Nortel Networks' GreenCommute

In 1998, Nortel Networks initiated GreenCommute, a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program for its campus expansion in Ottawa, Ontario. Through enhancing and promoting alternative commuting practices (mass transit, carpooling, biking, walking, and telecommuting) this program sought to increase the percentage of non-auto trips from 12% to 15% and increase average vehicle occupancy from 1.12 to 1.3 persons by the year 2000. Prior to developing the program, the City of Ottawa conducted a traffic count to determine how people were commuting to the current campus, while Nortel Networks implemented a comprehensive online employee survey to gather information on transportation habits and attitudes towards alternative transportation methods. Infrastructure elements were also integrated prior to the program’s launch to make access to the campus easier and safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and mass transit users. Internally, Nortel Networks launched GreenCommute by hiring a full-time TDM Coordinator to ensure that the program would have consistency, leadership, and a single point of contact for employee and partner communications. An online survey was then used to introduce the program to individuals working on campus, providing them with information on the program’s purpose and goals in addition to communicating that future program elements would be developed based on their needs. Based on survey results, an online ride-matching system was developed to help individuals overcome the barrier of finding compatible carpool partners. Specific parking spots located closer to the main building were reserved for carpoolers to incentivize people to use this mode of transport. Ongoing events hosted with the support of local partners provided people with numerous opportunities to learn more about, and try, alternative transportation methods throughout the duration of the program. A website with information and support on alternative commuting methods was also made available to individuals working at Nortel Networks. E-mails were the primary tool used to promote the program and any upcoming events, though posters and random prize drawings were also used to further encourage participation. Survey results were publicly posted throughout the program in order to provide employees with feedback, giving them the opportunity to gauge their own performance. In June of 2000, a survey was administered to employees in order to gauge the program’s overall impact on the use of various transportation methods. Annual traffic counts were also used to identify any changes that had occurred since the 1998 baseline count.  Survey results indicated that the program had achieved its goal of increasing non-auto trips from 12% to 15%, with approximately 5,200 employees commuting to work via cycling, mass transit, or telecommute by the year 2000.

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