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Smart Commute Awards 2013

Smart Commute Awards logoAbout the Awards

Every year since 2007, Smart Commute has recognized 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. These are called Smart Commute Employers of the Year.

From these organizations, one is determined by our review panel to receive the top honour: The 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.

In addition, the Parsons Brinckerhoff Employee Engagement Award, which recognizes a Smart Commute employer that has demonstrated exceptional leadership, innovation and success in motivating employees to re-think their commutes.

The Smart Commute Champion Award celebrates the ‘above and beyond’ achievements of one individual whose contribution has been integral to the success of a Smart Commute program anywhere in the region.

Thanks to our sponsors:

Parsons Brinckerhoff logo BA Group Consulting logo Via Rail logo 

 

Regional Employer of the Year (GTHA) – Mohawk College

Mohawk College logo

Under the leadership of its Sustainability Office, Mohawk College has continued to expand and deepen its Smart Commute program over the past year, building on existing successes and infrastructure and embedding Smart Commute firmly within the Mohawk community.

In addition to expanding their carpool parking and sheltered bike parking, Mohawk has made active transportation improvements a key element of their recent site redevelopment. This includes a new multi-use pathway to connect the campus to local neighbourhoods, the rebuilding and expansion of sidewalks and crossings, and the development of a pedestrian plaza in a former parking lot. A bike loan program was implemented this year, allowing students to borrow a bike for up to 24 hours.Mohawk College outreach event

The Sustainability Office supports the use of transit by staff through the Discount Transit Pass program. On average, 60 passes are sold each month. Additionally, Mohawk continues to work with Hamilton Street Railway and GO Transit to advocate for improved and more frequent service to campus.

Mohawk consistently takes every opportunity to promote sustainable transportation options and encourage behaviour change. Following the closure of their Brantford campus, they developed commuter profiles for all 700 students facing relocation, identifying the best non-single occupancy vehicle methods of travelling to their new campus.

The Sustainability Office introduced the MoCoModal service for students, an online tool that lists tailored sustainable commute options from a range of starting destinations. It includes carpool options, bus routes, shuttle services and more.

To learn more, visit the website of the Mohawk Sustainability Office.

Parsons Brinckerhoff Employee Engagement Award - City of Mississauga 

This new award was developed to recognize one Smart Commute member or partner employer that has demonstrated exceptional effort and leadership in engaging their employees through the program this past year. The winner was selected by the Smart Commute Awards Review Panel from three nominations.

City of Mississauga's Bike to Work DayThe City of Mississauga’s goal in joining Smart Commute was to support commuting options that minimize impacts on the environment and help make the City an employer of choice, a leading example in the community, and to provide employee support for commute alternatives as a compliment to the new parking management program. Working with Smart Commute Mississauga since 2006, they have continued to strengthen their program year after year.

Smart Commute is positioned as an employee benefit, and the City has staff resources are dedicated to delivering and evaluating the program. The City’s Transportation Demand Management Coordinator attends all orientation sessions for new hires, across all work sites, to ensure that they understand the benefits of the Smart Commute program. The City understands the value of monitoring the program’s effectiveness, so there are multiple feedback mechanisms in place to collect and analyze data.

To encourage employees to use public transit, the City developed a Transit Trial Offer that includes a personalized travel plan and PRESTO fare card. Combined with the Discount Monthly Transit Pass Program (50% subsidized) this has generated a 100% increase in transit pass use by employees over the last two years.

Two newer offerings, an on-site discounted car share service and bike share program, are proving to be popular with staff. Carpoolers are rewarded with a significant discount on their monthly parking fees. The City of Mississauga is at the forefront of sustainable transportation workplace programs and should be commended for its leadership.

To learn more, visit the City of Mississauga website and the Smart Commute Mississauga website.

Smart Commute Champion - Sante Esposito

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 winner is Sante Esposito, General Manager, Mississauga Executive Centre, Colliers International.

Sante EspositoMr. Esposito has demonstrated, over the last seven years, outstanding commitment and dedication to the growth and development of the Smart Commute program in both Mississauga and the Pearson Airport Area. He has shown tremendous leadership, collaborating with other organizations in the area to push transportation demand management objectives.

Despite the many challenges that Mr. Esposito has faced in running a successful program across four commercial properties, and in ensuring a smooth transition of the Smart Commute program when a new property ownership and management team came on board, he has remained a steadfast supporter of sustainable commuting.

