ACCS Making an Impact FY2012

On the average workday in FY 2012, Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) reduced traffic in Arlington by about 44,000 trips by helping people switch from driving alone to taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, walking, or biking. Eliminating these trips also eliminates over 757,400 miles of travel each business day, which means a savings of about 31,500 gallons of fuel daily. This saves almost 7.9 million gallons of fuel annually, thus helping Arlington reach its energy-reduction goals.

With less fuel being consumed, less air pollution is created. On an annual basis ACCS reduces carbon-dioxide emissions by over 87,000 tons, Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions equal to 137,000 pounds,  and Volitile Organic Compounds (VOC) equal to about 79,000 pounds.

Each ACCS program also achieved other milestones as described here.

Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP)

  • ATP was able to break through the 650 employer customer mark and ended the year with 702 employers in the network of which 465 offer a transit benefit to over 150,000 employees – the highest rate in the DC region.
  • Added 22 employers into Level 3 and Level 4 status and added 50 employer prospects to the database.
  • Sold 4 Arlington Capital Bikeshare Corporate Memberships and assisted 6 new companies in applying for Bicycle Friendly Business status through the League of American Bicyclists.
  • Assisted with 42 commercial and residential site plans, a record amount in FY12 and sold 22 Transportation Information Display units to developers.
  • Grew Residential Services by 8 properties bringing the total to 324 residential clients representing 67,719 units or 99% of the market.
  • Grew Hotel Services to 43 hotel clients of 43 major hotels – 100% of the market.
  • Attended a total of 46 commuter and transportation events.
  • Produced 127 customized client marketing collateral materials and 18 unique pieces for mail and electronic communications campaigns.
  • Quarterly Solutions newsletters distributed to 48,000 (3 publications) and e-Solutions electronic newsletter distributed to 1,800 key employer contacts.
  • FY 2012 saw an increase in website visitor traffic by 20%.
  • ATP grew in the area of social media by transitioning client communications.  There are currently 112 Facebook followers, 200 Twitter followers and 38 blogs were posted to various social media websites.

 The Commuter Store®

  • Moved into the new Ballston Commuter Store Kiosk located on the platform next to the Ballston Metro entrance and bus depot; sales and visits to the store have increased by 11% during the first 9 months
  • Extended hours of operations at the Crystal City store in the spring to meet customer demand; hours are now Monday-Friday, 7:00 am-7:00 pm
  • Obtained approval to move the existing Rosslyn Commuter Store to the WMATA entrance platform; anticipated move is spring of 2013
  • Sales of fare media by transit system
MARC$1,122,611
VRE$4,359,463
WMATA$1,992,671
Total$7,662,957

 

  • This is an18% drop in business from FY11 which we attribute to the reduction in Transit Subsidy and BRAC, which affected traffic at the Crystal City Commuter Store. The transit benefit decreased from $230 to $125 the last half of FY12.
  • Customer counts for all stores was 178,000. This is a decrease of 13% due to BRAC issue and higher vacancy rates near Rosslyn and Crystal City stores.

Commuter Information Center (CIC) / CommuterDirect.com

  • Handled 127,238 inbound calls (transit information inquiries)
  • Completed 340,970 transactions (340,017 individual + 953 corporate)
  • Sales  (includes Red Top, Starbucks, DASH and shipping fees)
MARC$20,499,487
VRE$15,693,572
WMATA$3,230,116
Total$39,747,409

 

  • Electronic SmartBenefits sales totaled $24,971,439 – this is the amount of funds that CIC received from employers for transit subsidies. The elimination of paper SmartBenefit vouchers in November 2011 forced customers to Electronic SmartBenefits in 2012 and the use of CommuterDirect.com, taking away customers from the Commuter Store.

