By making it easier for people to switch from driving alone to taking transit, walking, biking, carpooling and vanpooling, Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) reduced traffic in Arlington by about 41,100 vehicle trips on the average workday in FY13, saving 30,200 gallons of gasoline and reducing CO2 emissions by 682,267 lbs.
Here, we present highlights of accomplishments from each ACCS program during fiscal year 2013 (July 2012 through June 2013). ACCS also produced a FY13 summary that not only includes program-performance information like that presented below, but also includes information on the state of Arlington’s Transportation system.
Download the ACCS Performance Report FY2013 (PDF, 4MB).
Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP) – Employer-Residential Encouragement Programs
ATP spent much of the year updating their customer information and ended the year with 698 employer clients. Of those employers, 437 (63%) in the network offer a transit benefit to over 116,000 employees – the highest rate in the DC region. Other achievements:
- Added 93 new clients receiving ATP services to our customer base and doubled the number of prospects added to the database from 50 employers last year to 116 this year.
- Sold eight Arlington Capital Bikeshare Corporate Memberships and assisted four new companies in applying for Bicycle Friendly Business status through the League of American Bicyclists.
- Assisted with 33 commercial and residential site plans and sold 12 Transportation Information Display units to developers and ATP clients.
- Grew Residential Services by 2 properties bringing the total to 325 residential clients representing 68,261 units or 99% of the market.
- 43 hotel clients of 43 major hotels – 100% of the market.
- Attended a total of 58 commuter and transportation events.
- Produced 181 customized client marketing collateral materials and 38 unique pieces for mail and electronic communications campaigns.
- Increased the number of clients receiving the Solutions newsletters electronically instead of paper version and distributed to 31,779 (3 publications) and e-Solutions electronic newsletter distributed to 1,400 key contacts.
- Increased website visits or traffic by 44% and increase in unique visitors by 54% as well as a Pageview increase of 25%.
- Continued to grow in the area of social media by transitioning client communications to an electronic format. There are currently 141 Facebook followers, 355 Twitter followers and 63 blogs were posted on ATP’s website.
The Commuter Store®
- Signed two new contracts to continue to sell VRE and MARC tickets for additional five years. In addition, the MARC contract added the capability to sell MTA Commuter Bus tickets. These ticket sales started on April 1, 2013 and the sales have steadily climbed each month.
- Extended hours of operations at the Rosslyn store in the Fall to meet customer demand; hours are now Monday-Friday, 7:00 am-7:00 pm. Now, all three of our stores are open 7:00 am -7:00 pm, Monday-Friday to help cover customer needs.
- Moved process along to relocate the existing Rosslyn Commuter Store to the WMATA entrance platform; anticipated move is Winter of 2013.
- Mobile Commuter Store sales hit an all-time high for the year of $1,168,675. This was driven by higher MARC and MTA Commuter Bus ticket sales.
Sales Figures by Transit Provider
This is a 13% drop in business from FY12 due to the reduction in Transit Subsidy and BRAC affecting the Crystal City Commuter Store. Customer counts for all stores was 167,000. This is a decrease of 6% due to BRAC issue and higher vacancy rates near Rosslyn and Crystal City stores.
Commuter Information Center – CIC (CommuterDirect.com)
Handled 213,244 inbound calls (transit information inquiries), increase driven by new MTA Commuter Bus customer base.
Completed 384,864 transactions (384,041 individual + 823 corporate)
Sales Figures by Transit Provider
|MARC||$25,825,025||Includes MTA Commuter Bus sales beginning April 1, 2013.|
|Total||$44,358,186||Includes Red Top, Starbucks, DASH and shipping fees.|
- Added three new staff members to keep pace with ticket sales and call volume. Overall productivity per staff member remained constant.
- Electronic SmartBenefits sales totaled $21,464,838 – this is the amount of funds that CIC received from employers for transit subsidies. (Elimination of paper SmartBenefit vouchers in November 2011 forced customers to Electronic SmartBenefits in 2012 and use CommuterDirect.com, taking away customers from the Commuter Store)
- The transit benefit increased from $125 to $245 during the early part of 2013. This change increased sales of each vendor for the final 4-5 months of this fiscal year.