Smart Commute Brampton-Caledon Employer of the Year – Region of Peel

Region of Peel logo

The Region of Peel continues to be a leader in workplace Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programming. A dedicated team of three experienced staff is responsible for creating innovative transportation options for this multi-worksite organization. Their mission is clear from the top down as the Commissioner of Public Works proudly practices what his division champions by biking and taking transit.Region of Peel staff on Bike to Work Day

This year the program overcame significant challenges such as relocation of staff to new facilities, parking construction and parking reductions. Success came with hard work and innovation including:

  • Development of a Smart Commute intranet.
  • Promotion of travel options in employee handbook.
  • Design, development and implementation of a Bike Zone that provides registered employees with secure bike parking.
  • “Bike Friday” events that provide staff with free breakfast if they cycle to work.
  • Peel was a lead organizer for Brampton’s first Bike to Work Day breakfast in 2013, which had more than 60 employees participate. Speeches from Peel Region Councillors, public health officials, and the police chief demonstrated their commitment.
  • Regional staff worked across departments to finalize telework guidelines and protocols, identify best practices and work with managers to recommend staff for their pilot program.
  • Through policy and planning, Peel Region hopes to influence commuting behaviour with an Active Transportation Plan, a 5-year TDM plan, and a TDM Social Marketing Plan.

 

Find out more about Smart Commute Brampton-Caledon

 

Smart Commute Central York Employer of the Year – Scholastic Canada Ltd. - Newmarket

Scholastic Canada logo

Employees at this publishing company have truly embraced sustainable modes of travel, particularly carpooling and transit. Their highly engaged Smart Commute workplace coordinator has been instrumental in rallying staff to participate in annual campaigns. A dedicated, informative Smart Commute bulletin board showcases campaign posters, carpooling tips, Carpool Zone information, local transit and cycling information and promotes the Emergency Ride Home program. Each week, two carpool groups are chosen by a random draw, and are given the preferential parking spots located close to the employee entrance. This has proven to be a great way to keep carpooling top of mind. Currently 35% of the workforce carpools (15 carpools comprised of 28 users, out of a total population of 81).

Scholastic Canada carpoolersScholastic Canada – Newmarket has fully embraced the Smart Commute program, participating in all Smart Commute annual campaigns and achieving consistently high turnouts.

In November 2012, Scholastic Canada – Newmarket received the Environmental Business of the Year Award at the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards in recognition of their environmental practices. They have implemented numerous environmental initiatives including using only local paper mills to reduce carbon emissions caused by transportation, implementing office recycling programs, an off-line carpool registration program and preferred carpool parking spaces.

Find out more about Smart Commute Central York

 

Smart Commute Durham Employer of the Year – Region of Durham’s Hillsdale Estates & Terraces

Region of Durham logo

Originally both Hillsdale Estates and Hillsdale Terraces were Smart Commute Durham members under the Region of Durham. In 2012, they became individual members.

The challenge with running a sustainable transportation program at an organization that operates 24/7 has not daunted the coordinators at this pair of long-term care facilities. Due to the close proximity of the two buildings, it made sense to collaborate when promoting the Smart Commute program.

Bike Locker at Hillsdale Estates & TerracesTo encourage staff to use transit, a customized bus schedule information guide was created, based on typical arrivals and departures. The PRESTO card program offered employees a pre-loaded $25 electronic fare card as a further incentive.

A focus on promoting active transportation has been successful in attracting many employees to get involved in a new Bike Month challenge, which encouraged cyclists to log a minimum of one bike trip per week for a chance to win a prize. The Region invested in a new bike lending program, including a storage unit. Staff at both sites have access to the bikes every day, to use during their breaks.

Hillsdale Estates and Terraces regularly host events throughout the year, including Carpool Week and Smart Commute Week. The high turnout for events is a direct result of the workplace champions’ promotional efforts: using email and posters effectively and offering refreshments.

Find out more about Smart Commute Durham

 

Smart Commute Halton Employer of the Year – Halton Region

Halton Region logo 

Halton Region has taken progressive steps towards providing sustainable commuting options for Region staff. The Region has participated in all annual events, with great involvement from staff, but they also demonstrated considerable initiative by developing their own site-specific activities.

A highlight this year was the first ever Summer Challenge. This campaign promoted healthy competition by encouraging staff to commute sustainably to work.