Distribution, Logistics and Bus Stop Information

  • Distributed over 473,000 brochures and timetables to individuals, companies and information display locations
  • Installed approximately 95 new map and schedule holders at ART bus stops
  • Updated map and scheduled information at approximately 800 ART bus stops
  • Repaired or replaced over 65 ART bus stop signs due to vandalism, storms or accidents
  • Made over 1000 deliveries to internal clients including Commuter Stores, government locations and ACCS staff

Marketing

  • Developed the Car-Free Diet Resource Guide brochure with transit map and matrix inserted in The Citizen newsletter
  • Wrote, filmed and edited six episodes of “The Car-Free Diet Show” for viewing on YouTube Car-Free Diet Channel and Arlington TV
  • Partnered with BikeArlington and WalkArlington to launch the PAL (Predictable, Alert, Lawful) multimodal safety campaign.
  • Developed a PAL safety insert for The Citizen newsletter.
  • Wrote articles about ACCS programs and research results for two issues of The Citizen newsletter; provided inserts to The Citizen for three issues
  • Updated 2-sheet ad posters in the Metro stations
  • Redesigned the Car-Free Diet website on the MURA platform
  • Added 73 new Car-Free Diet Retail Partners for a total of 343 Partners
  • Attended 111 events promoting Arlington’s Car-Free Diet and ACCS’ programs
  • Collected 6,719 Car-Free Diet pledge cards
  • Distributed 18,542 brochures at events and 99,707 via retail partners for a total of 118,249 brochures distributed
  • Filmed 46 episodes of Car-Free Diet “Street Talk” interview videos
  • Filmed 6 episodes of Car-Free Diet “Shop Talk” videos with our retail partners
  • Sponsored and exhibited at the Taste of Arlington, Clarendon Day, Columbia Pike Blues Festival, Arlington County Fair, Rosslyn
  • Jazz Festival, and Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade
  • Produced handouts and flyers for the Capital Bikeshare TDP public meetings
  • Mailed approximately 40,000 Capital Bikeshare cards to Arlington residents living along the new station locations
  • Participated in George Mason University’s Earth Day event
  • Held a retail partner appreciation event on World Car-Free Day
  • Updated signage at the Crystal City Commuter Store
  • Began initial planning for the “What’s your one?” campaign – the next phase of the Car-Free Diet
  • Updated, monitored and analyzed our social media sites on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; Facebook likes = 1,155; Twitter followers = 3,772; YouTube views = 16,739
  • Redesigned and updated ART schedule brochures, maps, website and RCH inserts for the following ART routes:

 

 ART 41ART 45ART 51
ART 52ART 61ART 62
ART 75ART 77ART 87

 

  • Put snowflake decals on ART bus stops that will be in service in severe weather
  • Filmed a “How to Ride the Bus” video with DRPT
  • Participated in the “See Something, Say Something” campaign
  • Implemented an Adopt-a-Bus Stop program along the 51, 52, 53 and 61 routes with plans to expand to additional routes in the next fiscal year
  • Partnered with the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) to hold a canned food drive on the buses over the winter holidays
  • Attended various events throughout the year to promote and educate people about ART including Back to School nights at Arlington middle and high schools, the Teen Expo, Arlington’s Truck Zoo event, Bike to Work Day and informational sessions at Arlington’s Department of Human Services
  • Updated and reprinted the Transportation Services for Senior Adults brochure
  • Update and reprinted the Super Senior Taxi brochure
  • Updated bus stop signage along Columbia Pike’s “Pike Ride” route
  • Reprinted the STAR fare coupons
  • Wrote, designed and printed three issues of the ART Forum newsletter
  • Developed display banners for the streetcar initiative

 Marketing Awards

  • Go Green Advertising Award for Car-Free Diet Skeptics Campaign Season II
  • American Public Transportation Association AdWheel Award for Car-Free Diet Testimonial Campaign
  • Transportation Marketing and Sales Association Compass Award of Excellence for the Car-Free Diet Skeptics Campaign Season II
  • Telly Award for the Car-Free Diet Skeptics Campaign Season II
  • Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association “Shout Out” Award for the Car-Free Diet Show
  • Association for Commuter Transportation Marketing and Outreach-TMA Award for the Car-Free Diet Skeptics Campaign Season II

