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Smart Commute Awards 2011

Smart Commute Awards logoAbout the Awards

The Awards were introduced in 2007 to recognize the top employer in each region implementing Smart Commute programs. Winners are selected for outstanding achievement in the areas of commitment, leadership, innovation and results.

In 2008, two additional awards were added to the line-up: The Regional Employer of the Year Award, which recognizes the overall highest achievement of any Smart Commute employer across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area; and the Smart Commute Champion Award, which celebrates the ‘above and beyond’ achievements of one individual whose contribution is integral to the success of a Smart Commute program anywhere in the region. 

Regional Employer of the Year (GTHA) - Direct Energy

Direct Energy logo

Image of people standing next to the Direct Energy van

Improving the employee experience is one of Direct Energy’s top priorities. To increase employee satisfaction, the past 12 months have been dedicated to changing the commuting behaviours of approximately 1,150 staff.

Since November 2010, Direct Energy has been working with Smart Commute Northeast Toronto to implement a successful Vanpool Program, supported in part by the Metrolinx Innovation Fund. After several surveys, information sessions and outreach activities, six employees were chosen to take part, driving each day from Mississauga to the northeast Toronto office location. In the first seven months of operation, this vanpool has saved approximately 56,000 VKTs and prevented more than 12,900 CO2 pollutants from being emitted into the air. Direct Energy’s leadership and commitment to this program has improved Smart Commute’s understanding of vanpooling and has provided a valuable case study for other organizations wishing to set up similar programs.

Direct Energy has also increased their promotion of Carpool Zone. They have worked with Smart Commute NET to create an interactive marketing campaign that highlights the accessibility and convenience of carpooling, resulting in a 136% increase in Carpool Zone users.

Staff participation in events like Car Free Day, Carpool Week, and Clean Air Commute is enthusiastic and serves to promote not only awareness about commute choices but an opportunity to socialize with colleagues.

To encourage walking and cycling, Direct Energy has a dynamic Wellness team that hosts in-house workshops and promotes activities like Walktober. Direct Energy has also teamed up with TriFit which provides employees with a goal-setting tool that encourages a more active lifestyle. 

Smart Commute Champion Award 

This award was created to recognize an individual (or group of people) who has made an outstanding contribution to the Smart Commute program and who is not a paid TMA or Metrolinx staff person. This year, the award goes to three people, pictured left to right: Andy Manahan, Nicole Arsenault and Lawrence Bouchard.

Image of three people, the Smart Commute Champions

2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the inaugural Smart Commute: The Black Creek Regional Transportation Management Association, which is now known as Smart Commute North Toronto, Vaughan. While numerous individuals deserve credit for involvement in this initiative, there are three individuals who stand out for their sustained commitment, visionary leadership and persistent efforts.   

Lawrence Bouchard

Chair, Smart Commute NTV Board of Directors and Facilities Manager, Knoll North America Corp.

Nicole Arsenault

Treasurer, Smart Commute NTV Board of Directors and Manager, Transportation Services, York University

Andy Manahan

Vice Chair, Smart Commute NTV Board of Directors; Chair, Smart Commute NET Community Advisory Committee and Executive Director, Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario

The combined 30 years of leadership, vision and dedication of these three individuals has been instrumental in transforming a small not-for-profit organization into a thriving TMA that partners with more than 20 leading employers representing 90,000 commuters.

Congratulations to Lawrence, Nicole and Andy for this well-deserved honour.

 

Smart Commute Brampton-Caledon Employer of the Year - Nestlé Canada

Nestle logo

Nestlé Canada has become one of the leading Smart Commute Brampton-Caledon employers as well as vital strategic advisor.  In its second year, Nestlé not only maintained its innovative incentive program for sustainable commuters but also agreed to expand its sustainable program delivery.Group of people with Carpool parking sign

Nestlé has chosen an enthusiastic champion who has also assumed an active role within Smart Commute BC.  Kim Cunneyworth, Facilities Supervisor, joined the Board of Directors, and has actively promoted the program to employers within Nestlé’s geographic vicinity. 

Nestlé participated in Transport Canada & Region of Peel’s employer individualized marketing pilot project.  Through this program, employees are methodically segmented based on their interest levels in sustainable transport.  This allows Nestlé and SCBC to target resources and incentives towards those employees most likely to change their travel behaviour.  The pilot’s impact will be measured in the fall, and this will help identify strategies for future initiatives.

In June, Nestlé and Smart Commute BC teamed up to improve the pedestrian connectivity from the closest Brampton Transit stop to the front door of Nestlé.  As a result, the average Nestlé bus rider saves 10 minutes while accessing the front door safely.

