Sun Rideshare News | Spring 2018
|The real value of giving your 'two cents'
Visualize your neighborhood for a moment. What do you see? Which roads, bridges, bike lanes or transit systems do you or people you know use? Where do the sidewalks lead? Do they connect you to your job or to education for you or your children? Do they connect you to social opportunities or health care? These are all transportation elements, and they can deeply affect the vitality of individuals and businesses. Some even influence our connection to larger markets.
Did you know that anyone who fills out the annual Travel Reduction Program (TRP) Employee Survey has a hand in planning these elements? The survey is required of local companies in our region with 100 or more full-time-equivalent employees. It yields information that helps with planning efforts in our region for not only transportation but also air quality (which are very much related).
If the survey is a hot topic at your workplace, you’re probably wondering: What’s in it for me? The answer is a whole lot. Deciding where that bike lane goes, where this bus route stops, how to signalize that intersection and whether to widen this stretch of road are decisions that can collectively affect big-picture things like traffic problems, economic sluggishness and air pollution.
When you are asked to complete the TRP Employee Survey, remember how you are affected by the time you spend on the road, where you can bike or walk, what job opportunities are available in our region, the health of you and your family, your access to healthcare services, and the type of development going up around you. Remember that you and your "two cents" are key to helping regional planners make choices about these things. The answers you provide could help plan for the very improvements you’ve been wanting!
Combo-commuting to the rescue
Struggling to find a carpool buddy, workable transit route or bike path so you won’t have to drive to work every day? Consider going multimodal: combining different transportation modes to find your sweet spot.
- Bike to a transit stop. If the bus stop is too far for you to reach on foot and doesn’t offer a park-and-ride lot, consider biking to it. Here’s how to easily load your bike on the bus rack.
Bonus: The average half-hour ride to work should burn between 200 and 500 calories.*
- Drive to a carpool. Drive to a carpool. Check SunRideshare.org and/or talk to coworkers to find a carpool along your route. Driving to a carpool meetup = less driving + more savings.
Bonus: You’ll save money by parking at a carpool rendezvous point instead of a paid garage.
- Bus to a bikeshare. Check the Sun Tran routes for a bus that can get you to one of the many Tugo bikeshare locations around Tucson that connects to your workplace or home.
Bonus: You don’t have to lay out cash to buy a bike or find a place to lock it up.
- Carpool to transit. Don’t have a neighbor who works near your job? Catch a ride with one whose drive to his/her job goes by a bus stop that offers service to yours.
Bonus: You’ll get the chance to better know the people who live where you live.
*Source: Cycling Weekly
3 ways to boost participation in the annual TRP Employee Survey
Few things get employees as excited as filling out mandatory surveys, right? It ranks right up there with sitting at every red light or missing the only bus that serves your neighborhood.
We know it can be an uphill climb for many employers to get the annual TRP Employee Survey completed, but survey responses can actually help with things like traffic-signal planning and transit options. Helping your employees understand such connections is a great start. Other ways to improve participation:
- Incentivize survey participation with a healthy competition between departments or by rewarding staff for meeting specific participation levels (e.g., above 60%, 75% and 95%).
- Reach out to us for help with a lunchtime survey session. We’ll even bring the laptops!
- Time the survey to coincide with another important event in your organization, such as open enrollment.
Relationship goals: Break up with bad ozone
Ozone belongs far up in the atmosphere, where it protects our planet from solar radiation. It is not good near the ground, where it contributes to smog and is hard on your lungs.
How does ozone end up near the ground? A complex chemical reaction between sunlight and certain human-made emissions can cause it to form there. During the sunnier months in our region, this “bad ozone” tends to increase. Commuters can help reduce it by giving the sun less emissions to cook up: Drive less. Idle less. Fuel up after sundown.
Commuter Spotlight: Summer Aubrey
What happens when you add a 20-minute walk plus an hour ride on a Sun Tran bus? You get one of the nice parts of Summer Aubrey’s day: her commute from Oro Valley to the University of Arizona (UA), where she’s a first-year law student studying Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy.
Ask her what she likes about this commute, and Summer will talk of new friends she’s met, TLC for the planet and the positive effects on her own wellbeing.
“The biggest reason is that it gets my day started early,” she says. “And it's healthier for me to walk to the bus stop as well. I cannot stress enough how much better my day is when I get up at 4:30 in the morning and leave at 6:30 and catch the bus at 6:50. I get fresh air, I enjoy the walk, and it's as though my day is just easier.”
Summer does have a car and can even be dropped off if she wants, but she says she prefers commuting this way. “I appreciate knowing that I'm contributing to a decrease in car pollution, even though it's small.”
The upside of Summer’s commute can also be illustrated in dollars. “A parking pass on campus is out of my budget,” she says, “and if I do have to drive for whatever reason, I generally pay eight dollars for parking.” Summer took advantage of an unlimited transit pass subsidy from the UA that she says was too good to pass up. All told, she describes her commute savings as “massive.”
It wasn’t all roses when this small-town girl first began taking the bus in August 2017. At first, she had a little trouble figuring out where some stops were, so she decided to drive her route and get a good look at stop locations one day. After that, taking the bus became old hat.
“I'd heard horror stories about city transit before actually participating in it,” she says. “I was thankful that I didn’t find those rumors to be true of transit in Tucson.”
Inspired? Curious? Check out the bus routes near your home at www.suntran.com.
Know someone with a commuting success story for Sun Rideshare News? Share it with us here!
New ways to ride with Guaranteed Ride Home
Our free Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program has long provided a safety net for Sun Rideshare users, giving them a reliable way to get home by cab in case of emergencies. Recent changes offer even more flexibility.
The program will continue to work with VIP Taxi and American Pony Express through their traditional GRH voucher-payment systems, but users now have another option: They can be reimbursed for emergency rides home from pretty much any transportation provider in town, including Uber and Lyft. Detailed instructions and restrictions for both options are printed on the GRH voucher. See complete Guarantee Ride Home details here.
Upcoming training opportunities for TCs
To sign up or for more information about these trainings, contact Genine Sullivan, TRP Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Need an article for your company/neighborhood newsletter?
All articles in Sun Rideshare News are available for non-commercial reuse. When you reuse an article, please ensure that all links remain active, all photo attributions remain intact, and attribution is given as follows: Published courtesy of Pima Association of Governments.
Interested in having your company sponsor TRP incentive programs?
For more information on how your company can sponsor TRP incentive programs, contact Mary Carter, PAG Director of Engagement and Partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pima Association of Governments is a Community Partner for the upcoming Governor’s Luncheon, hosted by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We look forward to hearing Gov. Doug Ducey discuss the important issues that emerged during this legislative session at the 4th Annual Governor’s Luncheon. Join the Tucson Hispanic Chamber on May 10, 2018. Click link for more information https://goo.gl/CgCepJ.
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