voucher) just for logging those eight days! You can back-log up to 28 days.

What’s MORE? On The Move Bellevue trip loggers have another chance to win 25 win $25 just for those who live or work in Bellevue.

The Pledge and the survey period will close to Bellevue commuters 1/31/16. Better boogie – all rewards are only available while supplies last. More information is available at kingcounty.gov/getinmotion or get started now! Email any questions about the I-405 Communities In Motion Program or On The Move Bellevue to info@onthemovebellevue.org.

 

 

Saturday, November 14th, 2015 12:36 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

The Connect Downtown Partnership recently conducted a transportation survey of downtown Bellevue commuters and residents to determine the commute habits, motivations and program awareness of individuals within set boundaries of downtown. The survey was developed with the intention of determining what messaging would best target this audience, and will be used to inform future programming, branding and messaging of Choose Your Way Bellevue.

The survey was taken by 394 individuals, 61% of whom were commuters to downtown Bellevue, 37% of whom were downtown residents that commute to other locations, and 2% of whom who both lived and worked in downtown. The survey went out in postcard form to all residents of downtown Bellevue, was posted in commercial buildings and was live on the Choose Your Way Bellevue website May 1 through June 14, 2011.

The majority of survey respondents commuted to work by driving alone (44.8%). In explaining their top reasons for doing so, respondents listed that were no reasonable transit options, they require the use of a car for errands before and after work, and because it saves time.  37% of this population reported that increased bus service would motivate them to ditch their vehicles, though in an illuminating statistic, 22.7% of drivers indicated that nothing would encourage them to change their habits.

Riding the bus was the second most cited commute method, comprising 21% of the mode-share, followed by carpool at 10.4%. The top reason for using both these modes was cost savings. Respondents also cited stress reduction, time savings, convenience and an employer subsidy for doing so. 5.5% of respondents walked to work, and 2% of respondents reported cycling to work.

When respondents were asked about general motivators contributing to their choice of commute mode, the top three reasons were convenience, cost savings and time savings. The top impacts to commute mode choice were transit service levels, traffic levels, and gas prices.

Respondents were also asked the minimum monthly financial incentive that would encourage them to try a non drive-alone mode. The majority of people indicated that $50 would help them make a change, though $100 was the second most oft-cited amount.

These results are quite illuminating as Choose Your Way Bellevue moves forward in branding, messaging and programming efforts directed towards downtown residents and employees. It is clear that we are working with a primarily drive-alone population, and there are some major obstacles to overcome to change these habits.

Considering that neither Sound Transit or King County Metro are in a financial position to expand service in the near future, we will not be able to use that as a motivating factor to encourage non-drive alone habits. Furthermore, there is a segment of the population who claims they would never change their method, which is understandable given that the ample amount of free parking in Bellevue keeps the actual costs to drivers down.

But perhaps we could do a better job at quantifying the cost savings, stress reduction and health benefits of participating in alternate commute modes. Driving eats up a large portion of American’s annual budget, and is the second highest cost behind housing,  but because driving has become so normalized in our culture, these costs remain invisible to many people. Whether it’s getting people excited about what they could do with the money saved by not driving, or demonstrating how often during peak travel times, driving isn’t actually faster (which my anecdotal evidence on I-90 overwhelmingly supports), there must be a way to show it visually, either through infographics or videos.

Additionally, walkers and cyclists overwhelmingly report being happier and healthier commuters, so we ought to encourage them to be more vocal (though not evangelical!) about their commute stories. Cycling burns an average of 300 calories per hour, and walking burns 136. Compare that to the 80 or so you burn while sedentary (car commuting) and active transportation starts to look like a winning option, eliminating the need for extra time at the gym and requiring no monetary contribution beyond start up costs.

But the reality is that most people live far enough away from their jobs that walking or cycling is not a viable option—only 6% of workers in Downtown Bellevue report actually living downtown, and the average commute distance is 14 miles. There’s always the possibility of combining active transportation with public transportation, and 7% of our respondents indicated being multi-modal commuters. But commuters tend to dread transfers, which add stress and uncertainty what can often be a lengthy commute.