 WalkArlington

  •  Promoted Arlington County’s national Gold-Level “Walk Friendly Community” designation via development of Walk Friendly Community Walkabout nomination campaign and execution of inaugural Walk Friendly Community Walkabout (Arlington Ridge-Aurora Highlands in June 2012)
  • Developed, mapped, and promoted two new neighborhood Walkabout routes – Columbia Pike Town Center West/Pike Hike II Walkabout and Arlington Ridge-Aurora Highlands Walk Friendly Community Walkabout.
  • Held four “live” Walkabout events in Columbia Pike (in partnership with the Arlington County Fair); Ballston (in partnership with the Children and Nature Network); HighView Park (in partnership with the Feel the Heritage Festival/Department of Parks and Recreation); and Arlington Ridge/Aurora Highlands (inaugural Walk Friendly Community Walkabout in partnership with Civic Association/residents), attracting a total of 200 walkers
  • Planned and coordinated Walk and Bike to School Day event in partnership with Arlington Public Schools, supporting more than 600 participants at 2011 focus school and participation of students/schools County-wide; invited to participate in national Walk and Bike to School Day focus group
  • Developed WalkArlington insert for Arlington County’s Citizen newsletter, distributed to 110,000 households in May
  • Partnered with the Research Team to publicize results of Walk and Bike survey, conducted in summer 2011.
    • Partnered with the Car-Free Diet and BikeArlington to launch the PAL (Predictable/Alert/Lawful) multi-modal safety campaign
    • Promoted WalkArlington Works, a print and online compendium of resources to promote “walking workplaces” and walking-related workplace events (Walk to Work Day, Walk at Lunch Day) and activities
    • Attended Association for Commuter Transportation Conference/Chicago; Local Government Commission’s New Partners for Smart Growth Conference/San Diego Three-Day Smart Growth Walking Tour; Virginia Government Communicators Conferences; and multiple webinars, forums, and education and training sessions
    • Submitted proposals to present at trade conferences, including RailVolution, New Partners for Smart Growth, and Association for Commuter Transportation
    • Presented at 15 local meetings, seminars, conferences, and assemblies
    • Expanded, updated, and continually enhanced WalkArlington website
    • Distributed 29,321 Walkabouts brochures (previous version and new version) on request and at events
    • Redesigned The Pacer, WalkArlington’s monthly e-newsletter using Constant Contact; published and distributed 10 issues to 1400 subscribers.
    • Expanded presence on Facebook; developed and launched two “home-grown” Facebook promotions; posted 40 blogs; and contributed to partners’ print and online publications
    • Conducted media outreach and earned 50+ local and national, traditional and online media hits
    • Supported planning, kick-off, and local execution of Street Smart regional pedestrian public safety media campaign
    • Coordinated and participated in 34 community and partner events (walking tours, workplace walks, health fairs, environmental expos, school programs, etc.), reaching 53,020 commuters and people who live, work, and/or play in Arlington.

 BikeArlington

  • Organized or participated in 100 events with a total attendance of over 18,000; compared to 39 events with 10,000 attendance in FY11
  • Coordinated and planned Bike to Work Day pit stops in Rosslyn and Ballston with a record attendance at Rosslyn of 968 registered riders, the most in the region.
  • Updated the bike map and distributed over 150,000 copies throughout the year; compared to 50,000 maps distributed in FY11.
  • Partnered with WalkArlington and Car-Free Diet to launch the PAL campaign for street safety, awareness and courtesy.  A double page spread of a PAL street scene infographic was distributed in the Citizen newspaper to 110,000 Arlington households.
  • Increased website unique visitors to 62,218 compared to 38,941 last year and 152,290 page views compared to 116,578 the previous year.
  • Increased registered members on the WashingtonAreaBikeForum.com to 965, an increase of 365 members from last year; 66,053 unique visitors compared to 18,544 in FY11; 884,032 page views up from 248,984 and 18,745 posts vs. 4,439 in FY11.
  • Continued social media presence with 1,720 followers on Twitter and 619 likes on the new Facebook page.
  • Boosted participation in the nationwide Bicycle Friendly Business Program with nine new Arlington businesses receiving awards in FY12, bringing the total to 19.

Capital Bikeshare

  • Coordinated with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) for the management and marketing of Capital Bikeshare.
  • Expanded in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor from 4 stations to 28 stations in FY12; total stations in Arlington went from 18 stations at the end of FY11 to 42 stations at the end of FY12.
  • Participated in the drafting of the Transit Development Plan (TDP) for Capital Bikeshare expansion and operation in Arlington.  This six-year plan is the first of its kind for bikesharing in the U.S. and provides direction for bringing Capital Bikeshare to more areas of Arlington including Columbia Pike and Shirlington.
  • Completed a member survey which provided detailed insight into the demographics, trip characteristics and behaviors of bikeshare users.
    • 5,464 members participated in the survey
    • Findings – members saved an average of $891 each on annual travel costs and collectively reduced their driving by 5 million miles annually
    • 88,613 trips were taken from Capital Bikeshare stations in Arlington with the peak month in June totaling 15,078 trips

