ACCS Making an Impact FY2011

SUMMARY OF COMMUNITY BENEFITS

On the average workday in FY 2011, Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) reduced traffic in Arlington by about 40,100 trips by helping people switch from driving alone to taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, walking, or biking. Considering that the average lane of interstate highway carries approximately 4,000 – 6,000 vehicles in the rush period, this illustrates the magnitude of community benefit produced by ACCS. This methodology is documented at the end of this report.

Past research has shown that reducing traffic congestion significantly increases residents’ perception of their quality of life. It also boosts the attractiveness of Arlington as a location for businesses by preserving the quality of access to employees and customers for which Arlington is highly rated by business leaders.

Eliminating about 40,100 trips also eliminates over 672,600 miles of travel each business day, which means a savings of about 28,250 gallons of fuel daily. This saves almost 7.2 million gallons of fuel annually, thus helping Arlington reach its energy reduction goals and contributing to our nation’s goal of energy independence.

Less fuel consumed, also means less air pollution. On an annual basis ACCS reduces over 79,750 tons of climate changing greenhouse gases (Carbon Dioxide – CO2), as well as 125,900 pounds of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and 73,750 pounds of Volitile Organic Compounds (VOC) which form lung-damaging ground level Ozone.

COMMUTER SERVICES: SALES, MARKETING, INFORMATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT PROGRAMS

Highlights of accomplishments during the year by each ACCS program are summarized below.

Arlington Transportation Partners – Employer-Residential-Development Services

  • Record market penetration rates with 661 (up from 637) employers representing 131,397 employees representing 67% of the market. 438 employers provide a transit benefit to their employees – the highest rate in the DC region. Added 93 potential employer prospects to the database.
  • 316 residential clients representing 67,195 units or 98% of the market.
  • 43 hotel clients of 43 major hotels – 100% of the market.
  • Conducted 32 Redefine Your Commute campaign events, reaching 6,285 employees/commuters.
  • Attended a total of 48 transportation fairs reaching 5,895 commuters.
  • 60 Employers requested Personalized Commute Planners for their employees; 244 were distributed.
  • Assisted 14 new site plan properties with TDM compliance requirements.
  • Quarterly Solutions newsletters distributed to 42,000 (3 publications) and e-Solutions electronic newsletter distributed to 1,160 key employer contacts.

Transportation Information Display Deployment. Transportation Information Display Units now at 56 site plan properties, 14 wall mounted units were placed in other commercial building units and 308 small Lucite units distributed to Arlington retail partners.

Distribution, Logistics and Bus Stop Information. Distributed over 550,000 timetables and brochures to individuals, companies and information displays. Installed map and schedule information at 425 ART and 55 Pike Ride bus stops. Delivered and installed 25 Customer display units across the county at various business and residential properties. Repaired or replaced over 100 ART bus stops due to vandalism, storms or accidents.

The Commuter Store®. Record sales of $9,331,370 and 205,000 customers through the doors at all our retail stores located in Ballston, Rosslyn, Crystal City, Shirlington and the Mobile Commuter Store. These sales figures represent a year over year increase of nearly 5% from FY10 figures. In May 2011 we added the Odenton MARC train station to the Commuter Store family; this location focuses solely on selling MARC tickets. Throughout FY11, we prepared for the launch of the new Ballston Commuter Store Kiosk with an anticipated opening of Late August 2011. The Mobile Commuter Store added an additional stop on Mondays at the US DOT building in Washington, DC.

Commuter Information Center – CIC (CommuterDirect.com).The Center responded to 27,110 phone calls and sold $24,524,604 in fare media sales, a 19% increase over the previous year’s sales totals. CommuterDirect.com processed 153,377 individual transactions and 986 corporate transactions.

  • Electronic SmartBenefits payment grew by 29% to $14,766,107 for the year
  • VRE sales were $6,880,705 for FY11
  • MARC sales were $15,480,491 for FY11
  • CIC improved operational efficiencies and only had to add one staff member to facilitate the sales volume increases
  • Worked with many federal agencies to help them prepare for the elimination of the paper SmartBenefit Vouchers and positioned CommuterDirect.com to be the best possible outlet for customers to purchase their VRE and MARC train tickets.

Marketing Program. Continued Arlington’s Car-Free Diet umbrella campaign to promote alternatives to driving alone with articles and brochures in The Citizen newsletter, 2-sheet ads in Metro stations, point-of-purchase displays, addition of over 100 private sector partners, e-newsletters, website updates and enhancements, blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as YouTube videos. As part of the campaign, ACCS launched the second “Car-Free Diet Skeptics Challenge” which challenged Arlington residents to go car free for 30 days. Five contestants entered their online videos to explain why they were skeptics and why they would be willing to go car free. Two finalists were selected to compete in the 30-day car free challenge. Each finalist blogged, used Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and FourSquare to document their experiences going car free.

