Private companies look to making the commutes easier for employees


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The one thing you can depend on when it comes to traffic is the daily struggle of navigating through the congestion. 

Private companies recognize that struggle and are now taking steps to help their employees frustrated with traffic and helping you at the same time.

Central Texas’ Transportation Management Association, Movability, works with employers across the area to help them incorporate solutions such as teleworking, flex hours, passes to services like Car2Go or B-Cycle, subsidized transit passes, and assistance with carpooling.

“More and more private employers are taking steps to provide their employees with commuter benefits, and for a variety of reasons,” said Lisa Kay Pfannenstiel, executive director at Movabililty. “For many employers, the cost of parking is very high, and that’s an incentive to reduce the number of drive-alone cars coming into the office. For others, employees are feeling drained and are wasting time sitting in traffic.”

Pfannenstiel said they have a city-wide goal of getting about 20 percent or one in five commuters to shift their travel mode away from drive-alone commute to alternative transportation methods because studies show “traffic is able to flow much more smoothly.”

Movability works with several companies across the area, nearly 40 in all. 

Cirrus Logis is one of those, the tech company first moved to downtown in the late 1990s after they decided to leave Silicon Valley. 

In 2012, the company started looking at what transportation options were available for employees. They settled on shuttle buses. Launching them in the fall of 2012.

Three shuttle buses are available Monday through Friday. One travels from the north side of town and the other from the south. The third is used to help workers get around downtown and to pick up employees who travel to the downtown MetroRail Station. 

“We just took a very aggressive approach, it was a challenge we wanted to take on and we just immediately began looking at shuttle providers,” Bill Schnell, the company’s public relations manager said. 

He said the services are available for the more than 800 employees. 

“We found around 20 percent of our employees are getting to work on some form of alternative transportation,” he said. That includes the company’s shuttle buses, CapMetro bus and train services as well as cycling.

“We’re Americans and we love our vehicles and getting out of our usual routine is something that is a challenge to everybody,” Schnell said. “I think through a lot of changes at CapMetro and like the services Cirrus Logic is offering people are starting to see now that there are alternatives for them and we found that when employees take a chance and experiment with what works for them they’re finding that there are a lot of solutions out there.”

Cirrus Logic is one of 17 Austin businesses recognized for its efforts to come up with traffic solutions for workers. They made this year’s list for Best Workplaces for Commuters.

There are resources for employers looking to provide alternative options, Capital Metro’s MetroWorks program lets employers purchase bulk transit passes and includes vouchers for taxi rides for unforeseen emergencies. The City’s Transportation Demand Management program provides programs, such as Smart Trips Austin. It helps people find what transportation solution fits them best.

See some of the other companies that made the list of best workplaces for commuters in Texas:

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