The Westchester’s SMART COMMUTE Program is available free of charge to all employers and building owners/managers in the County as part of Westchester County and the New York State's commitment to reducing congestion on our roadways and improving the quality of the air we breathe. The program is designed to encourage and support companies whose employees are looking for alternatives to getting to work rather than driving alone.
Our SMART COMMUTE Team can fully explain how to implement programs such as:
An Alternative Work Schedule Program (compressed work week, flextime, staggered hours) can be beneficial in a number of ways, particularly to reduce peak rush hour congestion on our roadways. It can provide versatility and enable employees to more conveniently use transit and rideshare options, as well as avoid traffic congestion and transit crowding. It can also be an attractive employee recruitment tool that allows employees to work around childcare or school schedules. Employees tend to view Alternative Work Schedule programs as a highly desirable benefit.
This SMART COMMUTE choice reduces the number of cars on the road and in your company parking lot. Sharing a ride can save an employee up to $1,500 a year by lowering gasoline bills, insurance costs, and car maintenance.
Carpooling can be encouraged through computerized matching of riders with the same needs and through company involvement in ridesharing programs.
For more information and assistance about helping employees who may be interested in carpooling, visit 511NYRideshare.
Full-size vans and minivans carrying 7–15 passengers are the next step up from carpools. The vehicles may be company owned or leased from a private vanpool company.
511NYRideshare provides full assistance to employees within a company who wish to form a vanpool by holding information and organizational meetings. At these meetings, potential vanpool groups are identified, routes are planned and the program and commitment are fully explained.
Approximately five percent of the population live within walking distance of their work location and 20 percent live within biking distance. Walking or biking need not be done on a daily basis to be a valuable commute option; indeed, many employees walk or bike only a few days a week during the warmer months of the year. Employers interested in promoting walking and biking can do so by providing bicycle storage, showers and locker rooms, and by allowing employees who walk or bike to dress casually on those days.
To find out more about the trails of Westchester County and see the county's maps of existing and proposed trails and routes.
The Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation can provide technical assistance to employers interested in improving pedestrian and bicycle access to their work sites.
Westchester County possesses a strong network of transit choices serving in our region. Westchester County operates 63 bus routes linked to significant destinations throughout Westchester and also direct service into Manhattan. Regional bus service provides access from Orange, Rockland, Fairfield, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties. Additionally, Metro-North provides commuter rail service on their Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines to Grand Central Station.
What this means to your company and your employees is that when deciding on a Westchester location to situate your business, we can assist you to find the best, most accessible and commuter friendly location. Along with the County's Office of Economic Development, Westchester's SMART COMMUTE Program is available to assist your company with this important decision.
Parking Management Strategies
Parking strategies can be structured to provide incentives to employees who carpool or vanpool, or to encourage the use of transit. Measures can include parking charges, preferential parking for car and vanpools, pre-tax parking benefit, parking cash out, reduced parking costs for car and vanpools, and reduced parking supply. For more information and to explore possibilities at your work site, contact Westchester’s SMART COMMUTE Program at (914) 995-4444
We can show you how to encourage your employees to use alternative commute methods with services such as:
Guaranteed Ride Home
A Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program, also known as an Emergency Ride Home program, can significantly increase employee participation in transit use and ridesharing by allaying an employee’s concerns about getting home in an emergency (such as when a child is sick). While it is entirely up to the employer to establish eligibility requirements for a work site’s GRH program, most programs consider such things as the breakdown of a rideshare vehicle, missing a carpool or the last bus due to unscheduled overtime, or sudden illness to be bona fide reasons for using the GRH program.
Because most GRH programs work on a voucher system (where arrangements are made with a transportation provider for billing), usage can be easily tracked. This can also discourage abuse since employees know that their usage is recorded. An alternative is to ask employees to pay the provider for the ride home and be reimbursed later. In either case, what is surprising to most employers is how little a GRH program is actually used. It is a remarkably effective and cost-efficient program for promoting the use of transit and ridesharing. A turnkey GRH program that Westchester employers can join is available through MetroPool, Inc.
Trip Planning Request
Your employees can receive an Individual Trip Plan for their commute. This Trip Plan details specific transit routes or other options. If appropriate, transit timetables are sent out with the Plan. To access this service, contact Westchester’s SMART COMMUTE Program at (914) 995-4444.
Zip Code Employee Survey
The SMART COMMUTE Team will provide your company with a survey of where your employees reside using a zip-code locational software program. Once completed, patterns are detected that help develop and identify potential commuting partners from amongst all of your employees.
Commute Information Rack Program
Commute Information Racks are display units, large or small depending on your needs, that are filled with transit schedules and other alternative commute brochures appropriate to your work site. Keeping your rack stocked and up to date is simple and is a free service provided by the County of Westchester's SMART COMMUTE Program.
Automatic Fax Notification
As a SMART COMMUTE company, we will fax you information concerning bus service disruptions, as well as, other transit alerts that may affect your business or employees. You can pass along these facts to your employees so that they can make the necessary changes to get to and from work with the minimum distractions.
Regional & Local Transit Availability
The SMART COMMUTE program can provide you with the Transportation Services Guide which lists all of the regional and local transit providers in the County from the County's Bee-Line System to the regional providers of public transportation. This information is also available at our web site through SMART COMMUTE LINKS found on our menu bar. In addition to the above information we can provide you with a list private shuttle providers that your organization may wish to engage for the benefit of your employees.
It all begins with your call. A program specialist will meet with you to develop a Worksite Commute Plan which documents the commuting characteristics of your workforce and offers alternatives which can save them hundreds of dollars every year in commuting costs.
As part of Westchester’s SMART COMMUTE Program we will provide a Transportation Fair, tailored to your location, at your work site.
An information table, for example, can be set up in a common area of your worksite during lunch hours where employees can learn about their commute options in a casual atmosphere.
The Commute Alternatives Division of the Department of Transportation will provide posters to promote the Fair prior to the selected date and will set up on the day of the event. Employers are expected to encourage their employees to use alternative modes of transportation and encourage participation at these events.
At Transportation Fairs, employees have the opportunity to:
- Talk to Mass Transit Representatives to learn about commute options and plot a route tailored to their individual needs.
- Find a carpool partner with the 511NYRideshare System.
- Pick up current schedules for buses, trains, and route maps.
- Learn how alternative modes of transportation can help save time and money, reduce stress, reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a better quality of life.