Washington University in St. Louis named Best Workplace for Commuters

Citizens for Modern Transit recognizes university for multiple alternative transportation programs

Washington University in St. Louis has been named Best Workplace for Commuters (more than 100 employees category) by Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT), a leading regional advocate for light rail and public transportation.

Kim Cella, executive director of CMT, said that the university’s varied menu of alternative transportation programs benefits both the Washington University community and the broader St. Louis region.

“Washington University is really leading the way,” Cella said. “These programs increase ridership on public transportation, improve air quality and reduce congestion on our roads.”

The award was presented Sept. 12 at CMT’s 2014 annual meeting and awards ceremony in St. Louis. Washington University, along with BJC HealthCare, the Cortex Innovation Community and Great Rivers Greenway, also received the Chairman’s Award for its work studying the viability of a MetroLink station in the CORTEX District, home to a growing number of startups, incubators, health-care and life-science operations and, soon, an Ikea home furnishings store. The group’s comprehensive analysis recently led to a $10 million TIGER Grant to build the station.

“I am very pleased that Washington University has been recognized for our alternative transportation programs,” said Steven P. Hoffner, associate vice chancellor for operations. “I doubt there is another institution in St. Louis, and probably very few nationally, that offers members of its community so many alternatives.

“As parking continues to become more expensive and probably less convenient on the Danforth Campus, I hope people will seriously begin to consider these alternatives that we offer,” he said.

Those programs include:

  • U-Pass, which provides students, faculty and staff a free pass for Metro bus and MetroLink light-rail service;
  • CarShare, the discount car-rental program. The university now boasts more than 20 hybrid and electric CarShare vehicles;
  • Campus Circulator shuttle;
  • Bearly Drivers Carpool Program;
  • Campus2Home shuttles;
  • Occasional Parking Program, which offers discounted daily passes to drivers who typically use alternative transportation options; and
  • Guaranteed Ride Home, a CMT program that provides emergency cab service to commuters who typically take alternative transportation.

Washington University also has worked with local leaders and Great Rivers Greenway to improve cycling routes on and around campus. It currently is exploring the addition of more bike racks and shower facilities for cyclists.

“Washington University’s public transportation subsidy program is the largest in the region. That, by itself, has a big impact,” Cella said. “But the other place where Washington University excels is that it promotes alternatives across the board.”

Winners of the Best Workplace for Commuters Award receive a one-year membership in the National Best Workplaces for Commuters Program. Microgrid Energy was named Best Workplace for Commuters (less than 100 employees category).

The Best Workplaces for Commuters program is a national program sponsored by the National Center for Transit Research, the Center for Urban Transportation Research and the University of South Florida.