Distribution, Logistics and Bus Stop Information
- Distributed over 458,000 brochures and timetables to individuals, companies and information display locations.
- Installed approximately 105 new map and schedule holders at ART bus stops.
- Updated map and scheduled information at approximately 800 ART bus stops.
- Repaired or replaced over 85 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.
- Awarded a grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) for TDM Marketing to the Hispanic Community. Recruited and hired a Spanish Language Marketing Specialist to serve as the liaison promoting County programs and services to the Spanish speaking population. (See “Hispanic Outreach”)
- Continued the Car-Free Diet campaign with the “What’s Your One?” program.
- Produced five “What’s Your One?” videos that appeared on our YouTube channel, Arlington TV, and prior to movies at area theaters. The videos have over 13,200 YouTube views.
- Produced a brochure with transit map that was inserted in The Citizen newsletter and delivered to over 112,000 households in Arlington. This brochure was also placed in transit racks throughout the County, at Commuter Stores, and given out at events.
- Launched a new feature on the Car-Free Diet Partners web page that links each Partner to a location map with real-time transit information, as well as Capital Bikeshare and Zipcar locations and availability. This real-time transit feature will be expanded to other sites and available to other County departments to use.
- Placed targeted banner ads on Google and Facebook to direct traffic to our websites. These targeted ads produced 134,689 impressions which resulted in 10,005 views on carfreediet.com.
- Produced six Car-Free Diet e-newsletters that were sent to our 8631 subscribers.
- Partnered with BikeArlington, WalkArlington, and Arlington Transit to create a “Be a PAL” spread for The Citizen with vignettes of safe behavior for walking, cycling, and driving.
- Updated the PAL website.
- Provided postings to Car-Free Diet Facebook and Twitter pages; Facebook has over 1200 “likes”; Twitter has 4430 “followers.”
- Provided the County Board Chair with talking points/speeches for public events and interviews about the PAL safety campaign.
- Produced inserts or spreads for five issues of The Citizen.
Street Team Outreach
- Attended 99 events
- Gathered 8,645 Car-Free Diet pledges (avg. of 92 per event).
- Distributed 98,573 brochures at events and through retail displays at 341 Car-Free Diet Partners.
- Produced 34 videos
- 5 editions of ‘Street Talk”
- 8 editions of “What’s Your One?”
- 12 editions of “Shoptalk”
- 9 videos covering events
- Produced and emailed 12 Connector Newsletters to 335 business subscribers.
- Worked with Southeastern Institute of Research (SIR) to write and conduct a survey aimed at the Hispanic community to find out their views on transportation issues; received 277 responses in both online and in-person field surveying.
- Reached out to Hispanic organizations in the County, including: tenants associations, community, educational, religious, sports and health groups.
- Began the transcreation of relevant ACCS web content in Spanish.
- Attended and exhibited at Hispanic events promoting ACCS’ programs.
Arlington Transit (ART) Marketing
- Updated ART schedule brochures, maps, website and bus stop info for the following routes: ART 42, ART 45, ART 53, ART 74, ART 75, ART 84, ART 87.
- Expanded the Adopt-a-Stop program to include all thirteen ART bus routes. Twenty-two bus stops have been adopted.
- Created a 2-page spread (including an ART only route map) promoting Arlington Transit in the May/June issue of The Citizen newspaper.
- Held the “ARTists for PAL Bus Design Contest” for Arlington middle and high school students.
- Worked with Arlington County Schools, Community Centers and Libraries to promote the contest.
- Received 26 designs that were narrowed down to 3 finalists.
- Online voting was held to select the winning design which will be used to wrap one ART bus that will travel around the County.
- 1,745 votes were received with the winning design getting 57% of the votes.
- The contest garnered publicity from ARLNow, Patch.com and the Sun Gazette.
- The contest helped promote ART and the iRide program to schools, promoted Board Chair Walter Tejada’s “Share Our Streets – Be a PAL” safety initiative, and promoted the ART bus system.
- Held “What’s Your ONE ART Route?” contest where riders were encouraged to post pictures of themselves with an ART bus or at an ART bus stop on ART’s Facebook page. Received over 1,000 Facebook views for one of the pictures submitted.
- Updated and monitored ART’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Facebook likes: 206; Twitter followers: 618
- Wrote, designed and printed 3 issues of the ART Forum newsletter.
