The National Academies

TCRP H-25A [Completed]

Strategies for Increasing the Effectiveness of Commuter Choice Programs

  Project Data
Funds: $160,000
Research Agency: ICF Incorporated
Principal Investigator: Michael Grant
Effective Date: 4/8/2003
Completion Date: 6/30/2005

The tax code allows employers to offer tax-free commuter benefits to employees. TCRP Project H-25 investigated and shed substantial light on how and why employers adopt commuter benefits programs and as a result recommended ways to improve the effectiveness of commuter benefits programs. Project H-25 did not, however, investigate several related questions, the most important of which concerns the costs and benefits of commuter benefits programs to various stakeholders.

Commuter benefits programs are promoted as having a wide range of benefits for a variety of people and institutions, including transit agencies, employers, and communities. While some research has demonstrated that these programs tend to increase transit ridership (the research for Project H-25 gathered, as a by-product, anecdotal evidence that the introduction of commuter benefits programs can produce increases in transit ridership), there has been little real quantification of the extent of these impacts, and essentially no rigorous research has been done on this subject. Limited evidence of travel impacts makes it difficult to demonstrate the advantages of commuter benefits programs to stakeholders.

A better understanding of the travel implications of commuter benefits programs would help in evaluating them. TCRP Project H-25A focused on the value of commuter benefits programs in increasing transit ridership, increasing transit system revenues, reducing transit operating costs, and benefiting air quality and other goals. Consequently, this research project:

  • Developed a guide for evaluating the effectiveness of a transit benefits program and information on how a transit benefits program can be designed and implemented to more effectively meet goals and objectives. The report also explains why evaluation is important and how to go about conducting a program evaluation.
  • Summarized research on the impacts of transit benefits programs on travel behavior and on transit agencies' systemwide ridership, revenues, and costs. The research findings are based on a review of 21 surveys conducted by transit agencies and other organizations in 12 metropolitan areas, analysis of worksite trip reduction records from three regions with mandatory commute trip reduction programs, and interviews with seven transit agencies.

Status: The final report has been published as TCRP Report 107. Appendixes A through G of TCRP Report 107 are published online as TCRP Web-Only Document 27.

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=1154