Santa Monica businesses and organizations are saddling up for a commuter challenge that puts environmentally friendly transport options to the test, while boosting company culture and creating alternatives to the daily travel grind.
The Commute Santa Monica Challenge has been up and running for the past two weeks with almost 50 businesses already signed up to take on transportation on a daily basis.
The challenge is web-based, so getting involved is easy. Go to commutesm.com and create a business or personal profile then type in your Start (A) and Destination (B) on the home page. A host of alternative transport options will be displayed for you including cycling routes, car pooling, bus lines, and walking choices.
Once completing your trip and arriving at your destination, simply log the details and your workplace or individual account will start accumulating points. The amount of CO2 output that you have saved is also logged.
Businesses and organizations of all sizes are being called on to encourage their employees to bike, carpool/vanpool, or ride transit to work, instead of driving alone, organizers explained. Individuals can also join in.
“It’s the perfect time to get outside, enjoy the weather and bike, blade or take transit to work,” said Ma’ayan Dembo from RideAmigos, co-organizer of the challenge.
An added bonus is that the challenge is a great way to know your colleagues and build closer connections, Dembo said. There are also great prizes donated by local businesses up for grabs.
“Cars on Los Angeles highways are a top contributor to greenhouse gases and smog,” said Jeffrey Chernick, Chief Executive Officer of RideAmigos. “Through the Commuter Challenge, employees can try alternative modes of transportation for their commute. These clean-air trips improve air quality, save money, limit congestion, and reduce stress.”
Studies show that when encouraged by an employer, employees are more likely to change their commute behavior, organizers added.
“As traffic continues to increase in Santa Monica, Colorado Center is always looking for ways in which we can do our part,” said Barrett Stone, Senior Property Manager at Equity Office Properties, a Commuter Challenge participant. “We are hoping that creating a fun challenge between tenants and employees will encourage people to jump on the “green” commuting band wagon.”
Awarding extra prizes to winners each month, Stone said that the Colorado Center is taking the challenge as an opportunity to highlight new green strategies that his company is adopting.
“In addition to rolling out the new Unity platform, Colorado Center is looking to provide additional amenities for those that take alternate transportation to work,” Stone said.
The center’s initiative includes a bike share program solely for Colorado Center, Zip Car as an option for those that need to run an errand or attend an offsite meeting mid-day, and secure, CCTV monitored bike cages and showers for bicycle commuters
During the month of May, the center will offer a DIY bicycle repair station and incentives for those that carpool or vanpool.
Colorado Center’s participation is exactly what organizers had hoped for, they said.
The challenge is three months in length, with different modes of travel highlighted each month.
April incentivizes general trip logging, biking is the focus in May, carpooling and vanpooling in June, and public transportation in July.
“With every logged trip, participants are automatically entered into weekly random drawings for prizes, such as gift cards to local merchants. In addition, at the conclusion of each month employers in four different size-categories with the highest rate of employee participation and CO2 reductions will be recognized,” organizers said.
Santa Monica’s 2015 Commuter Challenge is sponsored by RideAmigos, Urban Trans, Paradise Consulting, and the City of Santa Monica.
Challenge partners include: Urban Trans, Paradise Consulting, the City of Santa Monica, SM Spoke, Laemmle Theaters, McCabe’s Guitar Shop, Magicopolis, the Santa Monica Bike Center, Bike Attack, Pedego Santa Monica, Cynergy Cycles, Zone 3 Multisport, Helen’s Cycles, and Downtown LA Bikes.