- Redesigned the STAR Rider Guide so that the information was better organized and easier to read.
- Updated and reprinted the Super Senior Taxi Brochure.
- Updated and reprinted the Smart Benefits Brochure.
- Reprinted STAR fare coupons.
- Conducted survey to get feedback on possible ART 53 route changes. Feedback helped Arlington Transit planning staff decide what route changes to make and led to changes being implemented on July 1, 2013.
- Conducted survey to get feedback from Arlington teens about the iRide program and materials. Feedback helped us decide what updates to make to the iRide brochure that will come out in Fall 2013.
- Conducted survey to get feedback for 23rd Street Bus Stop Improvement Project. Feedback helped Arlington Transit make recommendations for consolidating bus stops along 23rd Street in Crystal City.
- Helped develop questions for a survey about Metrobus service along the blue line.
- Provided signage and maps for the Super Stop.
- Provided feedback on the branding and marketing strategies for WMATA’s new premium bus service, “MetroWay,” that will eventually serve the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway.
- Secured artwork and wrote the Terms & Conditions for the new Student SmarTrip Card that will be available in September 2013. The card will have the iRide discount (75 cents) pre-programmed on it.
- Developed informational boards about the streetcar initiative that were used at a town hall meeting held by the County Board.
- Updated and reprinted the streetcar rack card.
- MarCom Gold Award for web video/branded content.
- Go Green Advertising Awards for special video production.
- American Advertising Awards Silver ADDY for public service – digital advertising.
- Communicator Gold Award of Excellence for online video.
- TMSA Compass Award of Merit for integrated campaign.
- Promoted Arlington County’s national Gold-Level “Walk Friendly Community” designation via promotion of Walk Friendly Community Walkabout nomination campaign and debut of second Walk Friendly Community Walkabout (Bluemont/Bon Air) with public walking tour event.
- Worked with community members to develop, map, and promote new neighborhood Walkabout route for Bluemont/Bon Air, second of four Walk Friendly Community Walkabouts.
- Met with community members and initiated development of third Walk Friendly Community Walkabout to feature Old Glebe neighborhood for debut in Fall 2013.
- Held three “live” Walkabout events: Columbia Pike/Pike Hike Junior Walkabout; High View Park History Walk; and Bluemont/Bon Air Walkabout, attracting a total of 150 walkers.
- Planned and coordinated 14th annual Walk and Bike to School Day event in October 2012, in partnership with Arlington Public Schools; supported more than 600 participants at 2012 focus school and encouraged/supported participation of students/schools County-wide.
- Assisted with planning and coordination of second annual Bike and Walk to School Day.
- Contributed content to Walk Friendly Communities Best Practices Guide, resulting in Arlington being prominently featured in final publication entitled “Giving Cities Legs: Ideas and Inspiration from Walk Friendly Communities.”
- Developed WalkArlington insert for May-June issue of Arlington County’s Citizen newsletter, distributed to 112,550 households and posted online.
- Contributed content to an array of County publications, including Enjoy Arlington!; The Snag; two Green It posters; Citizen newsletter; and Arlington County Fair Program Guide.
- Partnered with the Car-Free Diet and BikeArlington to promote the PAL (Predictable/Alert/Lawful) multi-modal safety campaign and the “What’s Your One?” public awareness campaign.
- Supported Arlington Transportation Partners’ promotion of WalkArlington Works, a print and online compendium of resources to encourage “walking workplaces” and walking-related workplace events and activities.
- Expanded, updated, and continually enhanced WalkArlington website
- Distributed 21,832 Walkabouts brochures on request and at events.
- Published 10 issues of The Pacer, WalkArlington’s monthly e-newsletter distributed to 1400 subscribers per issue and posted online.
- Expanded presence on Facebook; posted 24 blogs; and contributed to partners’ print and online publications.
- Supported planning, kick-off, promotion, and local execution of Street Smart regional pedestrian public safety media campaign.
- Coordinated and participated in 15 community and partner events reaching 62,955 commuters and people who live, work, and/or play in Arlington.
- Organized and/or participated in 85 events with a total attendance of over 19,000 people. 49 of these events were educational seminars or speaking events which had over 1,000 attendees.
