Chapter 2, ACCS Strategic Plan
This text-only version is offered as a more accessible alternative to this PDF document: Arlington County Commuter Services Transportation Demand Management Plan (PDF, 2.6 MB).
EXISTING TDM SERVICES
ACCS’ programs and services touch each component of a trip a resident, employee, or visitor makes in Arlington. Programs provide information on the full range of transportation options available and promote the benefits of using transit, walking, biking, and sharing the ride.
ACCS provides programs and services that focus on trip generators, or the starting points and destinations of any trip. These programs work directly with employers, multi-family residential communities, developers, schools, and hotels to implement customized traveler information and commuter benefit programs to assist people traveling to or from these trip generators. Services ensure that the public is fully informed of their transportation options beyond driving alone, as well as the benefits and any incentives for using transit, walking, biking, and sharing the ride.
ACCS also influences long-term mobility conditions through its research and development initiatives. The ACCS Research Program studies how people use the transportation system in Arlington County, their satisfaction with local and regional transportation options, and best practices in the development and implementation of TDM programs. This nationally recognized research program directly influences the programs that ACCS offers on a daily basis.
Beginning with a matrix describing which Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) TDM categories fall under each of the nine ACCS business units, the following section provides brief descriptions of all ACCS services and programs.
ACCS BUSINESS UNITS MATRIX
Using ‘X’s, the matrix shown below (Table 4) summarizes which of DRPT’s TDM categories fit into each of ACCS’ nine business units.
|Business Unit||Ridematching||Vanpool Assistance||Residential Outreach||Employer Outreach||Telework||Marketing & Promotion||Guaranteed Ride Home|
|Arlington Transportation Partners||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|The Commuter Stores®||X||X||X||X|
|Commuter Information Center and Distribution Group||X|
|TDM for Site Plan Development||X||X||X|
ACCS SERVICE OFFERINGS BY DRPT CATEGORY
This section describes ACCS' various service offerings as grouped by DRPT-defined categories. Alongside the title of each program, the logos of the ACCS business units affiliated with each offering are displayed. Each of these business units contributes to the corresponding program via either direct or peripheral support.
Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP) provides transit benefit assistance to employers, helping them determine which tax-free transit benefits [IRS Section 132(f)] are right for a specific company and help throughout the implementation process, including program creation as well as policies and open enrollment for employees. ATP also offers the following services:
ATP’s Champions program recognizes and rewards businesses, residential communities, commercial properties and schools in Arlington County for implementing transportation programs and strategies.
Employee Transportation Survey
ATP provides a comprehensive survey for employers to administer to help them understand their employees’ commuting patterns and needs and understand mode splits. The results also help ATP to recommend the right programs and information to each individual employer.
ATP’s customized marketing materials include newsletters, commute planners, quick glance sheets, posters, and resource guides that are created exclusively for each company and office location.
Transportation Events for Employers, Employees and Tenants
ATP sponsors seminars, brown bag lunches, and workshops to provide more information to companies and their employees about commuting options and benefit information. ATP also holds networking events for clients and prospects to meet other clients and share best practices.
ACCS’ easy online Brochure Service provides employers with free brochures about Metrorail, ART and Metrobus, carsharing, bicycle, pedestrian, and other transportation options.
ATP engages single occupancy drivers commuting to Arlington or individuals utilizing transit but looking for alternatives about vanpooling. ATP supports this program by coordinating ridematching, geofencing advertising and strategically marketing in specific areas of the DC region.
ATP educates companies about corporate membership and assists them with enrollment and renewal. ATP also shares station adoption and sponsorship opportunities.
Bicycle Friendly Business Assistance
ATP representatives help companies submit applications and receive national recognition for programs that have been implemented to promote bicycling, such as safety workshops for employees, bike racks, the IRS bicycle benefit, and other initiatives.
Best Workplace for Commuters (Center for Urban Transportation Research – USF)
ATP representatives help companies submit applications and receive national recognition for programs that have been implemented to encourage sustainable transportation innovation at employer sites.
