ICYMI: Google and Bedrock Detroit, Commuter Benefits Webinar Transcript
In case you missed it: on October 22, we hosted a webinar with Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) National highlighting commuter benefits programs that change behaviors. And in case you weren’t able to webinerd out with us, the transcript is available below.
In this transcript, you’ll read insights from:
Sabrina Ruiz, Transportation Program Manager at Google, on how her program used a combo of incentives and disincentives resulting in a 43.5% parking reduction.
Kevin Bopp, VP of Parking and Mobility at Bedrock Detroit, on how daily incentives for non-drive alone trips increased alternative commutes by 3% (a remarkable feat for an organization with over 15,000 employees).
Casey: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today’s webinar. We’re going to get started here in just another minute or two so just hang tight. Thank you. Once again, for those of you just joining us, we’re going to give it about another minute here and then get started. Thank you. Okay, good afternoon everyone. My name is Casey Murphy and ACT Director of Programs and Events. I want to thank you for joining us today for ACT October webinar entitled, Incentives Matter, building commuter benefit programs that change behavior sponsored by Luum. Before we hear from our presenters this afternoon, I wanted to quickly take you a few housekeeping items. First, all attendees are on mute during this webinar. If you have a question or have a problem hearing us, please type it in the chat or question box located in the toolbar at the bottom of your screen. I will do my best to answer your questions as the webinar gets going. Also, we will have a Q&A at the end of the webinar. But during the presentations, please feel free to type in your question as we go. Please also identify who the question is for when typing in your question so we can make sure that your question is answered as best as possible. Finally, this session is being recorded and I will have the recording up on the ACT website within 24 hours after the presentation ends. Now, I’d like to go ahead and introduce you to David Straus ACT Executive Director to give an update on what ACT has going on, David.
David: Thank you, Casey. Good afternoon, everyone. I want to thank all of you that have joined us for today’s webinar. We have a record crowd on the phone today and have well over 500 registered for today’s webinar. But the premier organization for TDM professionals, ACT is continually striving to build a strong community of individuals and organizations working to advance and implement TDM at the work sites and within their communities. Before we get started, please take a moment just let us know if you’re a member of ACT. For those of you that are members, thank you and thank you for your membership, as it helps us advance TMD policies at the federal level and supports the development of strong TDM professionals. If you’re not yet a member, I invite you to join your colleagues and our TDM community of over 1,100 members and growing. Through ACT, you have access to the largest network of TDM professionals and current best practices and professional development. So, just curious here. Looks like a pretty good contingent of non-members on the call today. So, I hope you find value in the information you receive and look at potentially joining us as we move forward.
Before we get started, I wanted to take a moment to update everyone on some of the happenings at ACT. I want to thank the individuals that joined us recently in Washington DC for our legislative summit, where we were joined by former chairman, Bill Schuster, Chairman Neil and Congressman Lipinski. And we also conducted over 30 meetings with congressional offices to advance ACTs more through TDM legislation, which aims to raise the profile of TDM in federal policy. I look forward to seeing many of you as well and Seattle next month at are TDM forum November 12 to 13th. Where in addition to learning, we will honor our 2019 class of 40 under 40 recipients and present our annual TDM excellence awards. Finally, I want to encourage you all to think about that. serving on one of x national committees, which are important bodies helping to guide the future development activities, the organization and the TDM industry. Nominations and statements of interests are currently being accepted through the ACT website.
Now onto today’s main event. As ACT Executive Director, it’s always my pleasure to introduce our monthly webinar, and today we really have a great one. It’s incentives matter of building community benefit programs to change behaviors, and sponsored by Luum. The subject is at the core of what many TDM professionals work at day in and day out, the challenging task of behavior change, and continuously developing and evolving programs and incentives to meet the needs and wants of commuters. Today we’ll learn from two industry leaders who have designed commuter benefits programs with a mix of incentives and disincentives to spur employee behavior change. With Sabrina Ruiz from Google, will discuss her data and cash incentive program in Boulder, Los Angeles, Kirkland Bellevue. And then Kevin Bopp from Bedrock will share lessons from their daily cash incentive program and mobility partnerships as Bedrock works to encourage alternative modes of transportation.
To kick us off, I want to introduce Marko Iljadica. Marko is tasked with growing Luum’s enterprise user base as Director of Sales. He hails from Sydney, Australia, where he most recently worked as the Oceania Strategy Manager for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a global body that shares built environment professionals and organizations are operating in accordance with global standards and best practices and property construction, land and infrastructure. It’s my pleasure to welcome Marko.
Marko: David, thank you. I must say what an amazing webinar we have before us today. It is in fact the largest in ACT history. I do want to acknowledge that we have attendees representing employers, public agencies, TMAs, universities, hospitals, TDM consultants and specialists. So, first and foremost, thank you to ACT for all that you do. It is through these webinars, the forums, certifications and conferences that we all become more dynamic and informed TDM professionals. So, thank you, David, thank you, Casey, and to the whole ACT team. Now, before we jump into the presentations, I’d like to take two minutes to set the stage and explain how an employer or TMA puts itself in a position to deliver robust, flexible, commuter benefits. There are two key components for for behavior change that you’ll hear discussed today. The first one is that it’s all about the employee, and it’s all about daily flexibility. The second one is that the greatest behavior change is achieved through a combination of daily incentives and disincentives. So, just want you to sit with that, and then our presenters will unpack that further. Now, that doesn’t necessarily sound like rocket science, especially for the TDM community and a lot of the TDM professionals. We know that these are principles that change behavior and create an ideal employee commute experience. However, where does one start?
