Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
217 new participants registered for Smart Trips this quarter which is more than the three times the number of new registrants added in the last quarter and double the number added at the same time last year. This is likely due to Smart Trips’ marketing push to promote the 2011 Commuter Challenge (including transit, billboard, radio and print advertising) and the fact that gas prices topped $3.50 per gallon for the first time in two years.
Smart Trips switched to a new ridematching database, RideShark, on May 9, 2011. The reporting mechanism of the new system differs significantly from that used by the previous provider, Basetrak. Therefore, the numbers reported from this quarter forward will be presented in a different format.
Participation skyrocketed this quarter with 807 commuters logging at least one daily alternative commute. This figure nearly doubles the number of commuters who logged at least one alternative commute during the previous quarter and reflects an increase of 34% over this same time period during 2010.
295 individuals qualified for gift cards this quarter by actively logging more than 30 days (60 trips) worth of alternative commutes. This is up by 6% over the previous quarter but down negligibly from last year at the same time. This is attributable to difficulties with the new ridematching system and accurately accounting for the number of qualifiers. The number of gift cards distributed this quarter is 275.
Area commuters saved a total of $64,844.72 in fuel and maintenance costs this quarter, up from $47,317.47 last quarter and from $51,320.06 during the second quarter of 2010 when gas prices for much lower.
The amount of CO2 emissions reduced during the quarter was 374,714 pounds which represents a significant increase – nearly 30% - over last quarter’s reduction of 262,782 pounds and is also up from last year’s reduction of 292,719 pounds.
The RideShark system is not dependent on employer portal pages for logging commutes. The number of custom sub sites created in the new RideShark system is 33.
Marketing and Community Outreach
Smart Trips information was distributed by the Knoxville Regional Bicycle Program Ambassadors at Earthfest at Pellissippi State in Oak Ridge on Saturday, April 16, 2011. This same day, Smart Trips advertising and marketing efforts for the 2011 Commuter Challenge broke with radio advertising on local NPR affiliate, WUOT; on KAT transit buses and on billboards.
On Wednesday, April 20, Smart Trips attended Oak Ridge National Labs Earth Day to promote the Commuter Challenge and to help them raise awareness about vanpooling. On Wednesday, April 27, Smart Trips attended the Association of Administrative Professionals event at Rothchild’s Conference Center. Knoxville Regional Bicycle Program Ambassadors also promoted Smart Trips at Oak Ridge Earth Day on Saturday, April 30.
Smart Trips was promoted at numerous events throughout Bike Month in May 2011 including Bike to Work Day on May 20 and the I Bike Knoxfest on May 22nd. Smart Trips advertisements appeared each week in May in the Knoxville print publication, Metropulse. Smart Trips attended the Farmer’s Market on Market Square opening day and the first Wednesday of June and July.
On Friday, May 27, Smart Trips held a guerilla marketing event on Market Square to raise awareness about CO2 emissions. Video footage of the event was posted on YouTube and is accessible from our website at www.knoxsplat.com.
Smart Trips' Facebook page (www.facebook.com/knoxsmarttrips) had 156 likes last quarter and is now up to 192.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Hail took Smart Trips coordinator Alisa Ashouri's family from two cars down to one. "Simply put, we had to explore other options. At first my husband and I just made do with the one car and then I thought maybe it's time to check again and see if I have any carpool matches. Yes, I'm ashamed to admit, I was driving alone."
Between the new ridematching system and the many registrants signed up during the Commuter Challenge, Alisa found a carpool partner and is happy with the results. "We got our car fixed, but I'm still carpooling. It's great having someone to converse with on the way to and from work and not having to fill up my tank as often is pretty nice too!"
For Dr. Patricia Sura, another commuter whose windshield was damaged by the storm, bicycle commuting was the chosen alternative. During the month of May, while waiting for the windshield to be fixed, Dr. Sura used the bike to visit friends, run errands and to get back and forth from work. Once the car was fixed, she simply stayed with it. Dr. Sura has been chosen as Smart Trips April Commuter of the Month.
For information about the Smart Trips program and the Commuter Challenge, go to www.knoxsmarttrips.org.
Friday, May 27, 2011
In the Business Challenge, the University of Tennessee is the current overall leader with 50 points and 5,993 pounds of CO2 reduced. Elizabeth Eason Architecture leads the 1 to 20 employees’ category. The Metropolitan Planning Commission has the top spot in the 21 to 99 employees’ category, while 21st Mortgage currently holds the lead in the 100 to 350 employees group. Other leaders include TVA in the 351 to 1,499 employees group and UT in the 1,500 and up employees’ category.
Smart Trips is a regional organization that promotes alternatives to driving alone and helps commuters find carpool partners, bike and transit buddies, save money on gas and help the environment. Each year the organization holds a Commuter Challenge to increase participation and raise awareness. More information about the Challenge and the Smart Trips program is available at www.knoxsmarttrips.org.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
First, thank you so much for your tolerance and understanding during this transition. You make the Smart Trips program successful and we very much appreciate your participation and your patience! Next, if you have not already done so, please confirm your membership via the email sent to you by the new program or go to http://www.knoxsmarttrips.org/ to join. Until this is done you won't be able to log your commutes or be eligible for prizes or the Emergency Ride Home program. Finally, if you are having any problems with accessing the site or going through the registration process, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (865) 215-2916. I would be happy to talk you through or offer whatever assistance I can.
Few more things:
- Instructions for deleting or deactivating your account were sent in the original email, however, I can also do this from my end if you prefer.
- The process of confirming your information only happens with the initial set up, after that you're just two clicks in to log your commutes each time you log on.