Office Relocation Services
If a company is considering a move to Arlington, ATP will analyze the company’s relocation issues and provide recommendations for solving the commuting impact on employees. ATP also serves a collaborative resource for Arlington Economic Development (AED) during the entry of a new business into Arlington or the relocation of an existing one.
In addition to the above services for employers, ATP also provides Arlington hotels with all the information and materials that staff members need to inform and assist guests about local transportation options.
Through ATP, ACCS provides customized marketing materials that include commute planners; quick glance sheets, posters, and resource guides that are created specifically for a property and its location; manager and concierge training for property managers; building concierge, residential building events and promotions; exclusive Capital Bikeshare membership opportunities; transportation brochures; and transportation information displays. ATP also conducts a periodic Resident Transportation Survey.
BikeArlington and WalkArlington conduct regular direct outreach to residents and employees, teaching bike safety classes or leading walking tours of neighborhoods. Car-Free Diet regularly attends community-sponsored events throughout Arlington to provide residents with information and answers to questions about transit options.
Additionally, Mobility Lab provides residents with resources such as survey information, data analysis, and up-to-date transit and transit technology news. Mobility Lab’s tech meet ups and annual Transportation Camp provide residents, employees, and regional partners easy access to the larger TDM conversation.
Marketing and Promotion
ACCS provides ongoing marketing support for ART, Metrorail, Metrobus, and Capital Bikeshare services in Arlington County. Of the $1 million budgeted for marketing, 24.5 percent is allocated for transit marketing and 67 percent is allocated for Car-Free Diet umbrella marketing. Arlington’s Car-Free Diet (CarFreeDiet.com) is a dynamic website complete with a calculator that displays money saved, calories burned, and CO2 emissions reduced through reducing drive alone travel. The Car-Free brand also promotes the online tools, Car-Free Near Me and Car-Free A to Z, which helps trip takers by allowing them to plug in their current location and see the full scope of transit options available to them or plan a multi-modal trip. The Car-Free Diet and its benefits have been promoted with multiple county-wide and location specific brochures and direct mail to Arlington households. Car-Free Diet also places ads in many different media including web, print and on bus and rail and in Metro stations. There is a strong and active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Over 400 Car-Free Diet Retail Partners help promote the Car-Free Diet with free standing brochure racks located in their businesses.
Additionally, through the Marketing business unit, the bilingual (Spanish and English) Street Team regularly attends community sponsored events and organizes its own outreach events at community centers, libraries, shopping centers, schools, and places of worship, as well as partnerships with retail locations.
Commuter Stores® & Commuter Direct®
The Commuter Store®, Mobile Commuter Store, and CommuterDirect.com® provide one-stop shopping for fare media for Metro, DASH, VRE, MARC, Commuter Bus (Loudoun County Transit and PRTC), DC Circulator, Capital Bikeshare, and EZ Pass. The Commuter Store® offers information, sales, and assistance at four fixed locations in Arlington and Maryland, and through its three Mobile Commuter Stores that serve additional regional locations. Printed bus schedules and free publications are available. Staff assist patrons in planning the best way to travel, whether by bus, rail, carpool, vanpool, or bicycle. CommuterDirect.com® allows commuters to purchase transit tickets and passes online for delivery as well as a means to redeem transit benefits for the purchase of tickets and passes in the region. The Commuter Information Center (CIC) provides call center support for Arlington Transit (ART) and the CommuterPage.com, as well as sales and fulfillment support for CommuterDirect.com®. The Commuter Store® maintains agreements with each of the area transit operators, reconciling sales made by the end of each calendar month and subsequently reimbursing operators for sales made by the end of the following month. Commuter Store® statistics from FY2016 are outlined in Table 5 and Table 6 below.