In order to get into a position to make the change like Google or Bedrock? First, you need two things, any data and engaged employees. You see, outside of an annual survey, you probably don’t have the robust daily data to analyze and understand your employees existing commute habits and preferences. What’s more, without this data, you can strategically engage employees to change their commute behavior. When you’re successfully capturing data and engaging employees, you have a robust foundation to roll out innovative policies that change behavior. Now, as you can see on this slide we call this understand, manage and influence. So, data and engaged employees allows you to understand what is occurring, coupled with the freedom to manage and administer your commute policies and programs, results in employees accessing commuter benefits and in turn empowering them to change their commute behavior. Our two presenters today are going to walk you through their programs and the steps they took to implement innovative policies. Both have created flexible daily choice by breaking the monthly parking policies or monthly cash incentives for non driver lane trips. This has empowered employees with the daily choice and capitalize on behavior change by removing the sunk cost theory and promoting a culture of driving less rather than never driving. They did it and so can you.
Now before I jump in to introduce our first presenter, Casey’s going to flash up a poll on the screen for everyone. It’s in relation to parking because we know that parking is at the core of so many commuter benefit programs. It’s often where we see the change occur and ultimately, it’s that behavior that we’re hoping to shift into alternatives. So, I’ll just give everyone 10-15 seconds to fill out a poll on screen.
Casey: Just another few seconds here, I know took a moment for everyone to read those questions and answers. Hang tight. Almost there, Marko. Okay, we’re going to close that out there.
Marko: There we go. We have pretty even results across the board. But I think what the main one was there’s not enough parking supply to meet demand. And that is in line with I think what a lot of TDM professionals here is that as companies are growing parking supply cannot continue to grow with headcount growth. It just doesn’t work anymore. Thank you all so much for participating in that. Next, I’d like to introduce Sabrina Ruiz from Google. As the Regional Distributed Offices Transportation Program Manager, Sabrina is responsible for Google’s transportation programs outside of the Bay Area, which includes the US, Canada and Latin America. She serves as the liaison with the local facilities managers and support business decisions to reduce parking and traffic impacts at a local site level. She has worked in transportation for five years and has worked at Google for 10 she’s an absolute pleasure to work with. And with that said, Sabrina, over to you for your presentation.
Sabrina: Hi, everyone. Thanks, Marko for the introduction. Thanks everyone for joining the call today. Without further ado, I’d like to just go ahead and jump right in. So, Casey, we can go to the next slide. Thank you. So, today I’m going to be discussing three different areas. The first is around the incentive approach and going over the sites where we have the incentive-based approach only. And then secondly, we’ll discuss the incentive and disincentive approaches also known in the industry as the carrot and stick. And then lastly, I want to spend some time discussing how we were able to make our program successful.
Next slide. Before we get into the heart of our presentation, some information about our team this slide here represents what our team’s mission is. And our team’s mission is to plan, implement, and operate mobility solutions to support Google’s global growth. And so as Marko mentioned earlier, and not only do we manage programs within the Bay Area, but we also oversee programs outside of this region, and that’s where I fit into the organization.
Next slide. All right, so getting right into the content here, let’s discuss incentives. So, our first site is Boulder. So, we started a cash out program within Boulder because it was a requirement from the city of Boulder. A couple of years ago, the city approached our local facilities manager and mandated that in order for Google to continue to grow that we implement a cash out program. So, the city didn’t set any parameters on how that program was to be structured. The only guidance that they gave us was that we did have to have an incentive-based program. And so we went ahead and went forward with that. What’s interesting about Boulder is that it doesn’t fit the normal kind of model of when you would implement no parking or daily cash incentives. It didn’t have parking and transportation issues. It’s known as an environmentally conscious city. And so what Google decided to do a few years ago is that with the incentive program, we also offered rewards. And so what we wanted to do was we wanted to provide employees with a choice in their commuting options, so that not only would they receive an incentive, but at certain periods of time, they’d also potentially receive a reward for alternative commuting. What’s interesting about the Boulder mixed incentive approach is that, whereas our other offices where we have incentives, we have a flat fee structure. And so we offer the same amount regardless of the alternative commuting mode that you choose. Whereas within Boulder, it’s different. So, we have different levels of the incentive, and it just depends on which alternative commuting mode option you’re choosing on that day.
