This report was created to present the findings of a study aimed to curve the impact of the large number of workers we employ on local traffic. Many city and county transportation officials are interested in exploring ways to solve the traffic issues. The research in this report analyzes the commuting patterns of our 43,500 employees. Traffic is a daily battle for many commuters and has become a problem in our area.
For many people, the commute to work is disastrous. It is not uncommon to hear of people leaving hours early for work simply because of traffic. Although traffic can be found mostly everywhere, the area surrounding our company is unbearable. We are known as the largest private employer in this area, employing over 43,000 people. This fact, combined with normal traffic patterns, creates much more traffic in other areas and problems with commuting.
The purpose of this report is to alleviate the problems with traffic due to the high number of people we employ. The first step in this process is analyzing the workforce’s transportation habits and attitudes.
This report will focus mainly on the transportation habits of the workforce, as well as their opinion on possible changes.
Employee Carpool Habits
One simple way to help reduce traffic problems is the use of carpooling. The idea of employee carpooling is simple-employees who live in close relation to each other commute to work together, using only one car. Four people carpooling together takes three cars off the road that would have been there had they not carpooled. Carpooling is also mutually beneficial to the employees. Many save a large sum of money and they are no longer required to physically drive to and from work every day. An added benefit is the 85 million gallons of gas saved every year by carpoolers. The results of the research are displayed in Figure 1. Based on the research done at our company, 23% of employee’s carpool to work every day and 10% report that they are carpooling on certain days of the week. A small percentage (2%) showed that these workers randomly carpool. The majority of the employees reported that they never carpool. Currently, 64% of our employees are not carpooling at all. Increasing the amount of carpooling being done from just one-third of the employee population to half or more will result in great change. As stated before, carpooling is a very easy and convenient way to get many cars off the roads with little change and has much benefit for both the individuals’ carpooling and the function of these populated areas.
Employee Use of Public Transportation
Public transportation provides a convenient and inexpensive alternative to regular commuting. There are many types of public transportation including buses, trains, subways and ferries. These provide commuters with a range of options to decide what one works best for their commute. Results for a survey on the frequency of public transportation used by the employees at this company are displayed in figure 2. Currently just over half (54%) of the workforce uses public transportation every day of the week and just 28% of employees never use it. This shows that public transportation is possible for the workers. Because of the high number of employees that use public transportation, it can be concluded that the increase in use of public transportation is a possible solution. To generate ideas on how to increase the use of public transportation, a survey was completed that asked the employees to select as many of the seven ways provided to increase frequency that they saw relevant. The results are depicted in a column graph in figure 3. The graph shows that the results of the study found that the majority of people selected that nothing could encourage them to take public transportation. Although lower fares and improved safety were selected as the most desired option, over 8,000 employees would not use public transportation no matter the change. It appears that people’s use and opinions of public transportation are difficult to change and there is no one solution that would increase the amount of people using it significantly enough for it to be worthy of doing.
Distance Traveled to/from Work
A potential solution to the issue of traffic patterns is the increase in employees walking or riding their bikes, scooters etc. This is a low-cost solution that like carpooling, has mutual benefits for the employee. Because we can not ask people to move closer to work so they can walk or bike, there are no ways to change the option to make it more appealing as done with public transportation. To determine if this is a possible solution to the problem a survey was completed that asked the participant to report the distance traveled one way to work. If the majority of the employees live in close proximity to the company, using other modes of transportation could be viable. The results of this study are shown in figure 4. The majority (53%) of the workforce lives within 4-10 miles and the second largest percentage chosen was 11-20 miles. Unfortunately, that is too far of a distance and it would be difficult to get employees to do. If the majority had fallen in the 1-3 mile range, this solution could have been a potential solution but only 16% of the employees chose this option. Therefore, the idea of commuting on foot or bike as a solution to this problem would not be effective.
An option that could impact the traffic patterns of this area is an increase in telecommuting. Telecommuting is when you are able to conduct your business from your home, thus cancelling out the issue of a commute altogether. A survey was done to inquire about the amount of workers whose jobs allow them to work from home. With this information, we can better predict if telecommuting is a realistic option. The results are displayed in figure 5. Based on these results, only 28% of employee’s jobs would allow them to work from home and the majority (43%) of the workers reported that their jobs do not allow them to work from home. Telecommuting is an intriguing option because it is the only one that removes the commute entirely. The problem with telecommuting is that many jobs are not suited for a home office, and require many other things besides a computer. The way that the company is established now, telecommuting does not seem like a viable option. However, if the company were willing to change some things and make the company more flexible, telecommuting could be a great way to solve this issue.
Through the use of surveying and analysis, it is apparent that changing the commuting patterns and improving traffic around the company will be difficult. There are a large number of employees and with a large group, comes wide variety. The ideas to increase carpooling and telecommuting appear to be the most realistic options and the ones that would produce the most results. Public Transportation appears to not work for many, no matter the circumstance changes making this not an option. Lastly, the potential to increase the frequency of employees walking and biking to class is not a solution because the majority of employees live outside walking distance.
Based on the results found in the surveys, I am recommending that the best option for changing traffic patterns is an increase in carpooling. An incentive for employees to carpool would be a good start to moving towards this. By running an incentive type program for employees who have never carpooled before would allow those employees to see the benefits of carpooling. Ideally, the employees would see that carpooling is a great solution to this problem.