Loudoun County Commuter Services received funding in its FY2015 State TDM and Commuter Services grant to develop and implement a carpool incentive program. The Loudoun County Commuter Services carpool incentive program provided incentives for two different carpool scenarios: a) individuals who were driving alone and then formed a carpool or b) individuals who were active carpool members. The following is a summary of how the program was developed; how it was implemented; the results of the program; and an evaluation of the program. Development The program began with staff creating the following documents/products:
a. Program Rules and Eligibility b. Program name Logo c. Print Advertisements d. Registration Form e. Evaluation Form f. Welcome Email g. Evaluation Email h. Specialized VISA reward card and accompanying note card i. Final Thank You Email to participants
Staff researched other similar reward programs online and obtained ideas and language to incorporate into LCCS Rideshare Rewards program. The NuRide program was selected to track program participation. Staff developed the rules and eligibility and he County Attorneys Office reviewed the document. Once the program name and parameters were created, staff contracted with Red Thinking to develop a logo. After a few design iterations, the logo was finalized. It was incorporated into all correspondence, on the web site and on all documents and marketing materials. Staff developed a survey instrument to register all participants through our subscription with Survey Monkey. Once it was launched, the survey was used to capture individual responses as well as a spreadsheet listing all new participants. Each individual registrant form was printed and placed into a large three-ring binder. These sheets became the source for tracking all participants. Staff made notes on each sheet indicating start date, evaluation completion date, number of NuRide trips recorded and date reward issued. Once the program was launched, staff developed an evaluation survey using Survey Monkey. After registrants reached their 30 day participation period, an email was sent containing a link and a request for them to complete the evaluation. VISA Reward cards were purchased on line through OMNI card. We selected a stock blue Reward card and designed a note card which the VISA cards were placed on. The text inside the card read: Thank you for carpooling and for participating in our Rideshare Rewards program. The cards were purchased in values of $25, $50, $75 and $100. It took two to three days to receive the cards from the vendor.
Implementation As noted throughout the previous development section the program was created mostly in house and with some support through our design contract and a credit card vendor. All material for the program was developed and finalized by the end of March 2015. Loudoun Countys carpool page on the web site was updated to include a description of the Rideshare Reward program along with a link to the rules and eligibility as well as another link to complete the registration form via our Survey Monkey tool. Also on the web site was the link to NuRide with a sentence about the process for participants to record their carpool trips. The program was launched on April 1, 2015. A news release was created through our Public Affairs and Communications Office and distributed to all the local news outlets and sent through Loudoun Alerts which is an email/alert system that the public has signed up to receive new releases. The program was also launched on Loudoun Countys Intranet and to employers in Loudoun through the employer electronic newsletter, Commuter Shortcuts. Professional advertisements were developed with our designer ran in all the local newspapers the first week in April. The newspaper ads continued to run through April and into May and alternating with other ads throughout the month of June. Notifications were placed on the Countys Facebook page as well as the LCCS Facebook page. Posts to those pages were updated periodically. Once a person completed the registration form, staff would download and print the individual response forms and place them in the binder. A welcome email was sent to all participants. See below:
Congratulations you have registered for Rideshare Rewards! We are glad that you have chosen to participate in the program. We are also glad that you are carpooling which helps everyone by taking one less car off the road, reducing congestion and pollution.
If you already have a NuRide account, then please continue to record your carpool trips in NuRide. We are able to verify your trips with the support of NuRide and will utilize that system to validate carpool trips logged over the next 30 days.
If you are not registered with NuRide, please sign up at www.nuride.com. If you need help with setting up your profile and trips, please let us know we are happy to help. Once you are signed up, remember to continue recording your carpool trips in NuRide.
Rideshare Rewards is funded by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation through a TDM/Commuter Services grant which Loudoun County Commuter Services applied for and received for fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014 June 30, 2015). The funding for this program will expire on June 30, 2015. Since this is grant funding and an exact amount of those funds have been specifically identified for Rideshare Rewards, pay outs will be on a first registered/first achieved basis.
We encourage you to share information at Rideshare Rewards with friends and co-workers.
Again, thank you for participating and Start Carpooling and Get Paid!
At the end of each registrants 30-day period, staff sent an email asking the participant to complete the evaluation form on line. See email below:
Hi, you have reached the end of your 30-day period with Rideshare Rewards. The last step before I can mail your Visa Gift Card is to complete the very (I mean very) short evaluation survey. Here is the link to the survey. Once you complete the survey and I verify through NuRide your recorded carpool trips, you can expect your Rideshare Rewards gift card in the mail. Thanks, Sharon
Throughout the implementation phase staff randomly contacted the registrants supervisor to verify the participant was carpooling to work. Selection was made by use of a numbering system. The registrants had a number associated with their form and staff asked other members of the department to select random numbers for the verification. For example, staff asked M. Dreyfuss to select six numbers between one and 61. The numbers he choose were then matched with registrants numbers and an email was sent to their supervisor asking for carpool verification. See email sent to supervisors below:
An employee you supervise, (insert name), has registered to participate in Loudoun County Commuter Services Rideshare Rewards program. This grant-funded program provides a cash value gift card to people who report carpool trips taken during a 30-day period. In order to verify that registrants actually carpool, and are therefore entitled to a reward, we are seeking your assistance. Would you please confirm that (insert name) has utilized carpooling for commuting at some point during the past 30 days? A quick reply to this message will be appreciated. Thank you.