Halton Region's Summer Challenge participantsThe Summer Challenge ran for eight weeks and had 62 employees participate. The Region hosted two successful lunch-time bike rides during the challenge. Employees completed weekly trip diaries, and each sustainable trip earned points towards a designation (bronze, silver, and gold). This initiative was supported by senior staff, including the chief administrative officer. The campaign was a tremendous success with more than 1,300 sustainable trips logged over the eight-week period. As a result, senior staff are planning to make the challenge an annual tradition.

Building on this initiative, the Region will also be exploring the idea of an employee bike share program. Their first step is to issue a bike share survey to all staff to gauge interest.

This year, Halton Region also installed two more carpool parking spots to encourage and support their growing carpool program. They currently have 112 active Carpool Zone users and 11 active carpools - the largest program in the region.

Find out more about Smart Commute Halton

Smart Commute Hamilton Employer of the Year – Mohawk College

Mohawk College logo

Under the leadership of its Sustainability Office, Mohawk College has continued to expand and deepen its Smart Commute program over the past year, building on existing successes and infrastructure and embedding Smart Commute firmly within the Mohawk community.

In addition to expanding their carpool parking and sheltered bike parking, Mohawk has made active transportation improvements a key element of their recent site redevelopment. This includes a new multi-use pathway to connect the campus to local neighbourhoods, the rebuilding and expansion of sidewalks and crossings, and the development of a pedestrian plaza in a former parking lot. A bike loan program was implemented this year, allowing students to borrow a bike for up to 24 hours.

Mohawk College outreach eventThe Sustainability Office supports the use of transit by staff through the Discount Transit Pass program. On average, 60 passes are sold each month. Additionally, Mohawk continues to work with Hamilton Street Railway and GO Transit to advocate for improved and more frequent service to campus.

Mohawk consistently takes every opportunity to promote sustainable transportation options and encourage behaviour change. Following the closure of their Brantford campus, they developed commuter profiles for all 700 students facing relocation, identifying the best non-single occupancy vehicle methods of travelling to their new campus.

The Sustainability Office introduced the MoCoModal service for students, an online tool that lists tailored sustainable commute options from a range of starting destinations. It includes carpool options, bus routes, shuttle services and more.

Find out more about Smart Commute Hamilton

 

Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill Employer of the Year – Town of Richmond Hill

Town of Richmond Hill logo

The Town of Richmond Hill has been involved with Smart Commute since its inception in 2005. This year’s highlights included:Town of Richmond Hill bike valet service

  • Launch of a one-year e-bike pilot program for Town staff.
  • Installation of a bike rack at the front entrance of the Municipal Office for use by staff and the public.
  • Achieved highest participation in 2013 Carpool Week campaign.
  • 100% attendance SCMRH Advisory / Ambassador meetings.
  • Designated speaker at 2013 SCMRH Breakfast of Champions.
  • Continuing to participate in committees with York Region and Metrolinx to provide feedback and information sharing (e.g., e-bike policies).
  • Expanded bike valet service at Mill Pond Concerts in the Park.
  • Including Smart Commute events and information in an annual community waste management calendar.
  • Updated bike lockers with new promotional “wraps” to increase public awareness.
  • Submitted 2013 Walk Friendly Communities Application, in partnership with York Region.

 “The benefits of active transportation are endless,” says Mayor Dave Barrow. “We hope that we can inspire the community to take advantage of the many safe, convenient, healthy and earth-friendly ways to get around Richmond Hill.”

Find out more about Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill

Smart Commute Mississauga Employer of the Year – Hatch Ltd.

Hatch logo

Hatch’s Sustainable Development Committee has worked closely with Smart Commute Mississauga since the launch of the program in 2007. Hatch previously won Smart Commute Employer of the Year honours (2007, 2011) and was recognized as Regional Employer of the Year in 2009.

Hatch employeesThis company is content with maintaining the status quo. A recent survey revealed a 16% reduction in single occupancy vehicle travel by Hatch employees. Workshops held this year included Defensive Cycling Skills and a Bike Safety Check and Adjustment Workshop.

In the last year, Hatch has also taken the initiative to develop several independent ideas to promote sustainable commuting:

  • Carpool Incentives - $2.50 per passenger per one-way trip.
  • Cycling Incentives - $2 per day for those who cycle to work.
  • Installation of electric car charging stations.
  • Mentoring new Smart Commute members to help them advance their programs.