Next slide. So, from the data that we’ve been able to collect over the past couple of years, we continue to see that biking remains the most popular alternative commute mode. And I’m sure most people are aware of the weather in the winter in Boulder and that it’s not super bike friendly, but we still see that biking continues to remain at the top of the alternative trips that are reported. So, in the winter, we dropped down to about 20% of trips reported. And then in the summer it increases back up to about 40%. We see that the bonus eligible trips logged remains consistent throughout the year. And so what Google tries to do is to continue to allow folks to report alternative trips. We use the rewards to encourage alternative commuting options like carpooling or van pooling, something where it doesn’t require a person to be out dealing with the elements during the winter. Boulder also, we don’t automatically capture any parking events and so employees are required to log or manually log parking events. And that’s the only way we’re able to capture parking data.
Next slide. So, we decided about May or not we decided, but in May of this year, we changed the historical monthly cash out program in LA ACT. So, LA ACT had been operating under a legacy program that was transitioned from when Google used to be in Santa Monica. The city of Santa Monica had required Google to have a parking cash out program. So, with the parking cash out program, what it required was employees had to commit for the entire month to never drive to the office alone. And so obviously, this didn’t allow any employees any flexibility. Employees had to make that conscientious commitment ahead of time. And so our team decided that we wanted to grant more flexibility to employees and capture as many people as we can. And so we decided to change it to a daily cash incentive program. And so we felt that this would continue to reduce the parking and traffic as well as provide employees with a choice because employees don’t want to be stuck in a certain mode, they want to have that flexibility, especially with outside commitments. So, again, we changed to a monthly or a daily program in May of this year.
Next slide. So, what we found with the data that we’ve had, since we launched on May 1st was, interestingly enough, is that we have about 40% or so of our population that’s eligible that’s actually logging alternative trips. And had we chosen to stay under the previous monthly program, of that 40%, only 5% of those employees would have been eligible. So, what that means is that 5% of the employees have logged the maximum number of eligible trips throughout that given timeframe. And so with this new program, we’ve been able to capture an additional 35% of employees that would not have been eligible under the other program. And so for us, that’s pretty astounding and that’s actually what we had wanted and hoped for, is that we were able to capture more employees engaged in the platform and logging and alternative trips.
Next slide. As we move along to Kirkland, Kirkland is a suburban, what we would call suburban office park. We continue to see a lot of growth within Kirkland, which is great, however, that provided its own parking challenges, Kirkland’s in a suburban office park and there’s not a lot of access to public transit. Most of our employees live in suburban, not super dense neighborhoods. And so access from the more suburban areas to the site is pretty minimal. And what we decided to do is to launch with an incentive based approach, since charging for parking, or having a disincentive in this area would kind of be out of the norm, we wanted to approach it with an incentive to see how much of an impact we could have on reducing the parking and drive alone rates.
Next slide. While we see a reduction here in about 7%, it wasn’t as impactful as we had hoped for. And if you’re familiar with Kirkland and Washington, during the summer months is historically when you get the best weather, it doesn’t rain a lot, it’s not super cold. And so while we had hoped to have a higher reduction in our parking percentage, 7% was still okay. And we hope we hope or anticipate that will continue to see that number go down. But you can see what the incentive only it didn’t have as great of an impact, as I will show you later on compared to Seattle.
Next slide. So, this next slide compares the three different cities where we launched the incentive-based approach. You see Kirkland at the top Southern Cal or LA ACT and then Boulder. And with Kirkland, we have a higher number of our percentage of trips logged, and that’s because we have parking integrated. So, as an employee drives into the office and badges into our parking garage, that parking event is captured and so we have a higher engagement there. Whereas within LA ACT and Boulder, we don’t have parking integration turned on. And so you’ll see the percentage of trips logged is much lower. If you look at from March to April for Kirkland, you’ll see there’s a huge uptick in the number of trips logged, and that’s because that’s the time when we turned on the parking integration feature. And the other peaks that you’ll see throughout Kirkland, SoCal and Boulder is when we launched different reward programs at a certain period of time. And so you’ll see the employee engagement increase once we launched a reward program.
Next slide. So, this is my favorite part of the presentation just because how much of an impact the carrot and stick approach has had on our drive alone rates. And so if you haven’t been paying attention, I encourage you to pay attention now. So Seattle, a little history of Seattle is that we have two offices, we have a Fremont office and a South Lake Union office. And within both of those offices, we had limited parking capacity. I will mention that South Lake Union, we just recently moved into there at the end of August, and we’re continuing to move employees into that office space. Our headcount to parking ratio was about four to one. So, again, I think the poll show that parking access is limited for most folks, and that continues to be the same case for us here in Seattle. And in South Lake Union our employees typically don’t offer free parking. And so Google didn’t want to come in and offer free parking because that wouldn’t have been the norm. Other companies do offer different programs, but there’s a variation of how their parking programs are implemented. And so what we decided was, rather than go into South Lake Union at with the incentive based approach, we knew that from studies that the incentive and disincentive approach would have the greatest impact in the way we wanted at parking rates or drive alone rates. And so that’s why we approached Seattle differently than we did the other three studies.