Table 5: Commuter Store® Statistics in FY2016
|Store Location||Customers, Annual||Customers, Avg. Monthly||Transactions, Annual||Transactions, Avg. Monthly||Sales, Annual||Sales, Avg. Monthly|
|Mobile Commuter Stores®||33,192||2,766||11,064||922||$1,547,590||$128,965|
Table 6: Commuter Store® Sales by Transit Agency in FY2016
|Transit Agency||Annual Sales|
|Other Fare Media||$20,101|
|Total Gross Sales||$6,869,713|
Capital Bikeshare is promoted through all of ACCS’ business units. BikeArlington oversees the County’s contract with the Capital Bikeshare vendor, participates on the regional bikeshare stakeholder group with other jurisdictions who are members of Capital Bikeshare, and provides in-house planning and management of operations of Arlington’s portion of Capital Bikeshare. BikeArlington works closely with other local agencies and the public to determine both short and long-term plans for growth of this popular mode of travel in Arlington. ATP secures corporate memberships and opportunities for station adoption and sponsorship.
In Arlington County, many commercial buildings are required to manage carpool/vanpool incentive programs that offer convenient, reserved spaces and reduced parking rates for pooled vehicles. ACCS provides residents, employees, and visitors with easy access to vanpool ridematching and, through ATP and The Commuter Store®, provides clients with information and support in reaping the benefits of coordinated vanpool programs. ACCS promotes the regional Vanpool Alliance and, through ATP’s Vanpool Connect program, subsidizes the startup of vanpools and assures vans are included in the Vanpool Alliance.
Arlington County Public Schools operates the County’s Safe Rides to School Program for APS students. However, ATP does coordinate its own TDM for Schools program aimed at Arlington’s teacher and staff populations. Through this program, ATP identifies and discusses mode shift goals for individual schools, focusing on promoting transit, biking, walking, carpooling and vanpooling in facilities not serviced by fixed route transit.
Carsharing is promoted through Commuterpage.com, CarFreeDiet.com, and at the Commuter Stores®. ATP also promotes carsharing and carshare discounts to its clients as an option for employees who need a car during the day. Arlington residents, employees, and visitors have access to three major car sharing services, Zipcar, Enterprise CarShare and car2go. Zipcar has over 50 vehicles – including hybrid cars – available in Arlington and many more throughout the region. Enterprise CarShare offers access to seven vehicles in the Rosslyn, Ballston, Clarendon, Courthouse, and Crystal City neighborhoods. Car2go has approximately 200 cars located throughout Arlington.
ACCS provides easy access to ridematching services through the website CommuterPage.com®; The Commuter Store® brochures, computer kiosks, and customer service representatives; and through ATP’s employer and resident services such as customized commute planners and ridematching-focused events. Through the website, ACCS provides short descriptions and a link to 20 websites which provide ridematching services across the Washington metropolitan region.
ATP provides information and support for employers that want to establish and administer a telework program. ATP provides information on telework programs and answers any client questions. Staff also explain implementation choices and help the client to design the best telework program for the company. ATP provides workshops or seminars to explain telework to managers and staff, and can act as a liaison to teleworking resources.
Guaranteed Ride Home Program
ACCS promotes the MWCOG guaranteed ride home (GRH) program through the CommuterPage website, Commuter Stores®, and through ATP client relationships. GRH provides commuters who regularly (at least twice a week) carpool, vanpool, bike, walk or take transit to work with a free and reliable ride home when one of life’s unexpected emergencies arise. Commuters who sign up for the program may take advantage of GRH up to four times per year to get home for unexpected emergencies such as a personal illness or a sick child. GRH can also be used for unscheduled overtime when the employer mandates that the employee stay late.
OTHER ACCS PROGRAMS
ACCS offers several additional programs that do not fit directly into the categories shown above. These programs are described below.
Mobility Lab provides research, policy recommendations, and peerless communication of best practices for advocates to increase awareness and education about more and advanced transportation options for people. Mobility Lab has grown an international reputation for sharing transportation demand management stories through a rapidly expanding online network of research. In addition to its online presence, Mobility Lab regularly hosts events such as Transportation Camp, Transportation Techies, and Hack Night, which convene top advocates, practitioners, researchers, technology gurus, and more, making Mobility Lab a sought-after partner in the TDM world.