Here is an example of a reply to the supervisor request. Sharon, Yes, Aileen regularly carpools and has done so within the past month. Please let me know if you need anything more specific. Best regards, Frank Frank Stellar Senior Director General Dynamics Information Technology 2051 Jamieson Ave., Suite 400 Alexandria, VA 22314
Staff would make a notation on the registrants sheet in the binder regarding the reply from the supervisor. After the registrant completed the required evaluation, staff prepared a report in the NuRide dashboard which was used to identify the number of carpool trips recorded. This report was created using the beginning and ending dates of the registrants 30-day period. They were identified within the dashboard report and then highlighted on the Excel spreadsheet. This process was completed for each registrant in the program. After
the program closed and all registrants were verified via NuRide, the lines from the individual dashboard reports were combined into one spreadsheet. This spreadsheet was then used to tabulate the number of trips taken, number of trips reduced, the vehicle miles saved, etc. And finally, once everything was verified by staff, a VISA reward card was prepared and mailed to the registrant. Another spreadsheet was used to record this information. The spreadsheet contained the start date, registrant information, number of carpool trips logged, reward value mailed and date the reward card was mailed. Also created for this process were duplicate sets of address labels for the participants. One was printed on actual labels and the other on plain paper. Once an address label was pulled and used, staff would put the letter M beside the name on the plain paper list. This was just a way of double-checking who was mailed a reward card and to track which ones were remaining/not complete. Results The program started off real strong with about 110 people registering in the first month. Of those 110 almost half registered in the first 10 days. After removing a few duplicates, there were a total of 229 registrants. Once the program closed on June 30, 2015 and staff was able to follow up with the registrants, it was determined that 27 people did not participate after they registered. Some of those registrants didnt complete the full required process, some found no one to carpool with, and some thought it was all modes (including transit and/or vanpool). Most of the registrants who did not complete the process either didnt complete the evaluation or didnt record their trips in NuRide. Staff sent up to three reminder emails to those registrants who did not complete the process to encourage them to record their trips and/or take the survey. Of those 229 registered, 203 participants received a VISA gift card. One individual received a $5 Starbucks card for her one trip effort. The reward values were distributed as follows: 8 - $25, 15 - $50, 11 - $75 and 169 - $100. The total value of the VISA gift cards distributed was $18,675. The NuRide database used for the Rideshare Rewards program provides a means to highlight elements captured by those carpooling. Based on 202 participants with 147 of those being the drivers of the carpools, staff determined that there were 1,764 less trips taken and 57,015 less miles driven during the three month program. The following tables breakdown the data into a variety of groupings:
Top four cities/towns with the most participation in Rideshare Rewards
Town Number of Participants
Ashburn, VA 41 Winchester, VA 19 Leesburg, VA 17 Stephens City, VA 12
Participation in Rideshare Rewards based on Home State (202)
State Number of Participants
Virginia 156 West Virginia 32 Maryland 11 Pennsylvania 2 Washington, D.C. 1
Listed by town/city, the number of Rideshare Rewards participants who work in Loudoun County (133)
Area/Town Number of Participants
Leesburg 100 Ashburn 13 Purcellville 9 Sterling 8 Aldie 2 Dulles 1
Rideshare Rewards participants by Work/Employment State (202)
State Number of Participants
Virginia 172 Washington, D.C. 20 Maryland 9 West Virginia 1
Other towns/cities with high worker/employee participation City/Town Number of Participants
Washington, D.C. 20 Fairfax/Falls Church 10 McLean 10 Arlington 7 The following is a list of some of the employers listed by the Rideshare Rewards participants: Booz Allen Hamilton, CIA, DC Government, Eurotherm, FAA, Fannie Mae, Federal Government, INOVA Loudoun Hospital, Loudoun County Government, Loudoun County Public Schools, Lowers Risk Group, NIH, National Recreation and Park Association, U.S. Army and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. There were about 62 total employers represented. Loudoun County Government had 98 participants and Loudoun County Public Schools 10 participants. All other employers had roughly five or less at each employment site. The average trip length was 30.24 miles one way. The shortest trip was .95 of a mile and the longest was 73.6 miles one way. The following chart shows the average trip length by participation.
Average Trip Length By Segment
Number of Participants Average one-way Trip Length
47 Under 20 miles 56 20-30 miles 59 30-40 miles 44 Greater than 40 miles
Evaluation Staff has deemed the program a success in the following ways:
Mode Recognition - By placing advertisements in all the local newspapers, sending our news releases, posting items to Facebook, and distributing the reward cards, the mode of carpooling is now better known in Loudoun County. When asked how they heard of the program almost 39% heard/saw it on the County web site; 8% from the newspaper; 22% from an email, 5% from a news release and the remainder 26% said other.
Continuation of Carpool Mode - One question in the evaluation was How often will you continue to carpool? The response was as follows: 75% - every day; 14% - twice a week; 3% - once a week.
Mode Shift - When participants signed up for the program, they were asked How do you typically travel to work? The following was their response: 79% drove or rode with others; 15% drove alone; 4% took public transportation and 1% biked/walked. Basically we had about 49 people switch from driving alone, riding a bus or walking to carpooling.
Data Collection - Using NuRide as the vehicle to capture carpool trip data was truly a benefit for this rewards program. Staff was able to search for each participants, verify the number of carpool trips recorded and use the mileage data already analyzed by NuRide. The Rideshare Rewards program also benefited Nuride by adding approximately 269 new NuRiders during the three month period (based on dashboard report from NuRide). These NuRiders will hopefully continue to record their carpool trips and the data can be viewed by LCCS staff as well as DRPT or VDOT staff. Also useful was creating and managing our own registration site through Survey Monkey. We developed the questions for the registration. The ability to download the data in either excel and/or pdf was easy and informative. The tools in Survey Monkey created the framework for the binder which housed all the registrants, plus the excel spreadsheet which was used to document trips, rewards, etc.
Public Impressions - When asked What other factors, if any, besides...