Photo courtesy: Land of Sky
About the Program
Commute Friendly NC is a statewide recognition program that offers a simple and accessible structure to celebrate the leadership of all the businesses and organizations (large and small), throughout North Carolina who are taking valuable steps to support and shift single-occupancy, car-driven commutes to alternative sustainable modes, such as carpool, vanpool, telework, public transit, biking, walking and flexible work weeks.
This Program is funded by NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT). NCDOT funds five different Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs throughout the state: Land of Sky Regional Council (LOSRC), Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), City of Wilmington (GoCoast), Piedmont Authority for Regional Transit (PART) and Triangle Transportation Choices (TJCOG).
Commute Friendly NC is the result of several years of collaborative partnership amongst all these five TDM Partners, plus two other organizations- Sustain Charlotte and GoTriangle. The collaborative effort is led by the Triangle Transportation Choices project team at TJCOG. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, progress has been slowed in rolling out the program. However, in the summer of 2021 a very successful pilot was launched in the Town of Chapel Hill which resulted in the recognition of 32 businesses and organizations.
We are now pleased to open applications to any employer across the state of North Carolina!
Why Commute Friendly NC?
Commute Friendly NC was originally designed to be a statewide program modeled after the Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC) program. BWC is a national level program that provides qualified employers with national recognition, as well as an elite designation for offering outstanding commuter benefits, such as free or low-cost bus passes, vanpool fares, and strong telework programs. It is an annual fee-based membership program.
Triangle Transportation Choices has been promoting and participating in the BWC program since 2007. As of now, the Triangle Region’s Best Workplaces for Commuters program is housed at TJCOG. It encourages Triangle area employers to become BWC members and supports them by offering public recognition, technical assistance, training, web-based tools, and forums for information exchange.
However, over time it has become apparent that BWC’s annual fee of several hundred dollars a year is a major barrier to participation, especially for smaller businesses. This lack of participation resulted in a diminished regional competitiveness and awareness of the program. Lastly, the single designation system of BWC made it more daunting for employers who wished to work within a program over a longer time span in order to improve their benefits while still being recognized for what they have already accomplished. While BWC membership remains an excellent option for those businesses who do not face these challenges, Commute Friendly NC aims to be a more inclusive and competitive peer program to it.
Commute Friendly NC is a multi-tiered, State-level recognition program with zero participation fee. The program predicts that its three tiers and zero cost will spark local competitiveness, program awareness, and a more diverse cohort of participants. The 2021 Chapel Hill pilot program reflected these predictions with businesses and organizations of all sizes, specialties, and level of commuter benefits entering the program.