Massachusetts Excellence in Commuter Options (ECO) Awards
The Patrick-Murray Administration recognized 125 Commonwealth organizations who have excelled in engaging and encouraging their employees to travel by public transit, carpools, vanpools, or by bicycling or walking during the Second Massachusetts Excellence in Commuter Options (ECO) Awards ceremony at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
MassCommute, the Massachusetts Coalition of Transportation Management Associations and MassDOT co-hosted the ECO Awards with MassRIDES, the statewide travel options program. MassCommute, MassDOT and MassRIDEs actively support Massachusetts employers in their efforts to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing drive-alone trips to work while encouraging employees to travel by public transit, carpools, vanpools, bicycle or walking.
Five Spotlight Awards were presented for Leadership in Sustainability, Leadership in Commuter Engagement, Leadership in Commuter Options, Leadership in Innovation, and the Rising Star to corporations whose efforts have exemplified how to incorporate sustainable transportation in the workplace.
Leadership in Commuter Engagement-Shire, Lexington
Shire has a long history of providing an outstanding array of commuter benefits to their employees. The Commuter Services team at Shire takes an active approach to educating employees about their commuter benefits, holding informational sessions and outreach events on a regular basis as part of their education efforts. Shire’s wide array of commuter benefits include subsidized transit, shuttles between transit stations and their Lexington office, quarterly stipends to employees who walk or bike to work, and an in-house ridesharing program, among others.
In 2011, the commuter services team successfully transitioned hundreds of employees from sites in Cambridge over to Shire’s newly-built facility in Lexington. This required extensive outreach to communicate with those transitioning employees about their options for commuting to Lexington.
Leadership in Commuter Options -Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) boasts a comprehensive list of options offered to their employees in regards to sustainable modes of transportation. BIDMC partners with Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to provide shuttle service to Back Bay, North Station, and within the Fenway, Kenmore, and Longwood Medical areas.
As a recipient of the City of Boston Gold Bike Friendly Award and Boston’s Most Bike Friendly Business Award, BIDMC sponsors the Boston Hubway Bikeshare System for three campus bike share stations. They offer bike repair kits to all employees, sell bicycle helmets in the gift shop, and provide bicycle racks and cages to accommodate over 100 spaces for bicycle parking.
BIDMC also offers transit and vanpool subsidies. They hold their annual “Healthy Work, Healthy Home” event where they promote green transportation initiatives, and their “Three-For-Free Program” which allows current employees to put their parking on hold for three months while trying transit for free. New staff members learn the latest commuter options available to them at all weekly new employee orientations.
Leadership in Innovation –Harvard University, CommuterChoice Program & Harvard Medical School, Cambridge
This joint award recognizes the accomplishments of two different Harvard University organizations, Harvard University’s CommuterChoice Program, and Harvard Medical School. Harvard University, as a whole, is a true leader in green innovation which carries over through their transportation efforts. Harvard’s innovative methods have yielded impressive results in relation to sustainable transportation. As a whole, Harvard has 1400+ NuRide members. These members have, in the past year, saved more than two million miles of vehicle travel, 84 tons of greenhouse gases which have saved their employees $200,000 in commuting costs. In addition, Harvard saves more than 1000 parking spaces per day in the heavily congested Harvard Square and Longwood Medical areas.
Harvard also offers many innovative solutions to make commuting even easier for their employees. The University encourages walking and cycling through several annual events, offers a subsidy on transit passes and vanpools, and has developed a mobile app for shuttle services throughout its locations.
**Leadership in Sustainability-Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts**, Boston, Hingham, and Quincy
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBS) offers transit pass subsidies, regular-running shuttles from transit locations to their three offices, compressed work weeks, preferential parking for carpoolers, showers and lockers, and flex hours. Alongside hosting commuter events throughout the year, they actively promote NuRide as a ridematching and rewards service.
BCBS has a department-wide Green Sustainability Team that works to promote a wide array of sustainable options throughout their facilities. In addition to their great sustainable transportation initiatives, BCBS also boasts a green certified building at their Hingham location.
**Rising Star-Juniper Networks**, Westford
A first year ECO Awards participant, Juniper Networks offers a shuttle service from its office to the Alewife MBTA station, working with nearby employers to offer this daily service. To further encourage transit use, Juniper provides a transit subsidy as well. For cyclists, Juniper offers a variety of incentives, including secure bicycle cages, free bicycle repair kits, and a reward program for frequent bike travelers who receive a $20 gift card when they ride to work ten times per month.
Additionally, 120 corporations were recognized across the following categories:
Pacesetter: Pacesetter employers are MassRIDES partners or TMA members and offer four of the following transportation benefits programs to employees:
- Offer & promote the Statewide Ridematching system
- Designated Employee Transportation Coordinator
- On-site bicycle parking
- Flexible work schedules
- Hold one commuter transportation event per year
- Commuter information and transit schedules in a centralized location
- Commuter information in new hire packets
Leader: Leaders have achieved Pacesetter status, are TMA members (if located in a TMA service area), and offer three of the following additional transportation benefits programs:
- Guaranteed/Emergency Ride Home Program
- Commuter tax benefits (pre-tax)
- Transit or vanpool subsidy of up to 30%/month
- On-site amenities(food service, dry cleaning, ATM/bank, child care,news stand, or other relevant service)
- Showers and lockers for employees
- Bicycling/walking rewards programs
- Preferential vanpool or carpool parking spaces
- Discounted parking costs for carpools and vanpools
- Incentives to encourage employees to carpool or vanpool
- Actively promote the formation of vanpools at the worksite
- Offers discounted and preferential parking for electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles
- Subsidize eligible bicycle monthly expenses
- Provide a team for the Bay State Bike Week/MassCommuter Bike Challenge
- Provide bicycle or pedestrian safety workshops
- Provide on-site bicycle repair and/or maintenance (fix a flat) supplies
Pinnacle: Pinnacle employers have achieved Leader status and offer three of the additional transportation benefits:
- Transit or vanpool subsidy of over 30%/month
- Shuttles from transit stations, either employer-provided or through a local TMA or similar service provider
- Incentives to encourage employees to live closer to work
- Parking Cash-out (cash in lieu of an employer-provided parking spot of at least $20/ month
- Formalized telework program
- Subsidized membership in a carsharing program
- Secure bicycle parking (cage or lockers)
- EV charging on-site
- Subsidized bicycle sharing membership
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