Next slide. And this slide details that it wasn’t something that we made hastily and it wasn’t something that we decided overnight to do. This was a three-year journey. We began the journey back in September of 2016. And at the time, the local site leadership had been reporting to our team, the transportation team, that employees were complaining that they didn’t have access to parking, they couldn’t find parking, that they were spending endless amounts of time trying to find a parking space. And so at the time, the local leadership level had wanted to implement a monthly parking policy. And as soon as our team heard this, we cringe at the thought because we knew that that would not have the impact that the site leadership level had wanted and that reducing parking rates. And so we we then begin our journey on implementing the charge for parking policy. And so without walking through the entire timeline here because it’s pretty extensive, I just want to call two dates out here, in Q4 of 2016, is really when we started to set the foundation for implementing the infrastructure that would be needed in order to implement any type of parking policies, or any type of parking changes. And then fast forward to May 2019, that’s when we officially announced the parking policies which would include an incentive and disincentive across Seattle.
Next slide. So, as you can see here, from the data that we’ve been able to collect, the numbers do not lie. When the commute bonus went into place, which was at the end of July, we saw a 29% reduction in parking. And then when the parking charges went into place, we saw that number further go down by about 21%. And then in terms of the number of alternative trips logged, we saw 131% increase when the commute bonus launched, and then an additional 9% increase on top of that when the parking charges went into place. And if I haven’t said this prior, but our incentives launched at the end of July, and then the parking fees launched at the end of August. So, it’s pretty recent, but this number is pretty astounding if you take it for what it is. And so before we jump into the next slide, I just want to say there may be skeptics that say, well, those employees were probably alternative commuters anyway like that. That doesn’t give me any data that shows me that people are changing behavior. And actually, if we go to the next slide, we took a subset of about 500 employees that were historically driving alone since May of 2019. And what we saw is that we had 3,100 alternative trips logged by those employees. Once the parking fees rolled out the end of August, which created a 34% reduction in parking events by this subset of employees, and over 8,000 drive alone trips saved. So, while naysayers may say that this does not change behavior, that number alone shows that, yes, having a disincentive and an incentive coupled together can have a really positive impact on your drive alone rates.
Next slide. Finally, while I would like to say that I was able to mastermind this entire successful program on my own, that’s actually not the case. There’s a lot of keys to how we were able to frame this and make this a successful program. And the first thing is on the infrastructure. It’s really important to have parking integration, you’ll see just from the comparison, even on the incentive side, when you looked at Kirkland, Boulder and LA ACT, the amount of participation with the integration is just so much higher, as long as you have the parking integration feature turned on. Having a commute management platform and something that’s going to be able to capture all of the data, as well as having policies in place and communicating those policies, and automating as much as you possibly can. If you can automate the data that’s collected, that’s the best way because then your data is always accurate. Secondly, is education. Again, this was a three year journey. It wasn’t something that we did overnight. And so we had a lot of touch points in terms of educating our employees. We also communicated constantly, we had multiple checkpoints throughout the three years. We launched focus groups, we did presentations, we hosted town halls, we had email alias to set up for employees to reach out to with questions. We set up an extensive, I think it’s like a 35 page FAQ. We also had multiple websites setup, slides, infographics. And so between the education and communication piece, we just basically exhausted as much as we could so that we were able to inform employees on what their choices were for commuting, and what the policy changes meant for them on a personal level.
In addition, change management, change management is not easy. It’s being aware that it’s not going to be easy and that it will take some time; being flexible and being so patient with the change management process. Change is hard and when you start implementing disincentives, it becomes even more difficult. But being patient throughout the process is key. And then lastly is our partnership. I think that for us, and when I say us, I mean Google is that internally, we’re able to have a really broad stroke a partnership with a lot of different teams. And while our team, the transport team implemented these changes. We partnered really closely with our internal senior leadership team at the local level, as well as our facilities managers who are the voices to the local employees. We have we brought them HR, legal, benefits, policy teams, etc, etc. And so because we had this strong partnership, when we did announce these policy changes, there were more easier to accept from our employees. And then lastly is also having a strong external vendor partnership team. If you do elect to work with external vendor partners, having really strong vendor partners will also help ensure that your program changes are successful. Thank you.
Marko: Thank you so much, Sabrina. No doubt there’ll be a lot of questions from that presentation and Kevin’s coming up. So, if everyone can please collate the questions and submit them, Casey will be bringing these together and then after Kevin’s presentation we’ll have some time for Q&A as well. Next up we have Kevin Bopp from Bedrock. For those of you unfamiliar with Bedrock, Bedrock is a full service real estate firm specializing in acquiring, leasing, financing, developing and managing commercial and residential space. Now, Bedrock is in an incredibly unique position with actively reimagining the future of mobility in Detroit. They’re launching a number of initiatives to revitalize the city’s downtown core. And part of this effort is bringing together like minded partners who share in the Bedrock vision for more commute friendly Detroit. Personally, that is a phenomenal an exciting project to take on to revitalize mobility in a whole city. We’re very fortunate to have Kevin with us today. Kevin is the Vice President of Parking Mobility at Bedrock. In this role, Kevin leads Bedrock’s Parking Mobility team, which is responsible for managing more than 22,000 parking spaces across 33 structures and service lots in Detroit and Cleveland. In addition, his team provides daily shuttle services for more than 4,000 people, including full service call assistance. Kevin, I’ll let you take it away from here.