- Coordinated and planned Bike to Work Day pit stops in Rosslyn and Ballston (and assisted with Crystal City and a new afternoon stop in East Falls Church). There were more than 2220 registered riders throughout Arlington’s four stops, and for the second year in a row, Rosslyn had highest number of registered rider of any stop regionally, with 965 riders.
- Updated the Arlington Bike Map and distributed over 100,000 copies throughout the year.
- 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 112,000 Arlington households.
- Increased website unique visitors to 77,077 compared to 62,218 last year and 167,929 page views compared to 152,290 the previous year.
- Increased WashingtonAreaBikeForum.com unique visitors to 111,675 compared to 66,053 in FY12. Increased total page views to 1,518,696 compared to 884,032 in FY12. Increased number of individual posts to 31,755 compared to 18,745 in FY12
- Continued social media presence with a total of 2702 followers on Twitter, compared to 1,720 followers in FY12 and 1437 likes on Facebook page, compared to 619 in FY12.
- Boosted participation in the nationwide Bicycle Friendly Business/University Program with four new Arlington businesses receiving awards in FY13, and the closure of one, bringing the total to 23.
- Partnered with goDCgo to develop an infographic debunking myths about biking. On BikeArlington’s Facebook page alone this infographic generated 591 shares, 236 likes and 83,724 impressions (this was cross promoted via goDCgo and Capital Bikeshare and generated even more activity).
- Developed the Arlington Loop infograhic/map, detailing amenities accessible by the Loop. A double page spread of the infographic was distributed in the Citizen newspaper to 112,000 Arlington households.
- Partnered with Arlington Public Schools and WalkArlington to organize the second annual spring Bike and Walk to School Day event, generating participation from about 5,000 students from all 31 schools in Arlington. Also continued partnership WalkArlington on the fall Walk and Bike to School Day which had nearly 700 students participate at the focus school (Oakridge Middle). In addition, we lead three educational seminars at Arlington Schools with 150 students in attendance.
- Promoted and participated in the National Bike Challenge, with the BikeArlington team winning the small business award for the top ridership in the nation.
- Coordinated with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Alexandria, Montgomery County, goDCgo and Alta Bicycle Share for the management and marketing of Capital Bikeshare.
- Expanded into Columbia Pike, Shirlington and Fairlington and also added more stations in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. Total stations in Arlington went from 42 stations at the end of FY12 to 54 stations at the end of FY13. Expansion was directed by an extensive public outreach process and the Transit Development Plan (TDP) for Capital Bikeshare expansion and operation in Arlington.
- Completed two member surveys, one focusing on trip behavior, the other focusing on member health. Over 6800 members participated in the surveys. Some of the key findings include:
- 50 percent say they drive a car less often since joining
- 20 percent say they notice increased aerobic capacity since joining
- 155,332 trips were taken from Capital Bikeshare stations in Arlington in FY13 (up from 88,613 in FY12). The peak month was May with 18,144 trips (peak month in FY12 was June with 15,078 trips).
- Capital Bikeshare annual members who are Arlington residents increased from 1,439 to 2,120 in FY13.
- Launched new, Mura (content management system) version of CommuterPage.com, including aggregated blog posts from ACCS programs and ART.
- CommuterPageBlog was retired.
- Added MTA product section to CommuterDirect.com and continued transition to design similar to Mura sites.
- ART schedules launched for Google Maps transit trip planner.
- Continued to develop transit information based on location, for desktop and mobile phone. “Car-Free Near Me” public-facing tool to create these custom pages, is set for full launch in FY 2014.
- Began reorganization of ATP site.
- Replaced blog commenting tools with more robust system.
- Updated system for tagging posts.
- Continued developing and adding data to Bicycle-Pedestrian Counter Dashboard.
- Began development of ACCS Performance Dashboard.
- Updated Brochure Services administration tools.