  • Skeptic campaign elements included a special Car-Free Diet website section, Facebook and Twitter pages, YouTube videos, blogs, flyers, posters, web banner ads, public relations efforts, and street team outreach.
  • Published six issues of Arlington’s Car-Free Diet e-newsletter
  • Street Team outreach efforts at county events, farmer’s markets, recreation centers, and shopping centers.
  • Produced new timetables, web info and bus stop inserts for ART 41, 87, 41, 45, 51, 52, 77, and 75. . Produced 4 quarterly ART Forum newsletters.
  • Started ART Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • Created “ART is Arlington” marketing campaign to encourage ridership of ART 42, 45, 74, 75, 77, 84 and 87. Distributed route specific brochures with free ride coupons to residents and businesses along the targeted routes. Campaign also included a customer appreciation component where reusable grocery bags with the ART logo were handed out to riders.
  • Promoted ART Point-to-Point and ART Layar.
  • Created videos to show how to add money to a SmarTrip card on the bus and how to use the bike rack on the front of the bus.
  • Held Bus Riding 101 Workshops that focused on the benefits of using the SmarTrip card and promoted the new 7-Day Regional Bus Pass on SmarTrip card.
  • Created ads and inserts for sponsorships including Columbia Pike Blues Festival, Taste of Arlington, County Fair, Clarendon Day and Bike to Work Day.
  • Hosted a World Car Free Day event for Car-Free Diet Business Partners.
  • Updated STAR Riders Guide and reprinted STAR fare coupons. Produced and mailed two issues of STAR Points newsletter. Conducted a STAR user survey.
  • Updated/printed Transportation Services for Seniors brochures for DHS/PRCR.
  • Updated/printed the iRide brochure and updated the website.
  • Outstanding Marketing Campaign from the Chesapeake Chapter of the Association of Commuter Transportation; Award of Excellence from the Transportation Marketing & Communications Association; PR Award of Merit from the Virginia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of American; Outstanding Public Transportation Marketing Award from the Virginia Transit Association; Telly Award for “It’s a Good Day in Arlington” videos.

CommuterPage.com® Family of Internet Sites (including ArlingtonTransit.com)

Web visits increased over the previous fiscal year from 1.45 million to 1.92 million. Blogging capabilities were integrated into ArlingtonTransit.com, replacing an external blog. This will be the prototype for the other ACCS sites. Rebuilding of the Car-Free Diet and CommuterPage.com sites was begun.

WALKArlington Program

  • Prepared Assessment Tool that earned national Gold-Level Walk Friendly Community status for Arlington County
  • Launched new and enhanced WalkArlington website
  • Redesigned and printed 60,000 new four-color Walkabouts brochures, with updated text and maps for 18 Walkabout routes
  • Distributed 29,953 Walkabouts brochures (previous version and new version) on request and at events
  • Developed, mapped, and promoted two new neighborhood Walkabout routes
  • Held three “live” Walkabout events in Yorktown, Ballston, and Nauck attracting a total of 180 walkers
  • Coordinated largest single Walk and Bike to School Day event ever, with more than 700 participants at one school, in partnership with Arlington Public Schools
  • Developed WalkArlington Works, a new print and online compendium of resources to promote walking workplaces
  • Published 12 issues of The Pacer, WalkArlington’s monthly e-newsletter; established presence on Facebook; and earned 50+ local and national, traditional and online media hits
  • Supported kick-off and execution of Street Smart regional pedestrian public safety media campaign
  • Coordinated and participated in 20 community events (walking tours, workplace walks, health fairs, environmental expos, school programs, etc.), reaching 19,111 commuters and people who live, work, and/or play in Arlington.

BikeArlington Program

  • The launch of Capital Bikeshare in Arlington and Washington D.C. brought national attention to the largest and very first regional bikesharing program in the nation.
    • With the Bikesharing system having already expanded in the spring and another larger expansion planned for the fall.
  • Automatic counters show that bike usage is up, with increases as much as 11% in May and June of 2011.
  • More than an estimated 10,000 individuals were directly reached through 39 BikeArlington events.
    • Signature events like Bike to Work Day and the BikeDC ride have logged record attendance; region wide, more than 11,000 cyclists attended Bike to Work Day with almost 2,000 of those being in Arlington.
    • Smaller events like the Mardi Gras/St. Patricks Day Parade, Bike & Walk to School Day and Arlington employer health or expo fairs have also proved extremely popular.
  • Nine Confident City Cycling classes were organized by BikeArlington in FY2011 which range from simple on-bike skills classes to comprehensive adult “Learn to Ride” classes. In total, 169 people attended these classes.
  • The Arlington County Bike Map underwent a redesign and is now updated every 6 months and more than 50,000 maps are distributed every year.
  • The BikeArlington.com website had 38,941 unique visitors and 116,578 page views for the year, while The WashingtonAreaBikeForum.com has more than 600 registered members and had 18,544 unique visitors with 248,984 page views.
  • The @BikeArlington twitter account continues to expand its online influence with almost 1,000 followers and has become to “go-to” place for all manner of Arlington cycling related questions from the community.
  • Arlington businesses awarded the League of American Bicyclists nationwide “Bicycle Friendly Business” status jumped from 1 to 10 in fiscal year 2011. This makes Arlington one of the top communities in the country for Bicycle Friendly Business, and is a direct result of BikeArlington’s efforts promoting this program and improving bike conditions in general.

Transportation Research

  • Submitted monthly reports of ACCS activity to DRPT
  • Site plan building study – Tube counts of traffic and mode survey of residents for 7 buildings
  • Performed analysis of COG Household Travel Diary Survey
  • Presentation on TDM to Governor’s Transportation Conference
  • Fielded BikeArlington and WalkArlington surveys
  • Communication of research impact through blogs and regular Solutions articles
  • Assisted in development of Mobility Lab
  • Assisted in refining site plan requirements with NAIOP and TDM/parking requirements
  • 2030 Plan – helped develop analysis framework
  • Rosslyn Multi-modal Plan – developed TDM and demand forecasting sections
  • Outreach to other organizations: developed Bike Planning seminar for APA NOVA and represented ACT on national Public Policy Council and US FTA/FHWA Stakeholders group

DOCUMENTS FOR DOWNLOAD

2011 ACCS Making an Impact Report (PDF)

Contact the ACCS Research Team for more information.

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