Sustainable Commuting

Sustainability in Commuting

Part 1: The first piece in a series on sustainable concerns around commuter mobility

June 27, 2022

Transportation accounts for 27% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the US, making it the largest single-source GHG contributor. As the movement of people and things only increases, this figure rises: Between 1990 and 2020, GHG emissions from transportation grew more than any other sector. Urgent calls to address global climate change are boosting demand for less carbon intensive transportation options, and we are seeing a new focus on active and greener modes - walking, cycling, mass transit, carpooling. We’re also seeing an explosion of new mobility services on the market, particularly micromobility and electric vehicles. 

. . .

"Over 75% of people in the US commute in SOVs, while just 5.5% of commuters walk or ride a bike combined."

With more options than ever before, Americans still overwhelmingly rely on private cars to get to and from work. Over 75% of people in the US commute in SOVs, while just 5.5% of commuters walk or ride a bike combined. Beyond its environmental impact, car commuting takes a toll on personal wellbeing and productivity. Employees who commute via car report lower job satisfaction and higher stress levels compared to train commuters. Car ownership is a significant financial burden, costing Americans an average of almost $800 a month. Check out our recent blog post on high gas prices and commuting here. Car commuting places significant burdens on employers as well. They suffer productivity losses from employees with long commutes, and pay to build and maintain parking facilities. Surface parking costs $5,000 to $10,000 per space to build and garage spots as much as $15,000 to $25,000! 

So what can be done to promote more sustainable commuting practices? Looking outside the US, we can find evidence of the effectiveness of financial incentives to nudge commuter behavior. A number of European countries have instituted bike-to-work programs to encourage employees to bike instead of drive. Companies opt-in but governments refund the incentives paid out to employees. Belgium, for example, provides a tax-free reimbursement policy of 23 eurocents per kilometer, resulting in more than 9% of their workforce receiving a cycling reimbursement. Public policy in the US has a way to go to catch up with our European counterparts, but American employers still have options for empowering employees to leave their cars at home.  

Fleet’s commuter mobility platform is the all-in-one tool for sustainable commuting. In just a few clicks, employers can launch green mobility programs for bikes, scooters, electric vehicles, and carpooling. We have integrated the largest collection of mobility services and technologies in one single place, which allows users to effortlessly explore, compare, and experiment with alternative modes to SOVs. We consolidate payments with a zero-fee mobility card, which commuters can use for all modes and services, and which makes multi-modal trips exceptionally easy. Fleet’s full suite of research-backed engagement tools including financial incentives and rewards, gamified leaderboards and friendly competitions drive employee participation and make rewarding sustainable commute decisions easy and fun. We also make tracking and reporting commute-related emissions easier and more accurate than ever. Our automated commute tracker replaces lengthy surveys or estimated figures, and our Green Score is the first multi-modal emissions calculator on the market, capturing the full lifecycle for all trips and fuel sources. 

By making sustainable commute options easier to choose, we’re empowering employees to leave their cars at home. Over a 4-month period on our platform, a large employer in the Bay Area saw a 28% increase in employee usage of sustainable transportation options to commute. The effectiveness of our engagement tools in encouraging mode shift away from SOVs was significant: 87.5% of car users for this particular employer tried at least one non-car commute to work. During that same period, employees logged over 15,000 non-car trips (bike, scooter, or transit). Employees opting for alternative modes effectively removed 194,216 car miles from the road! Our mission at Fleet is to improve employee wellbeing through better everyday commute experiences. We’re making green commute options more accessible, convenient, and cost competitive with car trips. 

Stay tuned for the next blog in our series on sustainable commuting! Schedule a demo with us today to learn how we can help you shrink your organization-wide carbon footprint with greener commute options. 

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