Find out more about Smart Commute Mississauga

Smart Commute Northeast Toronto Employer of the Year – Royal Bank of Canada RBC – York Mills

Royal Bank logo

In 2011, RBC approached Smart Commute – Northeast Toronto (SC NET) to help with the relocation of 1,600 employees from several downtown Toronto offices to their new uptown location at York Mills Centre. The goal was to retain as much of the public transit mode share (82.6% prior to the move) as possible while helping those unable to take transit to transition to carpooling. With the help of Smart Commute, they have kept 67% of employees on public transit, while carpooling has increased from 3% to 11%.

Winner of the bike at RBC's Clean Air Commute eventSmart Commute is an integral part of the corporate culture at RBC York Mills Centre (RBC YMC). RBC YMC considers Smart Commute an effective and reliable channel to communicate multiple commuter updates, including GO Transit and TTC (construction and service changes).

A senior executive has provided a tremendous amount of support for the Smart Commute program, especially over the last 12 months. As a board member for Smart Commute Northeast Toronto, he contributes high-level input on programming goals and objectives. RBC YMC also has a number of workplace champions that are highly engaged.

RBC YMC goes above and beyond when it comes to promoting SC events. Recently they worked with SC NET to host an unconventional marketing campaign to promote Carpool Zone. The “Easy as Pie” campaign generated significant attention and attracted more than 150 employees in less than 90 minutes to learn about the program and have a slice of pie.

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

PowerStream logo

Prior to launching a suite of Smart Commute programs, PowerStream already 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 Smart Commute program is integrated into the corporate culture primarily through events and campaigns. PowerStream promotes Smart Commute initiatives through social media accounts and an internal newsletter.

PowerStream electric vehicleThe vanpool program not only supports their internal eco-mandate, but by branding their vans with vanpool “wraps” (including the Smart Commute logo), they are visibly demonstrating the opportunities that smart commuting can offer employers and communities. This initiative currently comprises six vans with a total of 89 users to date.

In 2013, survey results indicated that drive-alone trips had been reduced from 80% to 64% and carpooling trips had increased from 16% to 20%.

The Smart Commute champion also devotes her time and expertise as the Vice Chair of the Smart Commute North Toronto, Vaughan Community Advisory Committee.

PowerStream has successfully participated Bike to Work Day (including satellite offices), Clean Air Commute, Smart Commute Week and Carpool Week.

Find out more about Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan

Smart Commute Toronto-Central Employer of the Year – Brookfield Properties – Queen’s Quay Terminal

Brookfield logo

Since joining Smart Commute Toronto-Central in 2009, Brookfield's Operations and Sustainability department has been actively engaged in the development, implementation, and maintenance of sustainable business practices.

A recent survey of the 1,800 occupants at Queen’s Quay Terminal (QQT) revealed an 11% decrease in the percentage of individuals who commute to work by driving alone. Results also showed an increase in both active commuting (11%) and public transit use (3%). Currently the percentage of building occupants who commute sustainably to work account for an astounding 91% of the total building occupants.

Cycling workshop at Queen's Quay TerminalThrough QQT's on-going promotion of the Smart Commute program, building occupants have had an opportunity to get involved in various events and services, which, in part, has resulted in a significant decline of single occupancy vehicle (SOV) trips. To encourage tenants to commute using sustainable modes, QQT does not offer tenant parking.

QQT's seasonal tenant communication, Quay Notes, provides updates about efforts to promote and introduce corporately driven sustainability programs and initiatives. Past issues have featured topics such as Carpool Zone, Earth Hour and QQT's waste paper recovery initiative.

Both the Cycling Safety workshop and the Eco Driver workshop held this year were well received.

Find out more about Smart Commute Toronto-Central

 

 

Awards Review Panel Members

We extend our gratitude to the panel of volunteers who evaluated all of the nominations:

  • Antoine Belaieff, Director, Innovation, Metrolinx (Panel Chair)
  • Brent Kopperson, Windfall Ecology Centre
  • Sheldon Leiba, President & CEO, Mississauga Board of Trade
  • Nancy Smith Lea, Toronto Centre for Active Transportation
  • Mike Spicer, Director, Burlington Transit
  • Christopher Wong, Director, Transportation and Master Planning, York University Development Corporation

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