Thursday, January 19, 2012
Transportation Options Important to Attracting High-Quality Workers and Customers,
Ann Arbor Employers Say
More employees using public transit, biking to get to work
ANN ARBOR – More than 70 percent of downtown Ann Arbor employers say having transportation options is important to attracting customers and a talented workforce, according to a study released today by the getDowntown Program.
2011 Employer and Employee Survey Key Findings
The study, funded jointly by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (TheRide) and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority surveyed more than 250 employers and 275 employees located in downtown Ann Arbor.
“A variety of transportation choices, including transit, gives businesses access to quality employees and variety of customers, and we’re glad employers recognize that value,” said getDowntown Program Director Nancy Shore. “We’re committed to helping improve access to alternative transportation options.”
“Downtown Ann Arbor is a great place to work and do business for a number of reasons, including the high quality of transportation options available for employees and customers,” said DDA Director Susan Pollay. “The DDA is committed to its mission to strengthen downtown Ann Arbor and encourage private reinvestment, and we are excited to see that our support of the getDowntown Program and the go!pass continues to benefit businesses in downtown Ann Arbor.”
Compared to the 2009 survey, more downtown employees are using public transit and biking to get to work. Public transit use increased 3 percent since the 2009 survey, while biking increased 4 percent. In addition, 40 percent of those surveyed indicated they at least occasionally commuted by bus in the past year, while 22 percent indicated they bike to work at least occasionally.
Go!pass ridership data from 2009 and 2010 further confirms an increase in bus commuting by downtown Ann Arbor employees. Go!pass ridership for 2010 was 15% higher than in 2009, and ridership for 2011 was 28 percent higher than it was in 2009.
According to the employee survey, a top reason that many employees use the bus to get to work and shift from driving to using the bus is the go!pass. The go!pass is an unlimited use transit pass that employers purchase for employees who work in downtown Ann Arbor. The Downtown Development Authority provides a grant to the getDowntown Program that allows the program to offer the go!pass to employers at a reduced rate.
The go!pass was the most highly rated component of the getDowntown Program by both employers and employees. In the Employer Survey, some employers stated that the go!pass is very important to them because it is one of the only benefits they can offer employees. In the Employee Survey, 63% of employees stated that the go!pass is an important benefit to their job.
According to the employee survey, downtown employees who live four miles or less from work are much more likely to bike, walk or take a bus instead of driving alone to work. At 2 miles to less than 4 miles from work, only 32% of employees surveyed said they drive alone, while 33% of employees take the bus. Additional data from the getDowntown Commuter Challenge confirms that the typical one-way commuting distance by bus for downtown Ann Arbor employees is 2.5 miles. TheRide’s service area is mainly within Ann Arbor city limits, which extends about four miles from downtown.
When asked what would encourage them to use transit more often, employees surveyed cited the need for more express and direct service as well as service later into the evening. These responses indicate that service improvements are likely to increase ridership among downtown employees.
“It’s encouraging to see more people looking to public transit for their daily commute,” said AATA CEO Michael Ford. “We hope public transportation use continues to increase among Washtenaw County residents in the coming months and years as we work to improve the customer experience by making public transit more efficient, reliable and convenient.”
The getDowntown Program is a partnership between TheRide, the City of Ann Arbor, and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. A program of TheRide, getDowntown provides information and assistance to downtown businesses and employees on commuting options. More information about the getDowntown Program can be found at getdowntown.org.
The latest information on AATA routes, schedules and detours is available
at 734.996.0400 and on the AATA Routes and Schedules page.