Kevin: Thank you, Marko. I really appreciate being here with everyone. So, Casey, if you’d go to the first slide. I’m going to take another moment or two to give you some context on the world as my team knows it so that you have a little bit of depth as I move into the second half of the presentation. So, to add a layer of information Bedrock is the real estate arm of the Quicken Loans family of companies, that comprises in Detroit alone, more than 17,000 individuals. Bedrock owns over 100 commercial properties, there are some residential as was noted, equating to more than 20 million square feet 350 tenants and this 19,000 parking space number is Detroit. It excludes our Cleveland parking. And today’s presentation is going to focus on Detroit specifically.
So, next slide. So, in the city of Detroit, there are north of 66,000 total parking spaces our company owns, operates or manages nearly a third of that volume. And on any given day before the day starts, we take the 19,000 parking spaces we have in our portfolio, and we have already committed nearly 23,000 monthly partners to them. So, when you conceptualize airlines and hotels, overselling, well we do the same thing with our parking because demand so far outstrips the available supply, and that’s in a community that is known for automotive transit and not public transportation. So, there is an incredible demand despite a wealth of options and available spaces. Frankly, this is very much like the example that Sabrina gave earlier in terms of Los Angeles, Detroit is a miniature Los Angeles when you try to picture, the sprawl and the amount of driving relative to transportation options.
Next slide, please. So, a little bit more on us and where we’re headed and why we began embracing these programs. So, over the next several years, just our own development pipeline for added construction and growth in the city of Detroit, relative to how we assign parking to each use type would generate nearly 13,000 more spaces in demand. So, if you go office retail, residential and hospitality, you can see how we typically are expected to deliver parking relative to a type of tenant, and their size or unit structure. So, with our own growth, we would need to buy or build 13,000 spaces that does not include any room for transit or public parking, nor does that account for any other development work that’s happening in the city of Detroit, outside of our own pipeline. So, it’s a pretty staggering amount to consider when you look at the fact that we’re already managing 19,000 spaces.
Next slide. So, a bit of fun economics. Most of you who know anything about parking would be able to say that the average parking deck above ground costs about $30,000 per space to construct, and that’s true, but we do not build average parking decks and they’re not all solely above ground. So, our own development projected cost were we to build 13,000 new spaces is over half a billion dollars. And what I can tell you is that not only is that expensive, it’s not the highest and best use of land. And that is what led to the programs I’m going to explain in a moment. The last thing that I want to touch on and it refers back to Marko’s introduction is that in the eight and a half years of Bedrock existence, we have been firmly committed to the resurrection and revitalization of the city of Detroit. So, our programs while they start with an inner facing motivation and testbed, they are meant to serve not just our team members, but our tenants and for certain the broader city of Detroit and the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s our goal to work with the city and state stakeholders to create programs that are impactful and life changing for the folks that live, work, play and visit this region.
So, next slide. So, our approach was very similar to Sabrina’s in many regards, with one exception. We love carrots, and we’ve never met a stick that we trust. So, that’s something that I am hopeful will change because the data that programs like Google’s certainly lead you to draw reasonable conclusions from is that a mixed approach is more effective. But when I offer some of the context about why we’ve done what we’ve done, I think you’ll understand that we’re doing more than dipping our toe in the water, but we’re certainly not diving headfirst into the pool, as it relates to balancing both incentives and disincentives or charges. So, if you look at the three metrics and approach angles, we started with culture change or behavior change. I’ll explain what my commute is in a moment, collecting data educating our team members, because we don’t have employees here on alternate modes of transportation, and then changing the narrative from motown to mobility city. We also wanted to really lean in hard on technology through both external partnerships with groups like Luum and other companies, as you’ll see, but also through embracing opportunities through our parking assets and the badge systems that already existed. And then last of all, the incentive programs and hopefully at some point, mobility banks and disincentives.
Next slide. So, MyCommute, MyCommute is our self branded or white labeled version of the Luum platform. This is a commute hub that is functionally our one stop shop for everything parking, transportation and mobility related. It is a landing platform that allows us to communicate important program announcements, internal contests that allow people to compete for prizes, both individually and as teams within the organization. It also aggregates everything that we either are working on actively or have already delivered related to the existence of our ecosystem. So, if you look at the graphic, both the menu across the top where it says home, transit, mobility, parking and shuttles or down the left side, you can click on any of those hyperlinks and move to an area of the site that allows you to understand what your options are in every one of those arenas. So, this is where our team members today go to understand not only where they park but where they might be parking if their office location moves, the options that are available to them on nights and weekends, it explains our entire shuttle network, which as was explained earlier, it’s actually closer to 5,000 people a day now, from locations up to three miles from city center, to the central business district and work locations. And then it also aggregates all of our carpool, vanpool and alternate commute programs.
