This week’s Commuter Pool Party, hosted by Commute.org and Spare the Air, brought government entities, employers, and transportation service providers together to discuss solutions to the current commute crisis. Nationally, time spent on the daily commute has continued to increase, causing it to become one of the leading causes of employee turnover. In fact, a recent study by Robert Half found that 23% of workers have quit a job due to a painful commute.

However, at the same time, the rise of innovative technologies has provided enterprises with more options than ever to mitigate the commute’s impact on their workforce. At the Pool Party, attendees dove into the current challenges of the commute and showcased effective strategies employers can incorporate into their transportation management programs.

However, at the same time, the rise of innovative technologies has provided enterprises with more options than ever to mitigate the commute’s impact on their workforce. At the Pool Party, attendees dove into the current challenges of the commute and showcased effective strategies employers can incorporate into their transportation management programs.

Solving the commute is the employer’s responsibility

The event kicked off with a keynote from John Ford, Executive Director of Commute.org, and David Canepa, a representative from San Mateo County, District 5. Both are interested in developing ways to promote alternative transportation options for area commuters other than driving alone.

Ford and Canepa stated that in a 2017 survey, 83% of respondents said that congestion in the Bay Area should be considered a state of emergency.

While traffic is one of the first things that comes to mind when discussing the commute, the speakers pushed attendees to think beyond that. Our dependence on cars not only contributes to congestion but also increases pollution and can even cause adverse health effects for commuters and entire communities.

How can we solve this crisis? Ford and Canepa said that the answer lies in how organizations leverage technologies, like Scoop, to lower the amount of single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs) clogging our roadways.

“It is the employers’ responsibility to change the paradigm. SOV rates in San Mateo are at 70% — and that is unacceptable.”

By providing comprehensive transit solutions, leading businesses and small employers alike can take an active role in reducing the prevalence of solo commutes regionally.

How employers are addressing the commute

Multiple employers spoke about their path to building transportation programs that improved the commute for their workforce.

Dana Aftab, EVP of Business Operations at Exelixis, described how, above all, his organization’s goal was to minimize employee turnover by addressing commute anxiety. By offering a myriad of transit modes such as shuttles, ferries, and promoting Scoop Carpooling, the company hopes to remove all barriers that prevent employees from getting to work. With these strategies, Aftab said that Exelixis has seen parking spots open in their lots, reduced their CO2 footprint, and decreased commute costs.

Michael Alba, the leading transportation executive at Facebook, described his goal of bringing more people together to remove traffic from our roadways. With distributed housing throughout the Bay Area, companies like Facebook are searching for ways to provide alternative commute options to employees without access to buses and public transit.

One of the best ways to do that, Alba noted, is by facilitating carpooling — which works well for longer distances. But, in order for carpooling to work, there needs to be an incentive. Alba pointed to Scoop, which handles all management and coordination for carpooling while incentivizing riders and drivers to incorporate carpooling into their daily routines.

Employers found that utilizing innovative carpooling programs was one of the most effective ways to improve the commute experience, reduce turnover, save on cost, and prioritize sustainability. Not only does carpooling solve multiple pain points for employees, but it also has an underlying benefit of building a community in the workplace.

Carpooling is the most effective transit solution and even builds community

At the event, Jamie Jarvis, Director of Sustainable Transportation Programs at Stanford Research Park (SRP), shared how her company has found a comprehensive commute solution with Scoop. At SRP, carpooling has unlocked a new level of human connection by bringing people together. Jarvis describes how Scoop has helped interns, who are often new to the area, network with co-workers and find mentors during their commute. The interaction provides a mutual benefit, with interns gaining insight into the world of work and forming valuable connections, while more senior employees gain a fresh perspective from someone who’s new to the workforce.

Jarvis stated that carpooling increases quality of life for SRP employees, and what keeps employees coming back to Scoop is how it provides them with a greater sense of community at their employer.

Learn more about how Scoop partnered with SRP to transform the commute for their business park:

Want to bring the numerous benefits of carpooling to your organization? Contact us at business@takescoop.com.

Header image courtesy of SFGate.


Chris Cox

Chris Cox

Chris Cox is a Social Media Manager at Scoop, producing and distributing editorial content across all digital platforms. When he isn’t busy trying to create something, you can find him on Netflix or at your local Taco Bell drive-thru.

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