Since inception, Nestlé has demonstrated an impressive amazing Carpool Zone participation rate, with 65 registered members (22.5% of the employees) and 15 carpools.  This prompted an expansion of the preferential carpool parking – which currently reserves the 12 closest parking spots.

Find out more about Smart Commute Brampton-Caledon

 

Smart Commute Central York Employer of the Year - Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority logo

Image of carpoolers in winter standing outside carLake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) is an environmental agency and consequently is obviously in the “green” business! 

The headquarters was expanded in 2005 and designed to be barrier-free throughout the main level, conducive to a community culture, healthy for its occupants, and designed to achieve LEED silver certification.  As the organization grew, a parking shortage developed.  To minimize the number of trees that would have to be cut down to expand the parking lot, LSRCA turned to Smart Commute Central York for assistance.  LSRCA had a manual carpool matching system in place (a map with push pins!) and were therefore delighted to be able to have a custom user group created on Carpool Zone.

LSRCA has a bike fleet, coordinated by an employee who restores bikes found on the properties maintained by LSRCA.  The bikes are available for use by staff during the work day. There is bike parking for eight and shower and change facilities are available.

The workplace champion, Rob Wilson, rallied his coworkers to participate in Bike to Work Day 2011.  Ten employees (11% of the employee population) biked to work, including Rob, who drove to his usual carpool pick-up spot and then cycled the last 30 km (60 km round trip)! 

LSRCA participated in Clean Air Commute Week 2011and netted a 40% participation rate.

Find out more about Smart Commute Central York

 

Smart Commute Durham Employer of the Year - Veridian

Veridian logo

Veridian joined Smart Commute Durham in 2008 as its second member company. It has been at the forefront of innovative programming where Smart Commute is concerned.  Now entering its third year of the program, Veridian continues to lead the Region in providing commuter solutions for its staff. Image of contest winner with bike

Veridian staff took part in all of the events and services offered this year.  These included the Carpool Week campaign, a second annual Expo during Earth Week, a corporate-wide Bike to Work event and the Clean Air Commute. Veridian also launched a bike lending program, offering staff the use of a bicycle for meetings or other trips during the work day. The Smart Commute events helped ease the transition to the company’s new single location as it expanded its main operations and closed a satellite office. Many new opportunities for carpool formation were presented with the 50+ employees joining the main office. 

Veridian is also the only employer member in the Region to offer an employer-sponsored transit program.  Employees collect their monthly transit passes and receive a 25% rebate.

Key to the success of the Veridian program is the support of the leading workplace champion, Kyle Brown. Ms. Brown continues to spearhead innovative programs and solutions related to travel alternatives for their staff.  She is an accomplished cyclist and an advocate for active transportation options.  She also led a plan to investigate the feasibility of setting up a vanpool program.

Find out more about Smart Commute Durham

 

Smart Commute Halton Employer of the Year - Town of Halton Hills

Town of Halton Hills logo

Image of group of people at designated carpool parking space

The Town of Halton Hills is one of Smart Commute Halton’s newest employers, yet they have taken the program to new levels for such a small employer.  Subsequent to joining in April 2011, they participated in a launch event, Bike to Work Day and the Clean Air Commute, with enthusiastic participation by employees. Although a majority of employees live within the community, many have taken up carpooling, which is a strong indicator of support for the program.

During the launch event, 34 employees registered for Carpool Zone and created 6 carpools. In the first six months, the program has seen 34 per cent of employees join Carpool Zone.  Of those registered users, 53 per cent are in an active carpool.

The Town of Halton Hills has also purchased secure bike lockers for their employees and town residents.  They are in the initial stages of developing a bike share program aimed at encouraging staff to cycle during lunch breaks and to meetings.  

Find out more about Smart Commute Halton

Smart Commute Hamilton Employer of the Year - Mohawk College

Mohawk College logo

Image of Mohawk College Bike Pad

Mohawk College’s participation in Smart Commute Hamilton has been driven by their sustainability team, comprising students and staff.  As a college community, Mohawk strives to achieve goals that include: protecting the environment; conserving resources; promoting healthy lifestyles; and supporting vitality and safety in the workplace.  Integral to this set of principles is fostering a culture of responsible commuting and encouraging opportunities for alternative, as well as healthier, modes of transportation than single-occupancy vehicles.

Mohawk’s first baseline survey of students and staff in 2010 produced a strong response (1,500 respondents).  This survey, coupled with a travel demand analysis, has enabled the college to determine the most appropriate programs with the highest impact for employees, and informed future master planning and designs for major capital projects.  This information is already being incorporated into the designs for the development of Mohawk’s new transit terminal and secure bike parking facility.

