Title

COMMUTER CHOICE BENEFITS CALCULATOR: WEB-BASED TOOL FOR ESTIMATING COSTS AND BENEFITS OF COMMUTER PROGRAMS

Authors

E Herzog
M Grant

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2002

Subject Area

planning - service rationalisation, planning - marketing/promotion, planning - marketing/promotion, ridership - commuting, economics - benefits

Keywords

Savings, Promotion, Marketing, Estimating, Employers, Costs, Commuting, Commuter programs, Benefits calculator, Benefits, Air quality

Abstract

In the transportation community, there is a real need for information and materials that will help to promote commuter benefits to employers. There is increasing recognition that these programs can offer real financial savings to employers, benefits to employees, and traffic and air quality benefits to communities. The commuter choice benefits calculator helps employers understand the costs and benefits of implementing a commuter benefits program. The calculator is designed to be simple and quick to use, requiring the user to input a modest amount of information, with defaults and ranges available for many data elements, based on studies of commuter benefits programs, to maximize ease of use. For employers, the calculator estimates costs, direct financial savings (savings realized immediately, such as tax savings), and potential financial savings (savings that require additional actions to realize, such as parking cost savings and office space cost savings). For employees, the calculator computes savings in commuting costs. For communities, the calculator estimates reduced vehicle trips, miles of travel, and emission reductions associated with commuting to work. The range of programs covered by the calculator includes benefits for which federal tax incentives are available--such as employer-provided transit or vanpool benefits and parking cash-out--and benefits for which tax incentives are not available--such as telecommuting, rideshare matching, and provision of bicycle facilities. By providing information on the costs and benefits of commuter benefits, the calculator can be used as a marketing tool to promote these programs to employers.