ACCS FY 2015 Annual Highlights
Arlington County Commuter Services: Sales, Marketing, Information, Education and Encouragement Programs
Highlights of accomplishments during FY15 by each ACCS program are summarized below.
Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP) – Employer-Residential Encouragement Programs
ATP had a record breaking year engaging their clients through their Champions program and ended the year with 737 employer clients. Of those employers, 434 (64%) in the network offer a transit benefit to over 116,434 employees – the highest rate in the D.C. region.
- Added 75 new clients receiving ATP services to customer base and 111 prospects.
- Recognized 122 clients in the Champions program based on the programs they offer their populations.
- Sold seven Arlington Capital Bikeshare Corporate Memberships.
- Assisted with 24 new and non-compliant commercial and residential site plans and sold seven Transportation Information Display units to developers and ATP clients.
- Residential Services ended the year with 315 residential clients representing 66,931 units or 99% of the market.
- Continued work with 42 hotel clients of 42 major hotels – 100% of the market.
- Organized and attended a total of 151 commuter and transportation events.
- Produced 305 customized client marketing collateral materials and 72 unique pieces for mail and electronic communications campaigns.
- Streamlined the number of clients receiving the Solutions newsletters electronically instead of paper version and distributed 26,000 pieces (2 publications).
- Digital goals focused on increasing online content, in-kind partnerships and social media presence. ATP.com blog increased views while actually publishing fewer blogs. Blogs were shared by partners and others who found value in the content resulting in increased visitors as well. ATP also broke their page view record in a single month by surpassing 500 for an individual blog. Total blogs: 139.
- Social media followers increased with a main focus on Twitter. Twitter saw a 134% increase and ended the year with 1334 followers. Facebook also increased to 227, and LinkedIn to 139.
- Segmenting the marketing for each program was also vital to not only increase awareness of ATP, but to also better define Champions. The newsletters were the first to be segmented, starting with Property & Development’s ATP Insider in September 2014 (10 editions with an average 33.68% open rate), followed by Residential’ s ATP Connect in May 2015 (3 editions with an average 58.9% open rate) and Schools ATP Educator in June 2015 (3 editions with an average 36.2% open rate). eSolutions (32 editions with an average open rate of 28.8%) has further transitioned to ATP Solutions and still services employer and residential clients.
- Continued database cleanup efforts resulting in removing 78 clients and prospects.
The Commuter Store®
- Relocated the two busiest stores, Rosslyn and Crystal City, to be closer to the customers using the transit systems:
- Rosslyn moved to the Metrorail platform entrance in the middle of February 2015; customer traffic has increased by 64% from March 2015 through June 2015.
- Crystal City moved closer to the Crystal City Metrorail entrance to a larger space in mid-April 2015; customer traffic has increased by 27% from May 2015 through June 2015.
- Overall sales for all of the Commuter Stores dropped by 3.9% from the previous year. FY14 sales were $6,986,481, FY15 sales were $6,701,953. This decrease in sales volume can be attributed to the elimination of paper fare media offered by WMATA.
- Overall customer counts for the year have increased by 5.3% from 202,126 in FY14 to 212,820 in FY15.
- Commuter Stores began selling EZ Pass flex passes to help promote carpooling in the region.
- Commuter Stores began selling Capital Bikeshare yearly memberships with members being able to get their fob instantly in the stores instead of by mail. Also began selling Capital BIkeshare cash memberships for Arlington residents who do not have credit cards or prefer to pay cash.
- Installed Car-Free Near Me touch-screen kiosks in Commuter Stores.
Distribution, Logistics, and Bus Stop Information
- Distributed over 450,000 brochures and timetables to individuals, companies and information display locations.
- Installed approximately 150 new map and schedule holders at ART bus stops.
- Visited and updated map and schedule information at approximately 1,150 ART bus stops.
- Repaired or replaced over 100 ART bus stop signs due to vandalism, storms or accidents.
- Made over 1,300 deliveries to internal clients including Commuter Stores, government locations and ACCS staff; average of about 25 deliveries per week.
- Record sales of $55.3MM for the year.
- MARC, VRE and Commuter Bus accounted for 98% of total sales.
- MARC sales of nearly $22MM.