- We've added complete instructions for logging commutes to the logging pages to make it clearer how to do this. But please let us know if you have any questions.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
444 commuters submitted at least one daily commute log versus 457 at this time last year, thus reflecting a slight decrease in daily participation between 2010 and 2011. However, this may be due to the fact that this winter was one of the worst on record in the Knoxville area.
The total number of logs submitted by participants decreased from 65,798 in the last quarter (October 1 to December 30, 2010) to 61,684 this quarter. This also represented a drop from the same time in 2010 when 64,510 logs were recorded. Here again, the weather may have played a role.
Looking at the number of trips by mode, the number of carpool trips did increase from this quarter over last quarter by 478. Transit use increased by 6%, from 7,424 trips to 7,908. Vanpool trips increased from 269 to 283. The number of walking trips reported rose from 2,297 to 2,549. The number of telework trips dropped from 1,697 to 1,593. The number of bicycle commutes reported was fewer, dropping from 5,891 last quarter to 4,853 this quarter, but this was likely due to the particularly harsh winter with an unusual number of snowstorms and colder than average temperatures.
A total of 278 individuals qualified for gift cards this quarter by actively logging more than 30 days (60 trips) worth of alternative commutes. This represented an increase over last quarter but was down slightly from the same time last year when 285 participants qualified.
While gas prices in the region showed significant increases this quarter which probably resulted in the jump in registrations over this time last year and the increases in carpooling and transit use, extremely harsh weather and colder than average temperatures likely played a role in the decrease in overall participation.
See more detailed information on Smart Trips website at http://www.knoxsmarttrips.org/.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
483 commuters submitted at least one daily commute log representing an increase over the same time period in 2009. There was a seasonal decline from summer into fall, as anticipated, but the decline was not as steep as last year’s – just 8% versus last year’s drop off of more than 17%.
At 65,798, the total number of logs submitted by participants from October 1 to December 30, 2010 exceeded the number submitted in 2009. And though there was a slight seasonal decline, at 5%, it was less than a third of the 16% decline reported from the third to fourth quarters of 2009.
The number of bicycle trips reported rose by more than 800 over the same time period in 2009; from 5,029 to 5,891. The number of carpool trips reported also grew – from 14,965 to 15,756. Walking trips reported increased by nearly 38%. Transit was down from the previous year, though the seasonal decline, at 12.8%, was not as steep as the 15.6% drop recorded in 2009. Vanpools, however, showed steep declines dropping from 890 recorded trips during this quarter in 2009 to just 269 recorded trips during the same time frame in 2010.
A total of 277 individuals qualified for gift cards this quarter by actively logging more than 30 days (60 trips) worth of alternative commutes. This was an increase over the same time last year and down by just 5% from the previous quarter. During the same time last year, that decline had been 10.3%.
Increases in participation were likely the result of rising gas prices which at some stations in the region came to just under the $3 per gallon mark. In the fourth quarter of 2008, retail gas prices were coming off summer highs in excess of $4 per gallon and commuters were still not driving alone at previous levels. In 2009, with gas prices ranging from $1.78 to $2.60 per gallon, commuters likely became more comfortable and returned to driving alone in greater numbers. 2010 saw prices steadily increase each month, from a February low of $2.64 per gallon to $2.99 per gallon by year’s end resulting in increases in Smart Trips participation. With oil and gas prices expected to rise through the summer of 2011, increased Smart Trips participation is anticipated.
The amount of CO2 emissions reduced during the fourth quarter of 2010 was 262,782 pounds which represented an increase over the fourth quarter of 2009 when 257,715 pounds were reduced.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
There’s Smart Trips own ridematching database which allows Knoxville area commuters to quickly and easily find carpoolers headed in their same direction at about the same time. It’s easy to register and find a carpool partner on our website: http://www.knoxsmarttrips.org/carpool.htm.
There are other online services that offer similar functions for other regions of the country or for certain segments of the population, for example Zimride (http://www.zimride.com/) which caters to college students.
Several new websites – CabCorner.com, Hitchsters.com, CabEasy.com, SplitACab.com and RideAmigos.com – offer the opportunity for sharing the cost of a cab ride. Primarily aimed at larger cities, the sites can be useful for those taking business or pleasure trips to more populated areas.
There’s also the concept of car-sharing, where vehicles are owned by an entity or community and made available to be shared for use for a fee. Companies such Zip Car (http://www.zipcar.com/) and Connect by Hertz (http://www.connectbyhertz.com/) operate car-sharing programs in cities across the U.S. Plans are underway to bring car-sharing to Knoxville.
All these options make for reduced emissions, cleaner air and less traffic congestion which are goals for the Smart Trips program as well. For more information about Smart Trips, check out our website: http://www.knoxsmarttrips.org/.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Smart Trips participants who bicycle, carpool, take transit, vanpool, walk to work or work from home and log these efforts for 30 days (that’s 60 one-way trips) each quarter are eligible for Commuter Rewards. Quarters run January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December each year.
Early in the months of April, July, October and January, Smart Trips participants should receive an email reminding them to log their commutes by a specific date to be eligible for Commuter Rewards prizes, including $50 monthly and $100 quarterly gift cards to local vendors.
Those who meet the logging requirements each quarter - by the deadline - will then receive a second email directing them to make their choice of a $10 gift card from amongst Bliss, Café 4, Mast General Store, Panera Bread, Regal Cinemas, Three Rivers Market or Tomato Head by completing a very short survey in Survey Monkey.
Gift cards are not automatically sent, even to those who qualify. Participants must choose which card they want before one will be purchased for them and mailed out. We strive to accomplish this by the end of the month following a quarter.
For more information about Smart Trips Commuter Rewards program, check out our website: http://www.knoxsmarttrips.org/rewards.htm.