Imagine biking to work, feeling the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin. Or carpooling with coworkers, sharing the ride and the cost, all while reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality. It’s not just a fantasy, it’s a reality that many companies are already embracing.
As we become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of transportation, many companies are looking for ways to encourage more sustainable commuting habits among their employees. By rethinking the traditional car-centric parking lot and exploring alternative options, companies can create a more eco-friendly and employee-friendly transportation infrastructure.
This article will explore strategies for encouraging sustainable transportation in your workplace parking lot and how they can benefit your business and the environment.
Here are a few ideas to get started:
Promote Carpooling and Vanpooling
Carpooling and vanpooling are two cost-effective and environmentally-friendly transportation options that can significantly reduce traffic congestion and emissions, as well as the drive alone rate. Parking lots can be used to encourage employees to share rides by providing designated carpool or vanpool parking spaces. By offering these spaces, employers can incentivize employees to carpool or vanpool to work, reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the road.
Examples of companies with carpooling programs:
- Lyft: The ride-sharing company offers a program called “Lyft Carpool,” which allows commuters to share rides with coworkers or other people traveling in the same direction. The program incentivizes drivers to offer rides by providing them with a reduced rate on their own Lyft rides.
- Google: The tech giant provides shuttle services to and from its various offices. The buses are equipped with Wi-Fi and comfortable seating, and the program is open to all employees who work at Google.
- Waze Carpool: Waze, the popular navigation app, has a carpooling program that connects drivers with riders traveling in the same direction. The program is designed to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, and drivers are reimbursed for the cost of gas.
- Daimler: The German automaker has a program called “car2gether” which allows employees to share rides with each other using company-owned vehicles. The program is available to employees at Daimler’s various offices worldwide.
- SAP: The software company has a program called “TwoGo” which allows employees to carpool to work together. The program uses a sophisticated algorithm to match employees based on location and schedule. It also tracks the environmental impact of carpooling.
Offer incentives for public transportation
One of the simplest ways to encourage sustainable transportation is to offer incentives for public transit. This can include discounted or free public transportation passes or even cash incentives for employees who choose to take public transit to work.
Install bike racks and showers
Another way to encourage sustainable transportation is to make it easier for employees to bike to work. Install bike racks or provide secure bike storage. And remember about showers. Employees need hygienic facilities to freshen up after their ride.
- In a study by PeopleForBikes, businesses that invested in bike-friendly amenities saw an increase in the number of employees who biked to work.
- According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), bike parking demand has increased by 30% in the past decade, and cities are responding by providing more bike parking facilities.
- In 2020, the city of San Francisco launched a program to convert underutilized car parking spots into bike parking facilities, demonstrating the versatility of parking lots.
Provide electric vehicle charging stations
Consider installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations if your workplace has a parking lot. This can be a powerful incentive for employees considering purchasing an EV. They will have a guaranteed place to charge their vehicle while at work.
Promote flexible work schedules
In addition to promoting sustainable transportation, you can encourage employees to work from home or have flexible schedules. This can help reduce the number of cars on the road and the amount of time employees spend commuting.
Conduct a transportation survey
Conducting a transportation survey is a great way to promote sustainability in the workplace. By asking employees about their transportation habits and preferences, businesses can gain valuable insights into tailoring transportation infrastructure to meet their needs.
Host sustainability events
By organizing events like bike-to-work days, public transportation fairs, and electric vehicle showcases, companies can raise awareness about alternative transportation options and encourage employees to consider them. These events can also provide an excellent opportunity for companies to showcase their commitment to sustainability and attract like-minded employees and customers.
- A bike-to-work day can encourage employees to try biking as an alternative to driving.
- Public transportation fairs can provide information about bus or train routes and schedules.
- Electric vehicle showcases can highlight the benefits of eco-friendly cars and provide an opportunity for employees to test drive them.
Introduce Green Spaces
In addition to hosting community events, parking lots can also be transformed into green spaces. Green parking lots utilize porous pavement, vegetation, and other green infrastructure techniques to reduce stormwater runoff (so you don’t have to use extra water to hydrate plants), improve air quality, and increase biodiversity.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that green parking lots can reduce stormwater runoff by up to 90%, highlighting the significant potential of this innovation.
Introduce a parking spots booking app
Did you know that 22% of employees consider parking in the top 3 factors that influence working conditions?
The good news is that technology can help office and facility managers optimize the performance of company car parks, thus influencing the overall workplace experience. With the introduction of a parking spots booking app the following will happen:
- Improved parking spaces usage.
- Improved visibility over the parking lot. If there are no spots available, employees will try to figure out other ways to commute.
- Less congestion in traffic and the car park. Instead of coming to the office and finding a full car park, employees might choose to work from home (if there’s a hybrid arrangement in place), or bike to work, or choose other means of transportation.
- Streamlined parking management.
Set an example
Finally, employers need to lead by example. If your workplace is located in an area with good public transportation options, consider taking public transportation to work yourself. If you have the opportunity to bike or walk to work, do so. By setting an example for your employees, you can help encourage sustainable transportation in your workplace parking lot.
Employers are realizing that encouraging sustainable transportation is not only good for the environment but also good for business. By offering incentives for carpooling, providing bike-friendly facilities, and promoting public transit options, they are not only reducing their carbon footprint but also improving the health and well-being of their employees.
So, the question is, why wait? Take the first step and encourage sustainable transportation in your workplace parking lot. Not only will you be doing your part to save the planet, but you’ll also be setting an example for others to follow. Let’s go beyond the car and create a brighter, cleaner, and more sustainable future for all.