This morning, the USA Today published an article about commutes to work in downtown Minneapolis. Inspired largely by the wait-time involved in car dense commuting corridors, the article focused on increasing incentives offered by employers whose commuters choose to bike, walk or bus to work. The accompanying video has a couple nice interviews with commuters, including a bike-powered attorney riding into the office:
Because congestion alone often isn't enough for many commuters to consider an alternative to the car, many companies are developing innovative incentives to get people thinking about using the bike or walking.
Merete Wells, 25, a senior associate with the Minneapolis public relations firm Carmichael Lynch, takes advantage of an unusually creative option offered by her company: a 'shoe incentive.' 'They will give you $50 toward the purchase of a new pair of shoes a couple of times a year if you walk to work,' Wells says. 'It's a nice little incentive.' She used to drive to work from St. Paul. However, when her old Volvo started to wear down, she decided to move closer to work instead of buying a new car. Now, instead of a 30- to 45-minute commute in summer, which stretched to 60 to 90 minutes in winter, she walks 10 minutes to work.
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a faith-based financial services organization, is providing commuter rebates for employees that don't use the car:
Almost all of its 1,200 Minneapolis employees participate in the incentive program, which offers $50- to $100-a-month credits in pre-tax dollars, which the employees can use to pay for parking, a transit pass, and carpool, motorcycle, biking or walking costs such as shoes.
Good work, Minne. Here in Memphis, we're aspiring to follow in your footsteps....quite literally.