New England Employers Recognized for Superior Commuter Benefits

New England Employers Recognized for Superior Commuter Benefits

Millennium Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, Mass., pays employees $175 every quarter for biking or walking to work and charges them up to $45 every two weeks for using company parking spaces. Yale University in New Haven, Conn., sponsors a Home Buyer Program that offers $25,000 to employees who purchase homes in designated areas of the city, enabling them to walk, bike or shuttle to work. Seventh Generation in Burlington, Vt., rents buses for off-site company meetings and events so employees don’t have to use their cars. The People’s Bank in Bridgeport, Conn., offers employees $65 a month for transit subsidies, $1 a day when two employees commute together and $1.50 a day when three or more employees ride together.

These are just a few of the superior commuter benefits offered by the 100-plus companies and organizations recently selected for the second annual list of New England’s Best Workplaces for Commuters. The list is designed to recognize employers that offer superior commuter benefits to their workers, thereby reducing traffic congestion and air pollution while also improving employees’ quality of life.

This year’s list includes 30 new employers from around New England, bringing the list total to 113 employers representing nearly 170,000 employees. Among the new additions is the Upper Valley New Hampshire/Vermont Best Workplaces for Commuters District, a coalition that provides outstanding commuter benefits to employees working in Norwich and Hartford, Vt., as well as Enfield, Canaan, Hanover, and Lebanon, N.H.

The Upper Valley district provides free weekday public transit, free car-pool matching services and emergency ride-home benefits for those who ride transit, carpool, bike, or walk to work. The district is the first in the region to earn the Best Workplaces for Commuters District designation.

Motor vehicles, including cars and trucks, contribute more than half of New England’s nitrogen oxide emissions, a key ingredient in the formation of ozone smog. Elevated smog levels can pose serious health risks for the public, especially for sensitive populations such as children and adults with respiratory problems. Cars and trucks also emit particulate matter, air toxics, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.

To qualify as one of New England’s Best Workplaces for Commuters, organizations must provide:
  • At least one primary commuter benefit such as a monthly transit/vanpool pass subsidy or a significant telecommuting program.

  • At least three supporting commuter benefits, including carpool/vanpool incentives, lockers/showers for bikers or walkers, incentives to live near work, or on site amenities such as day care or dry cleaning.

  • A central point of contact for commuter benefits information.

  • Access to a regional, TMA, or employer-provided Guaranteed/Emergency Ride Home program.
A complete list of winners and more information about the program is available online.