Mobility Lab has received awards and accolades from organizations such as the Association for Commuter Transportation, Partnership for Mobility Management, The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, Eno Center for Transportation and from former US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Mobility Lab subject matter experts are regularly sought out for expert testimony by regional and national media such as USA Today, NPR, Wired, San Francisco Chronicle, and Bloomberg.
ACCS has spearheaded the development of several TDM technologies. In 2015, ACCS released the Car-Free Near Me and CarFreeAtoZ tools, each of which has its own website that allows travelers to plug in a current location and view a scope of transit options available. Interactive Car-Free Near Me kiosks are also available at The Commuter Store®. Both technologies have supported the prevalence of real-time travel information in the region. Additionally, through Mobility Lab, ACCS participates in a number of technology innovation programs in the region and spurs the development of new technologies such as CarFreeAtoZ and Transit Screen, which offers real-time transit information on a digital display to residents in various locations across the County.
TDM for Site Plan Development
TDM for Site Plan Development is the business unit that coordinates the design and implementation of large building projects with commuter and transit infrastructure and services to enhance the mobility of residents, workers, and visitors. Consistent with the vision and mission of ACCS, TDM for Site Plans works directly with developers and property managers to mitigate the transportation impacts of residential and commercial development by increasing the availability, awareness, and use of transit, ridesharing, carsharing, biking, bikesharing, and walking. One major strategy of this program is to incorporate physical infrastructural features, such as bike parking facilities, showers, and lockers, and information displays into new or renovated development at the time of construction. Another major strategy is to monitor TDM program implementation to ensure it meets commitments, and that properties are connected to all the resources at their disposal. TDM commitments range from reduced price parking for carpools and vanpools to provision of transit, bikeshare, or carshare subsidies; from managing showers and lockers for bike commuters to distributing brochures about bus routes and schedules, the bikeway system, and other local transportation options. Performance monitoring also requires the capture of trip generation and mode split performance data at site plan buildings to better understand their transportation impacts, and the influence of TDM programs.
In all of its work, and in particular through the Arlington’s Car-Free Diet program, ACCS encourages employers and consumers to utilize public transit in Arlington and around the greater Washington, DC region. ACCS’ Marketing business unit also supports Arlington’s Transit Bureau by designing, updating and printing all schedule brochures, managing the ART website and social media, as well as, maintaining and placing all public transit signage around the county. The Marketing business unit promotes new routes, service changes and the iRide SmarTrip™ card, which provides a discount on ART fares for all Arlington middle and high school students, as well as promoting STAR – Arlington’s paratransit service.
ACCS offers ample trip planning information and access to all travel options in the region through the CommuterPage.com® website. In addition, as mentioned, the Car-Free Near Me and Car-Free A to Z tools each allow users to automatically view a range of non-automobile transportation options at the touch of a button.
Bike and Walk Promotion
BikeArlington focuses on Arlington residents, business and local government to encourage more people to bike more often. BikeArlington works with the community and County planners to provide improved trails and bike lanes, customized support, such as the Arlington County Bike Map and Comfort Bike Map, as well as event hosting and other community outreach efforts that welcome and encourage cyclists. BikeArlington is a regional conduit for bike advocacy and the dissemination of bike information and manages bike trail counts and bike trail usage data reporting to stakeholders. As a result of BikeArlington efforts, Arlington County is continually designated a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
WalkArlington focuses on walking as a healthy, enjoyable way to get around Arlington County. WalkArlington works closely with County residents and planners to create Arlington-specific Neighborhood Walkabout maps and hosts monthly community walking events that support community and local businesses. Satisfaction with WalkArlington is high, with more than 25 Walkabouts taking place over the years, highlighting Arlington’s residential communities and historic neighborhoods. Arlington County was recently designated a Gold-Level Walk Friendly Community by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center for the second time in a row and was recently named "America's Most Walkable Suburb."
This text-only version is offered as a more accessible alternative to this PDF document: Arlington County Commuter Services Transportation Demand Management Plan (PDF, 2.6 MB).