Multimodal and Alternative Transit AdoptionFahlgren Mortine Case Study: Midsize Company Makes Big Impact with Internal Carpool Program
November 4th, 2021
At Smart Columbus, we help area employers offer engaging programming and education around mobility options to inspire their employees to drive less, drive electric and go further. Smart Columbus’ goals include reducing the number of solo-commute drivers by 10 percent and increasing electric vehicle (EV) adoption by 500 percent in the Columbus region.
We have enlisted more than 70 area employers to help us meet that goal through the Acceleration Partner program, empowering them with programming to engage and educate their employees.
The type and scale of programming depends on an employer’s size, culture and buy-in. With employers large and small, programming may include lunch & learns, visits to the Smart Columbus Experience Center, EV test drives, hands-on mobility demos and more.
Some employers have achieved robust employee engagement by combining several activations into a whole work week. This has proven to be a strategy to maximize impact and buzz for medium to large employers. Two companies participating in the Acceleration Partner program, CoverMyMeds and JPMorgan Chase, have proven out several best practices for activating employees around mobility topics in a meaningful way. Both companies joined the Acceleration Partner program in late 2017 and were early adopters of cutting-edge mobility solutions and creative programming. Both have been able to quantify how access to new mobility options and education are critical to inspiring employees to change their behavior.
Both companies provide micro-transit solutions for their employees, which supplement existing bus services and mobility options. Both companies selected SHARE, a Columbus-founded micro-transit solution offering Wi-Fi-enabled shuttles with professional drivers who pick up employees at home or at designated parking lots in their neighborhoods and drop them off at the office front door. In addition, both partners leveraged Smart Columbus programs for “mobility weeks” including the Ride & Drive Roadshow, Smart Columbus staff presentations, Ignite Action Fund support and event planning assistance.
CoverMyMeds: A Growing Business Thinks About Future Mobility for Employees
CoverMyMeds helps patients get the medications they need to be healthy by seamlessly connecting the health care network to improve patients’ access to medications. The rapidly growing company has more than 1,000 employees in Columbus, Cleveland and remote locations.
CoverMyMeds is known for having some of the most generous benefits for employees in the city and a fun, collaborative culture. In order to provide parking for all employees across multiple sites, CoverMyMeds contracts with multiple parking garages. Telecommuting is also a common practice at CoverMyMeds for multiple reasons including enhanced workplace satisfaction and decreased operational carbon footprint.
CoverMyMeds has a goal to shift single occupant vehicle behaviors prior to moving all local employees to its new Columbus headquarters in 2021. The company was among the first companies in central Ohio to launch micro-transit services. Their mobility strategy includes a variety of smart mobility services, along with the education and incentives to encourage employees to use the services. As of 2019, both downtown Columbus office locations have access to frequent bus lines, bike share, shared scooters, Zipcars and off-road bike trails. The smaller office location is within the downtown special improvement district and employees can participate in central Ohio’s free bus pass program called C-pass.
To raise awareness about all the different ways to get to work, CoverMyMeds created a Smart Mobility Week event in 2019. On each day of Smart Mobility Week, held June 24-28, CoverMyMeds hosted a variety of interactive events and presentations. Each day had its own programming theme around smart mobility: the first three days were focused on single-occupant vehicle reduction and the last two days included EV and Smart Columbus project education. Planning for the week started three months out and an internal sustainability and mobility group called ‘Aces’ was critical to the event’s success.
Employees who attended at least four events were entered into a prize raffle and attendance was tracked through ‘passports’ with custom handmade stamps made by a CoverMyMeds employee. Raffle prizes were distributed at the end of the week.
A month before Smart Mobility week, the program was announced during an all-staff meeting and through an all-staff email. Three weeks before, an internal webpage about programming was created. All-staff email reminders were sent two weeks out and fliers with the schedule of events were distributed one week out. During Smart Commute Week, daily reminders were sent via Slack.
- CoverMyMeds Employee EV Owners Panel
- Smart Columbus Project Update
- EV Ride & Drive
- COTA bus field trip to CoverMyMeds’ new campus site that is currently under construction
- Presentations from Bike Friendly Franklinton and Yay! Bikes on biking safety
- CoGo and Lime tabled during days that emphasized single-occupant vehicle reduction
- SHARE Info Table with Service Sign-ups
- Employees promoted the week’s activities by posting selfies in the messaging app Slack of them using alternative transportation to get to work.
More than 140 participants engaged with events during the week. SHARE services were announced in June and advertised during Smart Mobility Week. Once SHARE launched in July, there were 45 unique riders out of 329 employees participating in the pilot – an impressive 13.7 percent participation rate for the first month of services.
Almost 100 EV test drives were completed by CoverMyMeds employees. After their test drive, about 85 percent of participants said they were likely or very likely to make their next vehicle electric– up from 60 percent before they drove.
The CoverMyMeds team credits leadership buy-in and internal grassroots commitment to mobility behavior changes with success and encourages other companies undertaking similar endeavors to start planning further out from the event, as timelines were tight.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.: A Large Company Works to Alleviate Transportation Pressures
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) has 18,000 employees in central Ohio, and more than 10,000 of them are located at its Polaris Parkway campus. This two million sq. ft. suburban campus has 12 parking lots and four parking garages. It’s surrounded by several businesses, strip malls and highways without bike infrastructure and lacks convenient transit service. Despite challenges, JPMC leadership is working to reduce the number of people driving alone to work by 1,000 cars. For those who do drive, the company is encouraging EV adoption.
Achieving these goals will require a massive cultural transformation. Micro-transit is a key piece to making it more convenient for employees at JPMC to opt-out of their single occupant vehicles. JPMC also offers SHARE services and was the first company to offer a technology-enabled micro-transit service in central Ohio. Access to shared and electrified options and education are critical to inspiring employees to change their behavior.
As an Acceleration Partner, JPMC hosted its first Smart Commuting Week in 2018 to educate and inspire employees to change their commutes. The series of events was so successful, the company decided to host an even larger and more engaging week-long activation in 2019.
Each day of Smart Commuting Week (July 29-August 2), there were speaking events featuring leading innovators from the region, community partners tabling, and the Ride & Drive Roadshow. The Smart Columbus team worked with JPMC to identify key stakeholders to engage in speaking events and provided Ignite Action Fund support for programming and SHARE-use incentives.
- COTA Leadership on Mobility Integration
- DriveOhio on the Future of Work
- Marysville/ US33 Smart Mobility Corridor
- Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) on Hyperloop Feasibility Study
- EV Owners Panel
- Smart mobility service providers
- Local mobility, energy, and general sustainability non-profits
- SHARE Info Table with Service Sign-ups
- EV Ride & Drive
Internal communication tactics included a teaser in an internal monthly newsletter a month before Smart Commuting Week. Three weeks before, an email blast was sent to all employees and digital signage was displayed throughout the campus. Two weeks before, the event was featured in an internal upcoming events email and a reminder was posted to internal message boards a week before.
A recap article on Smart Commuting Week was featured on the internal intranet a week after the event.
The JPMC team credits leadership support, calendar event reminders, grassroots mobilizing efforts, and incentives as contributing to event series success and high participation:
- 125 SHARE rides were taken per day on average during the week of activations.
- 600 test drives were completed by JPMC employees in five days. After their test drive, about 85 percent of participants said ‘EVs are for me’ after their drive – up from 58 percent before they drove.
- Over 2,000 participants directly engaged with events during the week and an additional 1,000 employees visited the tabling expo. Participation equates to 25 percent of JPMC’s local workforce.
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