NASA – Johnson Space Center, Rice University and Transportation Engineers Inc. among the first employers in the eight-county region to be named Best Workplaces for Commuters. The winners were announced on January 25, 2024, during a webinar sponsored by the Center for Urban Transportation at the University of South Florida.
Out of the 700 employers recognized, 79 were in the state of Texas, and three were named in Houston. National Program Director, Julie Bond noted, "Thanks to the support of our BWC Partner, Houston-Galveston Area Council, we are thrilled to welcome the first three BWC members in the Houston area," said Julie Bond, Program Manager for Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC). "These employers are leading the way in transforming the commuting culture by offering innovative solutions for their employees to travel to and from work––we look forward to seeing more Houston businesses and universities follow their example."
Johnson Space Center, Rice and TEI, worked closely with H-GAC Commute Solutions staff this year to prepare for their application submission. Commute Solutions is the regional partner for Best Workplaces for Commuters and works with employers in Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties to strengthen their commuter programs and prepare for application submission.
Senior Program Coordinator, Emanuel Andrews adds, “The program is excited to have the opportunity to promote the outstanding commuter benefits programs that our partners have implemented, saving employees and students time and money while avoiding the stress of vehicle congestion.”
Those named to the annual list receive Best Workplaces for Commuters membership and in addition to national recognition gain access to an array of support services to strengthen their commuter programs, including webinars, guidebooks, and peer-to-peer networking opportunities. These resources supplement and enhance what is provided through the regional Commute Solutions program.
Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC) is a national program built to provide assistance to create and sustain employer-provided commuter benefit programs, and offers recognition and tailored support for Employers, Universities/Colleges, and Sites. The program is hosted by the National Institute for Congestion Reduction (NICR) and the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida.
For more information on how Commute Solutions can help your organization become a Best Workplace for Commuters, contact email@example.com.
Looking back on last year, we are incredibly proud of the things we accomplished together with our Commute Solutions partners. The region made clear strides to improve mobility and air quality, making our eight-county area a safer and healthier place to live. Below are just a few highlights from last year.
The Commute Solutions team was present at more than 100 outreach events across our region to educate commuters on their commute options. Commuters learned about vanpooling and viable transit options, gained interest in carpooling, and learned about a regional trip planning tool called Houston Connect Smart. From university outreach focusing on transportation as a basic need, employer outreach helping employers find commuting solutions for staff, to community events like Earth Day, Commute Solutions was boots on the ground connecting with commuters.
You all helped us launched our first year-long bike engagement campaign with Love to Ride. Our Bike the Gulf Community now includes 200 companies and 2000 individuals registering for campaigns, logging trips, uploading photos, keep track of leaderboards, and more all while leveraging biking as a form of transportation! The result, over 500 new bike riders!
This year’s Commute Solutions Month campaign focused on providing educational opportunities for our region’s employers. Topics included Biking is Transportation, Advocating for Vanpool in a Hybrid Work Environment, Innovating Transportation Mobility with New Technology for the Houston Region, and Exploring Elements of Outstanding Commuter-Friendly Workplace. All of these webinars and additional self guided resources are available on the Commute Solutions website.
The team wrapped up a flexible work pilot program with several employers this year to help them and their workers find better ways to work. Employers include public service organizations, such as the City of Houston, as well as private companies like Oncology Consultants.
"The City of Houston went from a non-telework environment to a hybrid-telework environment by partnering with the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Commute Solution team. Through the use of their experts, the city of Houston was able to implement a sustainable long-term telework program that works and benefits the business operations, managers, and employees. Our employees are more productive and engaged as a result of our hybrid telework program. We look forward to working with the Houston-Galveston Area Council on more projects in the future."
Alisa M. Franklin-Brocks
Human Resources Director’s Chief of Staff & Division Manager
City of Houston
“Our experience with Commute Solutions has been outstanding. Their services helped align our flexible work policies to fit our nurses' needs and help with retention. Commute Solutions' expertise, guidance, professionalism, and patience are what our company needed to shift our leadership to adopt more flexible work schedule options.”
