The conversation about when and how to safely reopen offices is top of mind for business leaders in our region, and across the globe. Google recently announced that its employees can continue to work from home until July, 2021, and many companies are delaying plans to return to the office. The District is uniquely positioned to support a remote-work economy–roughly 64% of the Washington region’s workforce can telecommute (the second-highest share among US metropolitan regions after San Jose). While many regional workers continue to work from home, we have an immediate and unique opportunity to make improvements in our transportation network that will allow us to reopen in a way that is even more in line with our goals related to multimodality, safety, and sustainability. Here’s what the FC2 is doing to elevate the role of transportation in the recovery conversation, and how you can engage as a business leader.
Quick COVID Commute Facts
Regional commuting patterns have changed quite a bit since the onset of the pandemic. Metrorail ridership has remained consistently down about 90% throughout the pandemic, according to data from WMATA. Metrobus ridership is down 60-70% since the start of the pandemic. Even so, more than 60,000 rail trips and 135,000 bus trips are still being made on the WMATA system on a typical weekday, and surveys of this ridership have highlighted the importance of the bus as an essential lifeline, and backbone to economic prosperity and mobility, especially for our Black, Latinx, Asian American and BIPOC residents.
Capital COVID Survey: Return to Work
Our transportation network, and public transit specifically, has a critical role to play in enabling the safe return to work and school. In order for businesses and transit agencies to plan for the return, strong coordination and cooperation will be needed. We have heard directly from employers and public agencies across the region that they need better insight into how and when organizations are planning to reopen worksites and how employers feel about the ability of transit agencies to safely return employees to worksites – a key component for a safe and confident return. Please join us in taking, and promoting the Capital COVID Survey: Return to Work (Powered by the Greater Washington Partnership and EY). The survey will be live from August 12 – August 28.
Get back to work. Better.
Congestion costs our region money and disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable communities. We’re hopeful that business leaders will invest in a commute strategy, and use the return to work as an opportunity to take on some of the major issues the commute has caused in our region by promoting alternative transportation modes and non-car commutes.
TransitScreen has launched a new tool, CommuteWise to help employers communicate and implement the policy changes for greener, healthier, easier commuting:
“Before COVID, and even more importantly now, the way employees learned about how to commute to work was painfully inefficient. What we’re looking at right now is the largest simultaneous onboarding process of all time. Return-to-work task forces are focused on so many considerations right now, but an elevator safety protocol won’t make much difference if your employees can’t get to the office. Our commute management software suite, starting with CommuteWise, can save valuable time in communicating with employees, both during onboarding and throughout their time at the company.”- Ryan Croft, CoFounder, TransitScreen and Federal City Council member.
Finally, in the same way employers can help to shape travel in the near term, we’re making sure regional leaders have access to top-tier information and networks to ensure transit is a part of economic recovery. The MetroNow Dispatch is a monthly newsletter that’s doing that.
Launched last week by the MetroNow Coalition, a coalition of regional leaders (including the FC2) dedicated to better transit including the transformation of our regional bus network into a world class system, the MetroNow Dispatch is already gaining popularity with local elected officials and transportation professionals.
Sign up now so you can stay connected with transit news, innovative practices, and thought leadership from around the region and the world! And, please share the MetroNow Dispatch far and wide!