So, this is our way of offering optionality and awareness, which we think are the two most important components of a successful program. And doing it in a single cohesive place is certainly the best from a user experience standpoint. The last thing I’ll say that a program approach like this does is it gives individuals an opportunity to manage their own mobility utility. And I know that’s hard to say, but on any given day, the factors which impact your commute are different. It is unlikely that every day is like the one before or the one following. And so having an opportunity to perhaps find a vanpool or a carpool or understand what the public transportation or bike options are day by day is extremely important. Because it’s not only going to be weather dependent, it’s going to be scheduled and life commitment dependent.
Next slide. So, we launched our program, functionally at the end of December last year, which is probably the worst time you can launch a program because it’s hard to measure effective metrics when there’s so many people out of the office for holiday travel. So, we use data starting in January of this year. And for us, the most important metric in a city that has long had a dearth of public transportation options and the distrust of them while embracing the single occupant vehicle transit was how we could engage our audience to begin using alternate modes of transportation. So, in January, we started aggregating information, nearly 17% of all commutes or something other than a drive alone single occupant trip. As we measure growth, and we don’t have numbers we were confident in as of today through September, and we’re still completing that. By August, we’d seen a three and a half percent change.
That doesn’t sound like a lot, and it certainly isn’t as impressive as some of the numbers that Sabrina shared for Google. But what I will tell you is that in a city where people love their cars, and will give up driving them when you pry them out of their cold dead hand, a three and a half percent growth in just over half a year is a lot. And for us, just with an internal population measurement, We’re competently at over 300 parking spaces were gained in our owned properties, versus the ones that are not integrated. And I want to spend a minute drawing that distinction, Sabrina talked about it a little bit. If you have integrated properties, where you have direct information on badge scans into the asset, which for us are the ones we own, you get very consistent and reliable data. If you have spaces that are leased, it is harder to get consistent and reliable information. So, our best guess is that in the properties we don’t own, which represents about 3,000 additional spaces, we would guesstimate that there’s probably on par with another 80 to 100 spaces that we’ve been able to reclaim and use in an alternate manner.
Next slide. So, as we continue looking at the behavior change, starting in January, there were slightly more than 1,400 team members who had logged at least one alternate mode of transit. By the end of August, that figure had grown to nearly 4,200. We did lean in hard this summer on an aggressive internal marketing campaign for a segment of the audience. And that portion of the audience saw a more or excuse me nearly 6% growth in their alternate modes of transportation behaviors, and they have retained that behavior change, even as we move into colder weather here in Michigan. So, for us, we’re confident just with the carrot, that behavior change is possible. But there’s little argument that a blended approach would yield even better results. I want you to understand, though, that every culture and every organization is different. And so one size isn’t going to fit all and you should be thoughtful about what’s going to work within your own particular organization.
Next slide. So, before we dove into the programs, we had hypothesized that carpooling would be most effective in Detroit, because everyone drives virtually everywhere. And what we’ve seen since we launched our partnership with Scoop, which is a nationally available platform, although they do seek flagship corporate partners to create a launch in a given community, since May, when this program launched, we have seen over 8,200 unique riders, and 7,800 unique drivers use this platform to find carpool matches. The two things that I will tell you are best about Scoop’s approach is that the carpool partner you find on the way to work does not have to be nor is it expected to be the same partner you find in the evening or day over day. And like all of our programs, we think the single most important element is offering individuals a guaranteed ride home. We believe that it is very hard to get people to step out of their comfort zone without overcoming the what if question. What if I missed the bus? What if my carpool ride has to leave early or I have to stay late. So, for us, every program we launch comes with a guaranteed ride home through Lyft, independent of the reason or circumstance, and then you can see as we’re measuring five months in the number of miles driven saved and the number of CO2 pounds that we’ve kept from being emitted.
Next slide. I’m going to go through the next two pretty quickly. Oh, we’re good here. So, the queue line launched for Detroit, a little over a year and a half ago, and it’s not truly a full robust transit system, it’s more of a circulator route. But we began subsidizing passes for all of our internal team members to use the queue line to get to and from appointments, meetings, classes or programs going on in the city to keep people from driving short distances. And you can see that not only have we generated a lot of passes and unique riders, but we’ve also helped contribute to the sustainability of this particular mode of transit.
Next slide. Starting just a month ago, we began fully subsidizing regional bus passes for our team members. The program is very new and so as the data. But what I can tell you is that even though bus ridership is not something that from a cultural standpoint has been ingrained historically in Detroit, the most resoundingly measure of committed change has been in bus riders. Those that try the bus have stayed with that program more consistently than even the carpooling. And I would tell you that you should try to find programs that allow people to step out of their comfort zone. Overcoming the first barrier or impediment to entry, really in and of itself is a goal. And if you manage to attain it, you find that there is a lot of retention in those behaviors. The last of all, we are actively working to engage with MoGo, which is our local bike share program to also create a subsidized program. I don’t expect that usage will be very robust in the winter in Detroit, but I do think that this is a program that’s going to get a lot of use next spring through fall, because there are a lot of the bikes available. And most of the buildings that we go to for work and meetings are within a short bike ride, and it’s certainly easier to get on a bike than it is to wait for a bus or get your car to move to another location.