- VRE sales of $17.28MM
- MTA Commuter Bus sales of $14.86MM.
- Highest single sales months were September 2014 with sales of $4.758MM and June 2015 with sales of $4.764MM
- Handled over 88,000 incoming phone calls throughout the year with 14 staff members.
Arlington’s Car-Free Diet continued to promote all of Arlington’s bike, walk, transit, car/vanpool, carshare, bikeshare, and telework options under this umbrella campaign.
- Produced a new transit options brochure with new schematic multi-modal map. The brochure was inserted in The Citizen newsletter which is sent to 112,000 households in Arlington. The brochure was also handed out at events and placed in racks throughout Arlington.
- Produced a series of 16 videos to run on YouTube and ATV showing how to go car free to Arlington locations such as farmers markets, libraries, community centers and to events such as Arlington County Fair, Clarendon Day, Rosslyn Jazz Festival, Oktoberfest, and Columbia Pikes Blues Festival.
- Created a series of 10 videos (5 English; 5 Spanish) titled “The Scoop” showing the basics to riding transit including reading a schedule, using a SmarTrip card and going to a Commuter Store.
- Branded the new transit planning tool –CarFreeAtoZ.com. Created a logo and worked with developers to refine the tool and develop a launch strategy. Developed a marketing campaign to create awareness and usage utilizing web banner ads, Google key words, and printed materials. Presented the tool at MWCOG, VTA Conference, ACT Conference, and coordinated with StayArlington to add a link to their website for visitors to use.
- Created online tickers to show bike and pedestrian activity from the counters located throughout Arlington. These tickers were placed on BikeArlington, WalkArlington, and Car-Free Diet websites. Tickers show daily bike and ped counts, as well as a year-to-date total.
- Designed and installed wall graphics for the two new Commuter Store locations in Rosslyn and Crystal City.
- Created a postcard with information about ACCS’ programs, products and services that is mailed each month to new Arlington residents.
- Created a series of PAL – Predictable, Alert, Lawful – ads titled “Peace,” “Love,” and “Happiness” that were placed in Metro stations, on ART buses, websites and along Columbia Pike bus stops.
- Wrote, submitted and was awarded a grant from DRPT to conduct one-on-one marketing using CarFreeAtoZ.com.
- Presented on the use of social media in transit for a Virginia Transit Association webinar.
- Partnered with BikeArlington to develop Arlington’s Capital Bikehare cash membership option.
- Posted to Facebook and Twitter daily. Facebook has 1,254 “likes” and Twitter has 5,237 followers.
- Published quarterly issues of Car-Free Diet e-newsletter sent to approximately 9,000 people.
- The Car-Free Diet Street Team attended 90 events, engaged with approximately 49,000 people,collected 7,524 Car-Free Diet pledges, distributed 87,188 brochures and sold 60 Capital Bikeshare memberships.
- Sponsored the Arlington County Fair, Taste of Arlington, Arlington Fun Ride, Columbia Pike Blues Festival and Clarendon Day.
- Currently have 416 Car-Free Diet Retail Partners who display schedules and transit-related information in their locations and have car-free information and links on their websites.
- Produced and launched a series of five videos “El que sabe, sube” (“The Scoop”, in English) to educate Spanish-speakers about how to use transit, SmarTrip cards, and trip planning tools. The videos have approximately 800 views.
- Launched targeted outreach for small businesses and Car-Free Diet Partners that employ Spanish speaking personnel. Customized presentations and talking points promoting the benefits of using transit, walking, biking, and carpooling. Presented at 14 establishments reaching approximately 250 people.
- Organized and participated in 86 events to engage stakeholders, civic and tenant associations, Latino groups, and community leaders through grass roots marketing efforts. Engaged over 2,650 Hispanics/Latinos and collected 460 Spanish pledges.
- Planned and launched “Capital Bikeshare Fiesta,” a local initiative designed to increase bikeshare awareness to the Arlington Hispanic community. Organized 28 targeted events, and sold 60 new memberships.
- Developed a Holiday season marketing campaign “El regalo del hábito de moverte en transporte público” (The gift of the habit of using public transportation). Materials included brochures with transit options to get to holiday shopping destinations, banner, social media, and using street team ambassadors at shopping centers to disseminate public transportation information and benefits.
