SANTA MONICA—The Annual Commute Behavior Survey of the city of Santa Monica staff has shown a decrease in city staff driving to work alone, according to a press release from the city of Santa Monica. The survey that was conducted in June shows an increase in staff commuting using the Expo Line and an increase in Average Vehicle Ridership from 1.50 to 1.57 over the last year.

“We have a long way to go, though the modest improvement in our AVR is encouraging,” said City Manager Rick Cole. “The GoSaMo mobility campaign not only speaks to the community, but internally as we recognize our responsibility to be a model. We need to reach our target, and we are committed to working with our staff to ensure that happens.”

The study reflects that the city staff is making the switch from driving alone to riding the Expo Line Phase II now that it is open. The survey was conducted during the week of June 20, one month after the opening of the Santa Monica stations, and shows the five percent jump in AVR along with a decrease in other modes of transportation with an increase in rail ridership.

Before the Expo Line opened, participating Santa Monica city departments encouraged employees to try the new Expo Line by offering limited edition TAP cards. The city of Santa Monica also launched the TAP@Work program that allows city staff to check out a TAP card when they are using the transit to get to meetings, site visits, and other work-related activities.

Santa Monica is focused on developing new measures to reduce drive-alone trips by city employees, according to the press release, including:

As a unionized workforce, the majority of the City’s collective bargaining contracts will open up for negotiations in the coming year and the City has already started conversations with the bargaining units about strategies that could effectively change employee travel behavior, including incentives and alternatives to free parking.

Based on feedback from these efforts the City will identify the necessary funding strategies to administer and implement an employee transportation demand management program that will move the City towards the recently increased AVR target of 2.2 by 2017.

Public Information Coordinator, Constance Farrell, told Canyon News in an email that, “staff filled out a survey about how they get to work, most all departments provided TAP cards, and there are incentives offered for those who bus, walk or bike to work in addition to Expo!”