Next slide. So, before I talk about this program, I want to offer one other piece of context about our environment. Family of companies does provide company subsidized parking and shuttles to all full time team members. For us, that’s an annual investment of over $30 million to create the parking and shuttle experience. So, we certainly have a lot of opportunity to invest those dollars in ways that deliver a better and more thoughtful experience. And not only did that translate to the programs I just shared, but it translates into programs like this one, which was a partnership with a small startup in autonomous shuttles called May Mobility. We piloted this program two years ago, October and then launched full time last June. In that time, we’ve given over 90,000 rides. What we elected to do was find a shuttle route that had lower density and lower demand, but still a large diesel vehicle and replace it with a smaller electric vehicle. It just so happened that we found a great partner who also had autonomous vehicles. And so this allows us to deliver an experience that is unlike any of its kind in the US and it is measurably from scores, surveys and feedback, change the rider experience. And this is the type of program that I also think offers opportunity to create first and last mile connectivity as you look at your own organization’s ecosystem.
So, what I would say is that, next slide, for us, the goals have been to increase team member satisfaction, which I think we’ve done. And we are in the process right now of measuring what that has managed to translate to in terms of the human impact through increased retention and enhance recruiting. Because in a sprawling community where public transportation is limited, you’re forced to drive. And many of the people moving to Detroit for employment come from communities where they’ve never had to own a car. And our investment in changing the landscape of what’s available for mobility options will translate not just to our team members, but to our tenants and the region. So, thank you for listening.
Casey: Thank you very much. I appreciate that, Kevin. We’re going to move forward now to the Q&A here. And I know we’ve got a lot of questions that are coming in and I’d ask for anyone who is going to type in a question at this time to please just make sure that you type in the person that you’re wanting the question to go to as we go along. I’m going to start with the first question here for you, Sabrina, because I’ve received a lot on this topic at the moment here. Wanting to know if you can share it all any of the incentives that you use at your Google sites to get people to change their mode?
Sabrina: Yeah, thanks. I figured that question would come up. Unfortunately, we can’t share the incentives. I do think that the incentive for Boulder was shared at another ACT presentation. So, I’m comfortable with sharing that and that was at a $5 daily incentive rate. But otherwise, I would say that for the incentives, it’s going to vary for every different budget. And I would say also that incentives don’t necessarily drive the behavior change. So, I think Kevin alluded to this earlier that the behavior change is really going to also come from knowing the culture of your employees and what’s going to culturally drive them to change their behavior. So, the incentive amount doesn’t necessarily have to be standard across, you know, every city either.
Kevin: Casey, do you mind if I jump in?
Casey: Jump right in, Kevin.
Kevin: So, I didn’t touch on this because I didn’t know how much it would or wouldn’t resonate. But since it’s been asked, I want to offer one bit of context, before I share the number we had a legacy program called opt out, that allowed individuals who didn’t need or want their parking to receive $150 monthly pre tax. But it was all in or all out, you had to have parking or opt out of that availability completely. When we launched our partnership with Luum and then began implementing these programs, we started with an $8 a day incentive for any mode of transportation that was not drive alone. So, that was our jumping off point and those programs over time, will scale and shift to the modes and behaviors that make the most sense. And as I said, ideally, we’ll start to embrace the sticks that we don’t like, so that we can create a more thoughtful environment long term, but we’re doing $8 a day.
Casey: Okay, great. Thank you very much for that. I’ll turn this next question over to you, Kevin. Kind of a two part here. First, someone asked if the Detroit increase can be attributed to more people logging on rather than actual behavior change. And then with that, too, how do you know that that three and a half percent increase you saw this summer in the spring is not due to more favorable weather?
Kevin: So, those are great questions. What I will tell you is that for sure, we have spent time separating folks that just tend to engage with the platform and across eight nine and now into the 10th month have had an opportunity to do so. Much like Sabrina took a 500 person segment of their audience, we’re looking at people– [crosstalk] by group within the organization, but as it relates to the weather change, what I can tell you is that when we look at bus ridership of one mode of transit, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, people in this community are very resistant to doing it. It is easier to wait for a bus or even someone picking you up in a carpool when the weather’s nice, I won’t argue with that. But I will tell you is that the numbers have actually continued to increase as we move into cooler weather. And I’m happy to circle back with this audience as we get into the depth of winter, but there are folks who would rather never drive in the winter if they could choose that.
Casey: Okay, excellent. Kevin, are you able to discuss it all, your partnership with Lyft for the guaranteed ride home?
Kevin: Sure, in what way?
Casey: She just wanted a little bit more detail about it and how you came to that partnership with them.