- Initiated and developed the first-ever Capital Bikeshare Spanish brochures.
- Provided web resources in Spanish language for dietaceroauto.com, arlingtontransit.com/espanol, and commuterpage.com/espanol. Managed facebook.com/dietaceroauto.
- Attended transportation information sessions for the Catholic Charities of Arlington and the Office of Migration and Refugee Services with clients come from Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burundi, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Tibet, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Columbia, Haiti, and Russia among others.
- Informed the public of ART and STAR schedule changes, ART and Metrobus holidays schedules, TDP and other studies, Bike to School Day, BikeArlington and WalkArlington events, Earth Day, Try Transit Week, Car-Free Day, Virginia law “3 Feet Please,” safety messaging, Arlington’s County Fair, and Arlington’s Latino-American Festival 2014 and more by sending email communications, translating signage, posting in social media and online.
- Conducted targeted STAR and MetroAccess outreach presentations and Q&A for Arlington’s senior population.
- Supported the Student iRide SmarTrip card marketing efforts.
- Conducted two focus groups of ten people each to get feedback on the Dieta Cero-Auto communication campaign from the Hispanic/Latino audience.
- Distributed 8,000 Spanish language informational brochures to individuals, County Libraries, Commuter Stores, community centers, and Car-Free Diet Partners.
- Wrote a bi-lingual blog featured on ARLNow’s front page about Arlington’s Capital Bikeshare Fiesta initiative.
- Currently have 28 Car-Free Diet Retail Partners who display Spanish brochures and schedule information in their locations and have car-free information and links on their websites.
- Contributed to Board approved Title VI Program and the Transportation Language Assistance Plan and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) report, as well as numerous inter-departmental projects and other ACCS programs.
Arlington Transit – ART and Metro Marketing
- Updated ART schedule brochures, maps, websites and bus stop information for ART 41, 43, 84 and 87 schedule and route changes.
- Marketed the new ART 92 route that started in October 2014. Materials included schedule brochures, bus stop signage, fliers, social media and website information. Worked with ATP to get info to their clients in Crystal City.
- Worked with Arlington’s Aging and Disability Services to update the Senior Transportation Brochure in both English and Spanish.
- Created an infographic highlighting transportation infrastructure in Arlington County to promote “Stand Up 4 Transit” Day. The graphic was posted online and via social media.
- Oversaw the implementation of Arlington Transit’s Transportation Development Plan (TDP) Survey. Created the online survey and marketed the survey online, via social media and signage at County facilities and on buses. Worked with ATP to get info to their clients and coordinated survey intercepts at community events and at selected bus stops. Worked with the DES communications team to get info out to community groups, civic associations and conduct intercepts at public meetings. A total of 3,371 surveys were completed.
- Redesigned the iRide brochure to have a more appealing design for teens and updated the information. Brochures were placed in iRide kiosks at middle and high schools in Arlington County and distributed at various events.
- Continued to market and sell the Student iRide SmarTrip card to middle and high school students. Held school visits with the Mobile Commuter Store, attended back-to-school nights and attended the Summer Teen Expo.
- Promoted the ART Adopt-a-Stop program. Fifteen bus stops were adopted this past year for a total of 49 adopted stops.
- Updated and monitored ART’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Facebook likes: 347; Twitter followers: 1,145.
- Created a new $3.50 STAR Coupon. Reprinted STAR coupons as needed.
- Participated in the “See Something, Say Something” safety campaign by displaying ads in the ART buses and Commuter Stores, spreading the message via social media and ART Alerts and handing out promotional items at street team events.
- Provided feedback on ART's Customer Code of Conduct and Arlington Transit’s Title VI plan. Created bus cards to inform riders of their Title VI rights and posted information on the ART website.
- Worked on a marketing plan and materials for the Transitway project, including a flyer that explains how the dedicated bus lanes on the Transitway will operate.
- Communicator Silver Award of Distinction for Car-Free Diet
- MarCom Gold Award for Car-Free Diet
- Total of 27 regional and national awards for Car-Free Diet marketing since its inception.
- Completed two-year Walk Friendly Community Walkabout campaign, resulting in four new neighborhood Walkabout routes nominated, informed, and led by local residents.