The new weather-protected, restricted access and monitored bike cage accommodates 44 bicycles. And a bike loan program was initiated for students and staff who need temporary access to bicycles, thereby reducing their reliance on single-occupancy vehicles.

Mohawk College will continue to be one of the fastest growing and most active members of the Hamilton TMA.  Its activities have embodied the spirit of the Smart Commute Awards, and it has also broadened the impact of these environmental initiatives beyond its own walls.

Find out more about Smart Commute Hamilton

 

Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill Employer of the Year - MMM Group

MMM Group logo

Image of group of cyclists at beginning of Bike to Work Day group ride

As a founding member of Smart Commute 404-7 (now Markham, Richmond Hill), MMM Group’s interest in Smart Commute began with its dedication to promoting sustainable transportation and a decreased reliance on single occupant vehicles among staff. In addition, consistent with its professional practice in transportation planning, MMM endeavours to promote sustainable transportation solutions both corporately and for its clients.

MMM offers many innovative events and programs to engage its staff, such as its corporate in-kind sponsorship of the Friends of the Greenbelt’s September 2010 Tour de Greenbelt cycling tour, which promotes cycling inYork Region and elsewhere in the GTHA.  MMM continues a decades-old tradition of hosting an annual Ride and Hike to your Roots event promoting cycling and walking as viable and enjoyablemodes of transportation.

Sustainable corporate practices include the promotion of video conferencing and teleconferencing; development of a Green Office Guide that includes sustainable transportation options; maintenance of sheltered bike racks in the parking garage and provision of showers, lockers and change facilities for those using active transportation´Ç«.

MMM regularly conducts employee commuting surveys (every 12 – 16 months), which helps measure travel mode changes and gauge support for all the Smart Commute initiatives.

Find out more about Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill.

Smart Commute Mississauga Employer of the Year - Hatch Ltd.

Hatch Ltd. logo

Image of people standing on staircase with bicycles in foreground

Hatch’s Sustainable Development Committee has worked with Smart Commute Mississauga since the launch of the program in 2007 to ensure the program’s success.

Some examples of accomplishments:

  • Initiated subsidy for staff carpooling and cycling to work;
  • Worked with the City of Mississauga and Mississauga Transit to revise a bus route to include the Hatch Mississauga offices;
  • Enthusiastic participation in Smart Commute events.

In the last year, several initiatives have been undertaken to promote sustainable commuting:

  • Participated in the Region of Peel and Transport Canada’s Employer-Individualized Marketing Pilot Project;
  • Doubled the number of carpool parking spots from 6 to 12;
  • Held annual Sustainable Development Week (including a green car showcase);
  • Expanded the carpooling program to the Sudbury office;
  • Consulted with the Niagara Falls office to develop a commuting initiatives program;
  • Participated in the Transportation Demand Management Coordinating Committee Workshop “How do we integrate transportation demand management into new development?”
  • Launched an employee bike share program.

The Smart Commute program has not only changed the culture at Hatch, it has become the culture. Hatch has more employees than ever participating in the program and is looking forward to achieving outstanding results in the future. 

Find out more about Smart Commute Mississauga

Smart Commute Northeast Toronto Employer of the Year - Direct Energy

Direct Energy logo

Image of people standing with the Direct Energy van

Improving the employee experience is one of Direct Energy’s top priorities. To increase employee satisfaction, the past 12 months have been dedicated to changing the commuting behaviours of approximately 1,150 staff.

Since November 2010, Direct Energy has been working with Smart Commute Northeast Toronto to implement a successful Vanpool Program, supported in part by the Metrolinx Innovation Fund. After several surveys, information sessions and outreach activities, six employees were chosen to take part, driving each day from Mississauga to the northeast Toronto office location. In the first seven months of operation, this vanpool has saved approximately 56,000 VKTs and prevented more than 12,900 CO2 pollutants from being emitted into the air. Direct Energy’s leadership and commitment to this program has improved Smart Commute’s understanding of vanpooling and has provided a valuable case study for other organizations wishing to set up similar programs.

Direct Energy has also increased their promotion of Carpool Zone. They have worked with Smart Commute NET to create an interactive marketing campaign that highlights the accessibility and convenience of carpooling, resulting in a 136% increase in Carpool Zone users.

Staff participation in events like Car Free Day, Carpool Week, and Clean Air Commute is enthusiastic and serves to promote not only awareness about commute choices but an opportunity to socialize with colleagues.

To encourage walking and cycling, Direct Energy has a dynamic Wellness team that hosts in-house workshops and promotes activities like Walktober. Direct Energy has also teamed up with TriFit which provides employees with a goal-setting tool that encourages a more active lifestyle. 