Kevin: So, we selected Lyft for two very simple reasons. The first is that our experience has been Lyft as an organization is more creative in their approach to supporting specific programs than Uber or other ride handling groups have been, and they have been the most responsive so it made them the logical choice. In terms of the actual program, and I am not saying this would work for everyone listening right now, we made a conscious decision that what we would do is offer a certain number of guaranteed rides home per calendar year. And we do not pay any attention to time of day or whether or not their surge pricing that’s in effect, what we’re looking for is to geofence the start of that pickup. So, we want it to be something where you’re picked up rationally close to your work location. And then we’re letting you take it functionally, I would say anywhere. It is not beyond the realm of possibility if someone from Lyft was willing to pick you up that you could take a ride to Chicago. We would then get that data and there would be a serious seek to understand conversation with that employee when we found out about it. But the point is, if you’re serious about supporting people’s behavior, change, give them programs that work, and then pay attention in the background. So, we didn’t say rides were limited to a certain amount of dollars or a certain time of day. If you come to work and you need a ride home, we’re getting you home.
Casey: Excellent. Okay. Kevin, this one is for you. Sabrina, I’m sorry, most of the questions for you are all on your incentives. Kevin is the [??? 54:48] shuttle subsidized and if so, where are the funds coming from to pay for that?
Kevin: So, it is fully subsidized just like our broader shuttle program. The company, the broader Quicken Loans family of companies is paying. It’s part of our entire parking and transit investment. That is one of the things we do to recruit and retain talent. It’s also something that over time we’ve begun as Bedrock offering to our tenants. Now, for those potential riders on the shuttle network, they would have to pay just like they would have to pay for their employee parking. But the organization believes it is important that we give parking and where necessary shuttles from the more remote locations to your office destination. And so we’re spending as I said, more than $30 million a year organizationally on those things.
Casey: Okay, great. This question is, for both of you, and I’ll start with you, Sabrina. Have either of you implemented specific work from home or remote policies and if so, what type of impact have those had on mode splits?
Sabrina: So, we don’t have any work from home policies or we don’t really support that as like an alternative commuting option. Google’s philosophy has historically been, we would like employees to come to the office because that allows for the collaboration, the hallway passing. So, in terms of like incentives, we don’t incentivize working from home. And then if an employee does want to work from home, we just ask that they work with their manager because it should really be a manager to employee discussion and not a Google wide decision. But that’s historically how we’ve approached working from home and incentives.
Casey: Okay. Kevin?
Kevin: I would tell you, our answer is almost identical. The organization did have a percentage of the population that was predominantly remote or work from home. But that program began getting sunset almost exactly a year ago, largely because they said found that there was a loss of some of the collaboration that Sabrina referred to. You also lose some of those cultural touch points when people aren’t in the office. So, we’ve begun shifting away from that. But for certain, there are opportunities to have one on one decisions to make those decisions with team leaders.
Casey: Okay, great. So, just maybe one more or two more here for both of you again. Did either of you partner with an external marketing firm to support your employee engagement? If so who did you work with and what tools were most helpful? I’ll start with you, Sabrina if you did, or if it was just internally.
Sabrina: It was an internal. So, we have our vendor supports that work on site that helps with our TDM efforts, and we use that resource to help market our programs internally. The only time that we hired an outside firm was when we were getting ready to announce the carrot and stick programs and they just helped us put together the communication strategy. But we don’t really partner externally from marketing. We’re also really limited and how we market to our employees. Google likes to protect our email in boxes and the amount of, you know, marketing materials that we receive. So, other than the traditional websites or it’s almost employees would have to, like opt into, you know, discuss lists or you know, group chats. We don’t really have any other resource to market our programs. I hope that answered the question.
Casey: Okay. Kevin, do you have anything to add?
Kevin: Our efforts have been managed internally.
Casey: Okay. Excellent. This question is for Sabrina. Sabrina is Google Now just considering the success that you’ve had in Seattle with your incentives and disincentives approach? Have you considered expanding this mix to other office locations throughout the US?
Sabrina: No, to be quite honest. I think Seattle is unique when you compared to where some of our other offices are located. Like I mentioned, Kirkland, for example, is just on the other side of Seattle and while, they’re pretty much neighbors. Because of the where Kirkland’s at, it’s like a suburban office Business Park. And so access to public transit and things of that nature are not close by, for employees. And so even though we launched Seattle’s incentive and disincentive we opted not to launch the disincentive part for Kirkland. And so while we’re not considering any future sites now, I mean, things can always change in the future. But we’re not looking at launching these programs in a blanket approach. I think, the way we approach any type of program, is we look at as at a local site level, and then we take a look at a bunch of different factors before we launched not only this carrot and stick approach, but any type of programs that we launch. There’s a ton of different programs within the Bay Area that we don’t offer at other locations. And it’s because we do take into consideration the local aspect, the local culture, but sometimes it’s very different than when we talk about Google HQ or Seattle.
Casey: Excellent. Okay. We have hit the top of the hour now. So, I apologize. I know there were quite a few other questions to be asked. If you do have a specific question for any of our panelists, we have listed their email address up here, and they will try to do their best to answer your question as best they can. I want to thank our panelists today and I also want to thank Luum for sponsoring today’s webinar. We really had a huge success with this event. And I know it’s a hot topic, and we’ll be sure to have this topic available again in the future, in the coming months. But I want to thank you all again for attending today, and we’ll look forward to seeing you at our next webinar, November 19. Thank you all and have a great afternoon.