- Combined site visits to ACCS and ART websites dropped 13% compared to FY2012. The decrease is due to the restructuring and slimming down of CommuterPage.com, which resulted in a drop in visits generated by search engines. The large (40%) drop in visits to CommuterPage.com was offset by increases to all of the other sites. While number of visits to CommuterPage.com decreased, visit duration, pages per visit, and percentage of return visits all increased, and “bounce rate” decreased. The new CommuterPage.com has a larger percentage of visitors who spend time with the content, and fewer visitors who link from a search engine but leave immediately. Site visit breakdown:
|Web Site||FY13 Visits|
Built strategic relationships to create better understanding of the importance of mobility management for building effective transportation and healthy communities. These partnerships include the Arlington Chamber, WMATA Office of Planning, and active participation to develop the MWCOG/Region Forward “Activity Center Strategic Investment Plan.”
Organized and/or participated in approximately 20 events, including Hack Days, panel discussions, TransportationCamp DC, USDOT Transportation Data Palooza, Jeff Speck’s keynote at ACT Chesapeake, brown bag and happy hour events, two major symposiums at George Mason University (“LEED/Transportation Symposium” and “Transportation Solutions for Aging in Auto-centric America”), and two Capital Bikeshare press conferences. See http://mobilitylab.org/category/events/past/
Worked to strengthen both quality and quantity on MobilityLab.org. The site generated 115,394 pageviews in FY13, up from 46,240 pageviews in FY12 – a 63% increase in traffic. Posted 72 blogs in FY12 and increased that to 203 blog posts in FY13 – a 65% increase. Most popular content is overwhelmingly related to research, bikeshare, and Michael Schade’s transit tech innovations. Also, made many incremental designs and additions to the website – including:
- Substantial reordering of the menu bar
- Reorganizing all articles into topical sections
- Placing more focus on our media coverage, the research of others, and building subscriber and funding-possibility engagement.
Increased from about five contributors to MobilityLab.com to approximately 50, thus building the reach of our messages.
Started Mobility Lab Express on November 1 as a twice-monthly newsletter sent to1,974 targeted transportation professionals around the world. Built subscribers to 2,727 by Issue #18 on July 15, 2013 – a 28 percent increase over eight months. Open rate has been consistently around 30 percent – well above the industry standard for similar newsletters (18%).
Expanded focus on building reporter relationships by purchasing Vocus media-contact software, refining list of key reporters, building lists outside of strictly the transportation beat, and increasing frequency of contact with reporters. Along with two press conferences for Capital Bikeshare, generated 106 press hits between January and June, from major regional press like the Washington Post to national like POLITICO and international outlets. See http://mobilitylab.org/mobility-lab-in-the-news/
Focused mainly on building Twitter and Facebook audiences. Twitter followers grew from 163 to 875 – an 81% increase; Facebook friends grew from 80 to 390 – a 79% increase.
Brochures and Infographics
Upgraded and expanded previous Mobility Lab flyer into an 8-fold brochure. Also strengthened the “45,000 trips reduced” infographic. See http://mobilitylab.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/635-x-278-SOV-Reduction-Infographic.jpg
TDM for Site Plan Development
|Number of sites (includes construction/occupancy phase, inspection/monitoring)||120|
|Sites visited this year||75|
|Total visits, including follow-up visits to the same site||109|
|Portion of sites visited found to have new property managers, typically requires in-depth training and follow-up visits||27%|
|Portion of sites visited found out of compliance with one or more elements of the Board-approved TDM||46%|
|Total bike parking spaces counted in the field to-date (installed to meet permit requirement)||5,031|
|Buildings with Class 1 (secure) bike parking (residential and commercial)||61|
|Class 1 bike parking spaces installed||3,808|
|Commercial buildings with class 1 bike parking that includes showers and lockers||18|
|Class 2/3 (visitor) biking parking spaces installed||1,223|
|Portion of active sites missing bike rack(s) or related equipment||8%|
|Sites visited with TDM Plan requirement||60|
|Portion found to be missing TDM Plan||12%|
|TDM Plans approved this year||8|
|All TDM Plans approved to-date||72|
|ACCS operating revenue from TDM-related contributions||$300,000|
|Revenue received as a portion of revenue expected||93%|
|Sites with transportation study requirement||74|
|Transportation studies completed this year||12|
|Transportation studies underway||6|
|Site Plans Visited This Year||75|
|Good (largely in compliance)||50%|
|Fair (not in compliance, but working at it)||33%|
|Poor (not really working at it)||13%|
|Not Yet Rated (pre-occupancy)||4%|
ACCS Performance Report