Stay tuned—our next post will be about programs around the country that are encouraging people to live closer to where they work, which will help to alleviate some of the necessary driving wrought by extended distances between home and work.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 10:43 AM | by admin | Comments (2)
session board

Photo by TransportationCamp on Flickr

We at Choose Your Way Bellevue are geeked (literally) to report back from Transportation Camp, which took place in San Francisco this past weekend. A great mix of entrepreneurs, transit nerds, policy makers, activists, and students assembled under a disco ball to tackle the question: How can we use data to improve our cities and transportation systems?

Sponsored by Open Plans and the Rockefeller Foundation, Transportation Camp is a relatively new concept referred to as an “unconference”(also popular in the tech world because they reflect the culture of the industry) with a hands-on, flexible, a little casual but very hard working and fun to the extreme approach. Instead of a set schedule and droning speakers, every attendee at Transportation Camp had the opportunity to suggest or lead a breakout session, panel discussion or Q&A, and was encouraged to be as creative as possible.  Topics up for discussion ran the gamut of “sexy transit,” “building apps for livable streets,” and “the perils of privatization,” which resulted in delightful and sometimes unexpected conversations. Questions like, what makes a liveable street? Can mobile applications be built that facilitate street life? What are the best practices being deployed by transportation demand management groups across the globe? and How can social media be leveraged to generate more on the ground involvement? were asked.

The majority of the sessions were geared towards addressing the current reality: with accelerating technology and recent census figures pouring in, many municipal governments have unprecedented access to data sets and are trying to figure out what to do with them.  Attendees had the goal of brainstorming how to package this information in a way that is transparent, accountable, and efficient.

While attendees may not have arrived at any answers, there were definitely some concrete conclusions. Consensus abounded that information should be and wants to be made public, and that in order to facilitate and maintain democracy, it should be shared in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Attendees also agreed that nonprofit groups are essential at bridging the divide between public and private entities, and are well positioned to introduce new technologies to a diverse range of constituencies. Everyone acknowledged that web developers are notorious for existing in silos, and deemed it integral that they be encouraged, maybe even incentivized, to talk with citizens about how to build apps that would actually be useful and valuable to them. Groups like Code For America, which collaborates with selected cities throughout the United States to transform data into something which encourages citizen participation and civic building, were featured. 

What are your reactions? Could access to data really improve the transportation system? Are there mobile applications that would make you more likely to use transit? Would knowing the transportation habits of your co-workers make you want to change your behavior? Do you think real-time ridesharing could work in our region? What about connecting your transit pass to a carsharing service? The possibilities are as endless as a data set:  Share your thoughts below!

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 2:07 PM | by admin | Comments (1)

Are you interested in telework but have questions about how a work from home program could be successfully implemented at your company? Choose Your Way Bellevue works with telework expert Rick Albiero, CEO of the Telecomuting Advantage Group (TAG). Submit your telework questions to our expert here, or read on for previous Q&A’s requested publicly on the Telework Bellevue Ask an Expert page. And be sure to check back for more telework questions and answers from our expert. The Q&A’s are featured here on the Choose Your Way Bellevue blog on a monthly basis.

Question 4:  We are concerned about data security and the amount of traffic our Intranet system can handle. Is this typically a major investment that companies need to make associated with telecommuting?

Rick’s Reply: The technology that supports telework/telecommuting programs has not only become much less expensive over the last several years, but it is also much more robust, user-friendly, and in many cases does not require the purchase of new hardware. Financial and health institutions have found that these systems are robust enough to meet federal requirements.  We also work with several architecture and engineering companies that have no problem with data security needs or handling very large drawing files. Other benefits of these systems are that they track and control access to files, provide file revision control and allow employees to be productive while travelling, working remotely and at client sites. Microsoft, Citrix Online, Adobe and other software providers offer online collaboration tools that support teleworkers at a very low price point. If you have more specific questions or would like additional information feel free to contact TAG.

Friday, February 4th, 2011 5:57 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

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