Find out more about Smart Commute Northeast Toronto, a project of Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan

Smart Commute North Toronto, Vaughan Employer of the Year - PowerStream

Sanofi Pasteur logo

Image of two Chevy Volt electric cars with PowerStream branding

Prior to joining Smart Commute, PowerStream demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability.  In 2008, the company relocated to a purpose built, LEED Gold certified building in Vaughan. 

PowerStream’s tagline, “Go Green with PowerStream” reflects both their corporate culture and broader interest in encouraging environmentally sound behaviour amongst their customers.  The launch of their vanpool program not only supports their internal eco-mandate, but by branding their vans, they are visibly demonstrating the opportunities that Smart Commuting can offer employers and communities.

PowerStream has a commitment to reduce emissions from employee commutes by 10 per cent by 2013. The company is designated an Ontario Environmental Leader (one of only 12 organizations) by the Ministry of the Environment.

Since partnering with Smart Commute North Toronto, Vaughan in 2008, PowerStream has shown commitment and leadership amongst York Region and Simcoe County employers.  PowerStream works hard to build environmental responsibility into the daily practices of its employees, and transportation demand management has become a key element of this. 

Over the past year, PowerStream has increased its focus on encouraging the formation of carpools and vanpools, resulting in a non-SOV mode share of 29.3 per cent.

This year, the company added two 100% electric, zero emissions Nissan LEAF vehicles to their fleet.  These were the first two Nissan LEAF vehicles delivered in Canada. A pilot group of 10 people, plus additional passengers, rotate use of one of these vehicles for daily commutes. 

Active transportation is also encouraged, and this year two bicycles were added to the employee bike share program.

Find out more about Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan

Smart Commute Pearson Airport Area Employer of the Year - Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Greater Toronto Airports Authority logo

Image of bike maintenance workshop

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is committed to improving transportation options for all users of Toronto Pearson International Airport. By improving the ability of their own employees to get to work, they feel better promoting sustainable transportation to their community partners.

They have increased carpool parking spots from 18 to 39 and have used the success of this initiative as a catalyst to implement carpool parking for shift-work employees in the public parking garage. The GTAA has its own internal fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles, including some propane and hybrid cars. As a participant in the Transport Canada/Region of Peel EIM project they aim to encourage more staff to use efficient commuting modes and continuously promote the use of public transit and carpooling. Activities offered to staff range from annual Smart Commute promotions to lunch & learn workshops related to health and fitness and efficient commuting.  This year, a defensive cycling workshop was offered, as well as a bike maintenance session.

GTTA’s Community Engagement Officer sits on the board of directors for Smart Commute Mississauga, and is Chair of the Steering Committee for the sister organization, Smart Commute Pearson Airport Area.

Find out more about Smart Commute Pearson Airport Area

Smart Commute Toronto-Central Employer of the Year - Ontario Power Authority

Ontario Power Authority logo

Image of group of cyclists

Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has created an executive-sponsored Environment Committee with a mandate to “facilitate the development of initiatives for implementation by the appropriate units leading to a reduction in OPA’s environmental footprint”.  Subsequently, an environmental policy for internal operations has been put into place and an internal Environment Committee website was developed to communicate initiatives, updates, announcements and resources to staff.

Sustainable transportation options are the only commute modes promoted, as OPA relinquished all its parking spaces.  Tokens and taxi chits are easily obtainable before work-related trips are made and flexible policies have been implemented giving employees the empowerment to work hours that best fit their schedule.  These include policies on flexible work hours, compressed work hours, telework and job-sharing.

Cycling is advocated by an active bicycle user group consisting of 26 employees that participate in cycling related events, including building bikes in support of the Boys & Girls Club of Toronto.  Forty bicycle parking spaces are available and secure mini-closets, serving as lockers, are at each work station.

OPA has one of the lowest SOV rates (4 per cent) when compared with other downtown workplaces and 93 per cent of staff practise sustainable transportation modes.  In addition to the commuter survey, a staff survey on environmental attitudes and behaviour was conducted and showed that OPA staff adopted positive behaviour as they became aware of the implications of their actions on the environment.

OPA believes in the power of education to bring about change, and therefore offers monthly lunch and learn movies on environmental issues.

Find out more about Smart Commute Toronto-Central

 

 

Awards Review Panel Members

Smart Commute would like to extend our gratitude to the panel of volunteers who evaluated all of the nominations:

  • Leslie Woo, Metrolinx (Panel Chair)
  • Fiona Chapman, City of Toronto
  • Pavlos Kanaroglou, McMaster University
  • Gail Lawlor, Durham Sustain Ability
  • Lorenzo Mele, City of Mississauga
  • Melanie Wright, York Region Transit

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Smart Commute Awards 2011

 
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