Safe Commute Guide helps employers get commuters to work safely

In partnership with RideKC, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Full Employment Council, MARC has launched the Safe Commute Guide to help employers and commuters get to work safely during COVID-19.

As the region continues to balance the economic rebound and public health concerns during COVID-19, safe, accessible employer commute and telecommute practices remain critical to business continuity and resilience.

A supplement to the Safe Return KC Guide, the Safe Commute Guide empowers employers with tools, templates and resources to develop safe commute policies and practices.

The guide features an evaluation of each of the Kansas City area’s transportation options, addressing COVID-19 safety, reliability and cost-effectiveness as key concerns for employers and commuters alike.

In addition, the guide features local resources and best practices to help businesses and their commuters stay connected to transportation solutions. The guide can be found at MARC.org, or on the PrepareMetroKC website.

For questions about safe commute practices or to inquire about the guide, contact Natalie Phillips with the RideshareKC program at nphillips@marc.org.

A snapshot of RideshareKC commutes

The RideshareKC website provides a quick way for commuters to find easy alternatives to driving alone. Commuters go there to connect with carpool and vanpool partners, find transit routes and bike paths, locate nearby park-and-ride lots and, if they want, log their commute trips.

The site also provides a wealth of data the RideshareKC staff can use to improve services. Anonymous data from the commute profiles in the database helps us learn more about where our participants live and work and how they travel.

Commuter trip origin by ZIP code

The map below shows where RideshareKC commuters begin their trips, by ZIP code. Darker colors indicate more points of origin. The data shows large clusters in several suburban locations — along I-35 in northeast Johnson County, especially near Olathe; in the northland between I-29 and Highway 169; and further west where a large island of commuters is centered around Lawrence, Kansas. Note that there is also a heavy concentration of trip origins in more urbanized areas, including the downtown and midtown areas of Kansas City, Missouri. Click to zoom in on a larger version of the map.

Commuter workplace destinations by ZIP code

Notice that workplace destinations are most highly concentrated in a few large activity centers — the KCMO central business district, the areas around KU Medical Center and UMKC and in northeast Johnson County along Interstates 35 and 435. These locations have high concentrations of employers. Click to zoom in on a larger version of the map.

Connecting the dots

The final map shows individual commutes. Green dots indicate origin and red dots indication destinations. The shortest lines represent walking and cycling commutes or short trips on the bus. The longer lines — for example those between the outer ring suburbs and the city center — represent either people riding together in carpools and vanpools or trips on one of the long distance express buses. Most commute profiles are “suburb-to-city-center,” but some represent a reverse “city-center-to-suburb” or a “suburb-to-suburb” commute. Although these maps do not show the times of day for these commuters, most work regular weekday office hours. Click on the map for a larger version.

It is important to note that this commute pattern does not exactly reflect the overall distribution of work trips in the Greater Kansas City region. This data is limited to registered users in our RideshareKC database. However, it does show the locations and corridors where carpooling, vanpooling and transit are the most attractive to commuters. Do you see your commute drawn here? Then there is a good chance you can find a carpool partner or other alternative to driving alone. Visit RideshareKC.org to learn more about using alternative transportation.

U-Pass named a 2012 Sustainable Success Story

UMKC and KCATA were recognized for the U-PASS program, which provides a public transit option for UMKC students.

MARC honored seven local projects and programs that set an example for creating sustainable places in the metro at its annual Sustainable Success Stories event on Nov. 30. The University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC) and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) were honored for their popular U-Pass transit pass initiative that allows UMKC students to ride Metro buses by swiping their student ID. The service is paid for by a universal UMKC student fee and is operated in partnership with the KCATA.

The project seeks to reduce the number of single-passenger vehicles on campus as parking is a perennial student complaint. The U-Pass provides an environmentally friendly, economical and easy way for students to get to campus. The program introduces transit to people at a time in their lives when they are open to trying new things. During the 2011–2012 school year, 2,279 unique students took advantage of the U-Pass, contributing to an increase in Metro ridership. Ridership for the first half of 2012 was up 8.9 percent. Because the UMKC campus is centrally located, KCATA did not need to add more bus routes.

Sustainable Success Stories is part of an ongoing community dialogue focused on building a better understanding of sustainable practices that have the potential to transform our community into “America’s Green Region.” By sharing local successes and challenges, we can enable community partners to learn about and replicate locally tailored, high-impact sustainability practices.

For more information about U-Pass, contact UMKC’s R. Kaye Johnston or KCATA’s Bridget Moss.