Human Resources Director
Read the case studies in full and check out other resources in our telework resource library.
In May, H-GAC, in partnership with Love to Ride, invited individuals, workplaces, and community groups to join the 2023 Bike Month Challenge and hop on a bike anywhere in the eight-county region to encourage bike riding for fun, health, and wellness, and as a commute option.
Workplaces joined in the challenge and encouraged staff members to help climb the local and national leaderboards. Seven organizations in the region earned the top position on the Bike Month leaderboards by having the highest level of participation among workplaces of a similar size:
Aside from donated prizes and incentives, Love to Ride's social engagement feature allowed riders to encourage and high five fellow riders while also showing off badges earned just for riding their bike. View the Bike Month Challenge's top individual leaderboard. Some of the region's top riders are:
The Bike Month Challenge was just the kickoff to Commute Solutions' year-long Bike the Gulf campaign and our next challenge is this October called Biketober.
Biketober is a fun, free, and friendly biking challenge. You, your friends and co-workers are all invited to take part. The aim is simple - to get more people enjoying the benefits of riding bikes. You can ride anywhere, anytime in October to participate.
By logging your bike trips on the Love to Ride app or website or by syncing another app, you can win great prizes, like a $4,000 vacation. Plus, there are even more prizes up for grabs if you encourage other people to get involved, too.
There are so many benefits to riding a bike: from improved mental and physical well-being to a healthier planet to more affordable and efficient travel. Biketober is all about celebrating each of these benefits and sharing them with the world.
So, push those pedals, spread the bike love, and join the movement to get more people riding bikes this October!
Does your organization seek innovative commuting solutions to improve the quality of life for your employees? Is your organization looking to improve or maintain a positive organizational image?
As a partner of Best Workplaces for Commuters, the Commute Solutions program is in a unique position to sponsor up to ten employers and universities for this national recognition and membership. The Best Workplace for Commuters membership would provide your organization with public recognition as being commuter-friendly and a listing on the national website.
If your organization has implemented solutions to improve commuting for your employees, staff, or students, we would like to hear from you.
Complete a quick survey to let us know your organization is interested. The deadline to apply is November 30, 2023.
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month. Whether you walk to work or school, for relaxation or as a form of physical activity, it’s important to remember that everyone is a pedestrian. Learn how to create safer roadways as both a pedestrian and driver. We’ve included a few tips for drivers and pedestrians below:
Pedestrian Safety Tips
Driver Safety Tips
Create safer roadways by sharing information on how to be a safe driver and keeping pedestrians safe.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created a resource guide available to everyone! These resources can be used for your website, social media, emails, and newsletters!
The ConnectSmart mobile app is the first of its kind for the region that integrates trip planning and navigation across a wide array of mode options.
The Houston-Galveston Area Council's Commute Solutions program is just one of the many partners for this new project developed by the Texas Department of Transportation. Other partners include TranStar, METRO, Houston Bikeshare, Tow and Go, Fort Bend Transit, The Woodlands Township and many more.
The app launches September 16, 2022.
Celebrate Commute Solutions Month from September 1-30, 2022.
This year’s region-wide celebration will highlight companies, agencies, universities local governments and others in Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties that are doing great work to improve travel for their commuters, as well as decrease congestion and improve air quality in the region.
The recent hikes in gas prices have forced commuters to rethink the way they commute. Here are five alternate commuting options that help save money:
If you would like an estimate on how much you can save by changing your commuting patterns, try our Make Your Commute Count Interactive Calculator.
Need more of a customized plan to help you commute to work? Contact the Commute Solutions team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participate in our Story Contest. Submit a story or picture about your favorite bike trail to email@example.com for a chance to win some bike swag.
Want to learn more about bike safety? Join one of our bike safety courses throughout the region.
Visit our Bike Month page below for additional opportunities to celebrate in the region.
From April 1-30, commuters across the region can join a self-paced virtual Transportation Resource Fair sponsored by the Commute Solutions program. Featured are various options for saving money (and pollution) while traveling to work or school. There are videos to watch, brochures to download, and links to maps and schedules.
