City looks to employees to help reduce traffic

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Part of the new Traffic Congestion Action Plan from the City of Austin aims to cut the number of its employees driving to work alone.

The plan says department directors will be held accountable for a 20 percent cut and focuses on the downtown area during peak times. The city plans to achieve the goals by allowing different work schedules, encouraging other forms of transportation, and teleworking.

Some businesses are already taking on similar goals.

“It’s almost like you dread going home just because you’re leaving at 5 o’clock and it takes so long,” said Lynda Lerma, manager of administrative services at NetSpend Corporation, which has offices downtown.

The company has been trying to encourage employees to try different ways of getting to work.

“We’ll pay for either a monthly bus pass or rail. And then again, once they get downtown, we’ll take care of any kind of emergencies as far as car2go and Zipcar, emergency ride home,” said Lerma.

Another way companies get their employees to stop driving into work is to pay them for their parking space.

“That then becomes a powerful incentive to anybody. That now is their choice and they can pocket $100 or they can drive in,” said Glenn Gadbois, executive director of Movability Austin.

The nonprofit helps employers and employees find different ways to get to work.

“They can have a cost savings worth the payout that they’re paying in incentives, easily,” Gadbois said.

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