ACCS Websites

  • Combined visits to ACCS and ART websites increased 5% over FY2011, totaling more than 2 million visits
  • Visits to the BikeArlington site increased 41%; visits to the Washington Area Bike Forum, of which BikeArlington is a principal partner, increased 225%
  • Visits to the ATP, ART, and Car-Free Diet sites all increased at least 28%
  • Breakdown of site visits:
ATP9,569
BikeArlington78,918
Washington Area Bike Forum141,403
Car-Free Diet40,214
CommuterDirect294,349
CommuterPage1,079,226
WalkArlington19,094
ART318,597
CommuterPage Blog28,846
Misc.13,438
Total2,023,654
  • Launched rebuilt Car-Free Diet site
  • Created new CommuterPage site, incorporating a new version of CommuterPage Blog, for launch in early FY13
  • Launched Bicycle-Pedestrian Counter Dashboard, where the public can interact with counter data
  • Launched location-specific transit options pages for Car-Free Diet Retail Partners
  • Updated look and capabilities of digital transit information signs
  • Developed global style sheets to control all ACCS sites and the ART site, for deployment in early FY13
  • Began process of evaluating, redesigning, and rebuilding CommuterDirect
  • Updated ATP site design to complement print materials
  • Introduced mobile compatibility to Washington Area Bike Forum via Tapatalk mobile app

 TDM for Site Plan Development

  • 111 active site plans (reached construction/implementation phase and require monitoring)
  • Visited 73 sites
    • 118 total visits including follow-up visits to the same site
    • 60% of sites visited found to have a new property manager which typically requires in-depth training and follow-up visits
    • 85% of sites visited found out of compliance with one or more of the elements of the Board-approved TDM
    • Counted 3,710 bike parking spaces in the field (installed to meet TDM condition)
      • 2,912 Class 1(secure) bike parking spaces installed
      • 17 commercial sites visited with Class 1 parking that includes showers and lockers
      • 798 Class 2 or 3 (visitor) biking parking spaces installed
      • 30% of sites visited found to be missing bike rack(s) or related equipment
      • Visited 63 sites with TDM Plan requirement
        • 40% found to be missing TDM Plan
        • Approved 13 TDM Plans this year
          • 58 TDM Plans approved to-date
          • Received $279,234 in TDM-related contributions for ACCS operating revenue
          • Received $107,500 in other TDM-related revenue contributions for bus infrastructure, etc.
          • 100% revenue received as a portion of revenue expected
          • 68 sites with a transportation study requirement
            • 7 transportation studies completed this year
            • 11 transportation studies underway

Qualitative Assessment of Implementation Status of Site Plans

Of the 73 sites visited this year:

  • Good (largely in compliance) : 22%
  • Fair (not in compliance, but working at it): 59%
  • Poor (not really working at it): 26%
  • Not Yet Rated (pre-occupancy): 2%

Research

  • Submitted monthly reports of ACCS activity to DRPT
  • Completed 8 site plan building studies which included tube counts of traffic and mode survey of tenants (residents or employees/employers)
  • Gave presentations on Arlington’s TDM program to ACT Canada and to Railvolution
  • Communicated research impact through blogs and regular Solutions articles
  • Fielded and reported CommuterDirect and Commuter Store surveys
  • Conducted and reported four Business Leader focus groups
  • Completed survey and report on ATP’s “Redefine Your Commute” campaign
  • Advanced methodology and secondary research on Return on Investment of TDM study
  • Completed an ACCS-sponsored Mobility Collaborative white paper on the impact of rising gas prices on TDM and mode share
  • Continued development of integration of ACCS Research program with Mobility Lab
  • Redesigned and expanded Research web page and migrated it to Mobility Lab
  • Assisted Arlington County team in refining site plan conditions for reduced parking and increased TDM
  • Represented TDM agencies statewide on a DRPT funding allocation study requested by the General Assembly SJ 297
  • Participated as stakeholders in VDOT I-66 Multi-Modal Study and DRPT Super NoVa and Statewide Transit and TDM studies
  • Represented Association for Commuter Transportation on national Public Policy Council and US FTA/FHWA Stakeholders group

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