Commuter Rewards Programs: Why Cambridge-based Green Streets Rocks

Is your workplace looking for an employee rewards program that encourages healthy/sustainable commuting? I’ve looked into different rewards programs in search of a partner and Green Streets Initiative’s (GSI) Walk/Ride Day Workplace Challenge is, by far, my favorite. Before I share why I think they’re superior to comparable programs, know that GSI runs a seven month Workplace Challenge whereby employees “check-in”, or record, their commute (modes and duration) on the last Friday of the month, between April and October. Participants are rewarded online, monthly, through raffles, discounts, and incentives offered by some participating employers.

Here’s what I like about them:

  1. Anyone can participate, even if you commute by car. All types of modes are tracked, include carpooling and alternative/electric car commutes. Many other programs track biking/walking miles only, attracting those who already adopt healthy habits and leaving out those who need more encouragement before making a change. The goal is to create awareness and change over a seven month period. So, if an individual ditches their SOV (Single-Occupancy Vehicle) commute on one of the seven Walk/Ride days, that’s a success.
  2. Small changes are noticed. The application tracks each leg of a commute. So, if a participant parks further away from the office on Walk/Ride day vs. their normal day and walks for 10 minutes, that’s recorded as a healthy and green change.
  3. Workplaces can measure the impact of the program on their employees’ health (calories) and their firms’ Co2 emissions reduction goals. Workplace coordinators have access to their own private web-based dashboard where they access employee and workplace metrics.
  4. The time commitment is minimal, though its enough time to get employees to rethink their habits. It takes 2 minutes for employees to “check-in” their commute online, and they only have to do it once a month, from April to October.
  5. The rewards are local and relevant. Participants benefit from discounts and free items from local bike shops, restaurants, ice cream stores. Raffles include bikes, scooters, helmets, clothing, Hubway (bike share) and MBTA passes.
  6. Workplaces receive recognition for their participation. They are ranked within their categories (size and sector) via a web-based leaderboard, and, at the end of the competition, they are celebrated with an awards ceremony (Last one was at Dana-Farber). Workplace awards are based on mode switches, calories burned, emissions reductions, as well as participation. Winners also get their own ice cream party!

Sold? It’s not too late to sign up for the 2017 Workplace Walk/Ride Day Challenge. Click here to get started.

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