Visitors can also use tools like the Make Your Commute Count interactive online calculator that shows much can be saved by changing a commute even just one day each week. Participants can also learn more about the new ConnectSmart app and sign up as an early user to connect to transportation options like transit, bike share or bike paths. This fair is open 24 hours a day. Drop in when you wish, and visit the booths at your own pace.
The Houston-Galveston Area Council, through its Commute Solutions program, is looking for employers (business owners, company leaders, HR professionals, and anyone involved in the day-to-day planning and decision making of company policies) to take this year's Future of Work survey.
The information collected in this survey helps us better plan for the region's future in areas like transportation, community and small business development, land use and future workforce needs. We would like to know how your business has had to pivot in terms of flexible work and commuting—and how you expect things to continue to change going forward.
All responses will be anonymous and will only be reported in aggregate.
Please complete our brief survey about your employees' current commuting habits and your organization’s future of work plan.
For the entire month of April, every day is Earth Day! We will host a Virtual Transportation Resource Fair to discuss available commuting options within the region. The Commute Solutions team will also participate in the following Earth Day events:
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to learn more about small changes you can make to your daily routine that will help reduce carbon emissions.
Do you need Commute Solutions to assist your organization with finding a better way for your employees to commute to work, please contact Francis Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-993-2437.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently shared that the Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit will increase to $280. The benefit is one of the most effective strategies for helping commuters choose to take public transit and vanpools.
Both employers and commuters can receive their tax benefits through pre-tax purchasing. Employers may opt to directly subsidize payments up to the newly increased monthly limit. The benefit will provide affordable commuting options as offices begin to reopen.
H-GAC’s Commute Solutions program provides guidance and information for employers to help them align their commuter benefits program with organizational goals. If you or your employer would like assistance with updating or establishing a commuter benefits program, please contact Francis Rodriguez, Senior Program Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Visit the IRS’s website for more information about the adjustments for 2022.
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month. Whether you walk to work or school, for relaxation or as a form of physical activity, it’s important to remember that everyone is a pedestrian. This month creates the opportunity to increase awareness about the shared responsibilities of both pedestrians and drivers.
We’ve included a few tips for drivers and pedestrians below:
Pedestrian Safety Tips
Driver Safety Tips
Help us increase awareness around pedestrian safety and remind drivers to watch for pedestrians each and every time they are behind the wheel. Save a life by sharing information on how to be a safe driver and keeping those who walk safe.
Tell a friend, family member, or co-worker. Don’t know what to say? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created a toolkit available to everyone! These resources can be used for your website, social media, emails, and newsletters!
September is Commute Solutions Month, and this month we have one request--to attend one of our virtual fairs to learn more about alternate forms of commuting, such as biking, walking, riding the bus or rail, carpooling, vanpooling or telework!
Visit our Commute Solutions Month page to register for one of our virtual transportation fairs, where you can play games, speak one on one with experts, watch short videos, grab additional information and win prizes!
Managing the Hybrid Environment: Best Practices for Managers & Employees
8/12/2021 at 11:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
Special Guests, Elham Shirazi (E-Commuting) and Allison Velleca (AECOM) and H-GAC’s Deborah Mayfield.
This session will provide an insight into the latest trends and practices that impact the hybrid environment (having a schedule that allows employees to work at home a few days a week and few days in the office). We will also provide solutions to challenges that have become apparent during the pandemic version of teleworking and highlight best practices for teleworkers and managers.
Cloud Security and the Virtual Office
07/20/2021 at 11:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
Special Guests, John Tran, IT Manager at H-GAC and Virtual Q joined us to discuss arming your teams with a safe and secure virtual environment for remote collaboration.
Leveraging Telework in Your Return to the Office
06/24/2021 at 11:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
This session will provide an overview of telework programs, highlight the latest data trends in the Houston region, and how companies will leverage telework programs into the future.
Commute Solutions celebrates "Telework Week" June 21, 2021 -June 18, 2021.
Telework Week aims to educate and motivate employers and employees to adopt flexible working and trip planning practices for their return to the office. This year we are spotlighting teleworkers, tele-managers, and executive leaders who support telework and have found creative ways to engage colleagues while working remotely.