- Launched new "Tell WalkArlington Where to Go" campaign to determine which of WalkArlington's four oldest Walkabout routes would be first to be updated. Survey respondents selected Crystal City (original route created in 2004), leading to the development of an updated Crystal City Walkabout route and a debut event in April 2015.
- Planned and coordinated Walk and Bike to School Day 2014 event in partnership with Arlington Public Schools. The event had participation of more than 500 students at the focus school and awareness/participation of more than 23,000 students at 33 schools district-wide. Supported Bike and Walk to School Day 2015, TDM for Schools program launch and management; Safe Routes to Schools activities and coordination throughout the year.
- Co-hosted tour of Arlington County for 45 bicycle/pedestrian planners from around Virginia, in coordination with the Virginia Department of Transportation and Arlington County Department of Environmental Services/Transportation Planning.
- Contributed to development of Every Body Walk feature article on Arlington County, entitled "What America's Most Walkable Suburb Can Teach Towns," which ran in six online publications and received over 200,000 views.
- Developed successful proposal to lead Mobile Workshop/Walking Tour as part of second annual Every Body Walk/America Walks National Walking Summit.
- Represented WalkArlington at ProWalk/ProBike/ProPlace and New Partners for Smart Growth conferences; participated in local seminars, workshops, and multiple webinars.
- Partnered with Arlington County departments, programs, schools, and community organizations on programs, events, and outreach on an ongoing basis to promote health, environmental, economic, community-building and transportation benefits of walking.
- Developed, promoted, and executed WalkArlington Scavenger Hunt and sponsored County Fair 5K Fun Run/Walk in coordination with 2014 Arlington County Fair. Developed promotional campaign for 2015 Fair.
- Partnered with Car-Free Diet and BikeArlington to promote the PAL (Predictable/Alert/Lawful) multi-modal safety and courtesy campaign.
- Promoted WalkArlington Works, a print and online compendium of resources to promote "walking workplaces" and walking-related workplace events such as Walk to Work Day and Walk @ Lunch Day.
- Produced new promotional materials to broaden outreach and increase WalkArlington visibility, including bookmark, shoe pocket, wrist wallet, and umbrella, all branded with WalkArlington logo and web address.
- Presented at 20 local meetings, seminars, conferences, and assemblies.
- Distributed 8,630 Walkabouts brochures on request and at events. Developed new rack cards and postcards to distribute in place of Walkabouts brochures while brochure is being updated. Distributed other targeted outreach materials throughout the year.
- Published 11 issues of the Pacer, WalkArlington's monthly e-newsletter, each issue sent to 1,450 subscribers.
- Expanded presence on Facebook, developed and launched Facebook promotions, posted 14 blogs, and contributed to partners' print and online calendars and promotional publications.
- Conducted ongoing media outreach, responded to inquiries, and earned 22 local and national media hits on traditional and online media.
- Organized and/or participated in 72 events with a total attendance of almost 12,500 people. Thirteen of these events were on-bike classes, and BikeArlington staff ran or assisted in 40 more hands-on educational seminars. Some new events included the Balaclavas and Baklava events (individuals can sew their own winter bike accessories) and a Pi Day Ride on 3/14.
- Coordinated and planned Bike to Work Day pit stops in Rosslyn, Ballston, Columbia Pike, and Shirlington and assisted with Crystal City and morning and afternoon stops in East Falls Church. There were almost 2,500 registered riders throughout Arlington’s six stops, and for the fourth year in a row, Rosslyn had the highest number of registered riders of any of the 79 regional stops, with 953 riders.
- Launched PAL Ambassadors street-team program, with a coordinator organizing volunteers to do fun, engaging street events to promote Predictable, Alert, and Lawful travel among all modes of transportation. A sign trailer with PAL campaign messaging was towed over 637 miles on Arlington streets garnering more than 44,000 impressions, and 73 volunteers contributed 131 volunteer/days to put on five Block Party events.
- Launched Rackspotter, a free, online crowdsourced tool to identify bike parking locations. Initially for Arlington, it is now available to mark locations throughout the greater Washington, DC region. Within 6 months, more than 2,000 bike parking locations have been plotted.