Nominate a person of your choosing through June 14, 2021. Winners will be announced on various platforms during Telework Week.
Commute Solutions invites you to participate in Bike to Work Week May 17-21 and Bike to Work/Wherever Day on May 21!
Are you teleworking? If so, you can still participate by taking a trip to the coffee shop for breakfast or even grabbing lunch at a local restaurant. Please review our bicycle safety tips below:
Don’t forget to snap a photo of yourself during your trip, share it online with the hashtag #GulfCoastBikes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, and tag us @HouGalvAreaCog for a chance to receive a Commute Solutions Swag Box.
May is National Bike Month! It's time to dust off that nifty bicycle in your garage and ride it to an event in your community. The Houston-Galveston region is vast, and events are happening in almost every corner to celebrate bicycling.
Visit our Bike Month website to learn more about events happening in May. You can also hear directly from the organizations participating in Bike Month by watching the archive of our 2021 Gulf Coast Regional Bike Month Celebration Kick-Off.
Join us at 1:00 PM, Wednesday, April 21st for an interactive webinar to discuss post-pandemic commuting in the Energy Corridor. Hear from key experts on biking, travel patterns, vanpool and transit commute options, and what has changed in the Energy Corridor during the pandemic.
The presentation will be moderated by Elizabeth Whitton, AICP, the Energy Corridor District’s Transportation and Mobility Manager, and include presentations from transportation experts.
With the help of our Commute Solutions Partners, H-GAC is pleased to share results from a recent Regional Employer Survey that looks ahead through 2021 to provide an outlook on the future of telework, office space and transportation needs in the region.
Employers answered questions about their specific worksites, the impact of COVID-19 on their operations, and what their worksites might look like in the future. They also shared their thoughts on how commutes may change as the year progresses.
Key takeaways from the survey are that area employers anticipate that the percentage of those teleworking at least part-time will more than double as a result of COVID.
For those needing to physically travel to work, carpool, vanpool, transit, bicycling and walking still play a role, but over 90% of commuters may choose to drive alone, which represents an increase over the 80% regional drive alone rate reported in the American Community Survey in 2018.
If this outlook is true, we will have some real work to do to reduce congestion in our region. Congestion, according the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Report, costs our area nearly $5M each year in additional fuel costs and lost productivity.
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
As an extension of Commute with Confidence, the #SitSafe Partnership was created to prioritize the health and safety of public transit riders within the region.
October 5 marks the launch of a region wide #SitSafe campaign to demonstrate what measures area transit providers are taking to help keep each passenger safe.
Participating providers have developed materials that you watch, read and share to with your organization or other commuters.
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Learn more about safety when sharing the road with bicyclists. This one hour class will cover the basics and offer an opportunity for question and answer.
In recognition of the League of American Bicyclists' Bike to Work Week and Commute Solutions Month, the Houston-Galveston Area Council invites you to Bike to Work (or Anywhere) September 28-October 4, 2020.
Join the fun: Post a picture of your ride to work or anywhere with the hashtag #biketowork or #bikeanywhere on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, and tag us @HouGalvAreaCog. One person each day will be selected to receive a Commute Solutions swag pack.
Make Your Commute Count is a fun, interactive calculator that measures the impact of driving alone. It also helps you discover how small changes can save you money in the long run and help reduce emissions.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out what Commute Solutions are currently available for you.
The Houston-Galveston Area Council invites you to celebrate Commuter Solutions Month with us and many organizations around the region, from September 1-30, 2020. This month is dedicated to helping Greater Houston explore the wealth of available commute options and how to best take advantage of these options to make your commute count.
Commute Solutions Month will look slightly different this year, filled with live webinars, social media contests, and a brand-new game to help you calculate how you can build a better commute. We will also celebrate Bike to Work Week and Day September 21-25 and September 22, respectively.
If you are an individual, stay in touch to get the latest information as the full schedule is announced.
If you represent an organization, consider becoming a Commute Solutions Partner.