- Updated the Arlington Bike Map and printed/distributed more than 100,000 copies throughout the year via events, Car-Free Diet Partners and the Distribution Center.
- The Arlington hosted/administered www.WashingtonAreaBikeForum.com website had 90,909 unique visitors and 1,431,378 page views. The average session duration was 7:36.
- Continued social media presence with a total of 5,915 followers on Twitter (up 30% from 2014) and 2,426 likes on Facebook (up 24%).
- Boosted participation in the nationwide Bicycle Friendly Business/University Program with five new Arlington businesses receiving awards. With the loss/reclassification of several others, this brings the total number to 29, ranked fifth in the nation.
- Partnered with Arlington Public Schools, Safe Routes to School, and WalkArlington to organize the third annual spring Bike and Walk to School Day event, generating participation from about 5,000 students from all 31 public schools in Arlington. Also continued partnership with WalkArlington on the fall Walk and Bike to School Day. In addition, assisted the Safe Routes to School coordinator with programming and outreach.
- Maintained a Counter Dashboard on the BikeArlington website to make daily detailed information from the 32 automated bicycle and pedestrian counters scattered throughout the County publicly available.
- Promoted and participated in the National Bike Challenge, with the local BikeArlington-based team (Washington Area All-Stars) taking first place overall in the nation and Arlington resident community being the 18th in nation for most miles ridden during the challenge period.
Arlington now offers the nation’s first cash-payment option for bikeshare, available at all Arlington Commuter Stores.
- The Arlington portion of Capital Bikeshare expanded to 81 stations.
- Annual membership of Capital Bikeshare in Arlington is up to 3,169 (Up 14% from 2,772 in FY14).
- Peak ridership month was May 2015, with a total of 29,796 trips made starting in Arlington.
- There were a totalof 231,387 Capital Bikeshare trips taken in Arlington (up 20% from 193,090 in FY14).
- Coordinated and participated in 25 community and partner events (walking tours, workplace walks, health fairs, environmental expos, school programs etc.), reaching 4,945 people who live, work and play in Arlington.
- Updated Bicycle-Pedestrian Counter Dashboard. New version has the familiar Google Maps base map with pan and zoom, is more mobile-friendly, and provides more intuitive access to weather data.
- Updated transit, biking, and ridesharing information to reflect transportation changes in the region: the launch of Metrorail’s Silver Line and associated bus route and schedule changes; opening of I-95 Express Lanes; and the new Arlington program to plow multiuse trails.
- Launched new online maps for each of the popular Arlington’s Urban Villages pages on CarFreeDiet.com. The maps combine Arlington’s Car-Free Diet Partners locations and links with transportation options for each village.
- Created a new component to display posts from social media on CarFreeDiet.com.
- Reorganized ArlingtonTransportationPartners.com.
- Added Performance Statistics to ArlingtonTransit.com.
- Created Bicycle-Pedestrian Counter widgets for four ACCS sites.
- Improved mobile-friendliness of CommuterDirect.com.
- Updated CommuterDirect.com systems to handle VRE fare increase in June 2015 and prepare for MTA fare increase and new type of weekly MARC pass in July 2015.
- Other highlights:
- Launched GTFS Realtime for ART in Google Maps.
- Upgraded ACCS website hosting arrangement for increased security.
- Created greater separation of the increasingly popular CommuterPage.com Mobile Services (mobile.CommuterPage.com) to reduce strain on servers and software.
- The Redmon Group created a performance dashboard for DES to use on Arlington government’s website.
- Updated events administration tools.
- Updated ART and Fairfax comment ticket administration.
- ACCS website visitor sessions:
- 547,884 CommuterPage.com
- 169,310 Mobile Services (counted separately from CommuterPage.com starting Feb. 4, 2014)
- 77,043 BikeArlington.com
- 233,491 WashingtonAreaBikeForum.com
- 424,710 ArlingtonTransit.com
- 19,327 ArlingtonTransportationPartners.com
- 56,888 CarFreeDiet.com
- 9,019 CarFreeNearMe.com
- 19,570 WalkArlington.com
- 234,038 CommuterDirect.com
- 138,406 MTA.CommuterDirect.com
- 1,929,686 Total visitor sessions for all sites