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Montgomery County Department of Transportation Commuter Services Participants Win Three Regional ‘Commuter Connections’ Awards

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Three employers active in the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Commuter Services program have won regional awards at the 2021 “Commuter Connections Employer Recognition Awards” for innovative and successful commuter programs. There was a clean sweep of the category with all three of the region’s employer awards going to organizations located in Montgomery County.


The MCDOT Commuter Services office works with employers in the County to encourage commuter programs that are focused on reducing single-occupancy drivers. While businesses are responsible for implementing the program, MCDOT helps in program design, promotion and employee participation.


Commuter Connections recognized local employers for outstanding commuting alternative programs at its 24th annual Employer Recognition Awards ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.


Commuter Connections is a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG). Commuter Connections is a regional network of transportation professionals dedicated to assisting employers set up, improve and expand comprehensive commuter benefits and telework programs.


“Winning these awards speaks to the fact that Montgomery County is a leader in commuter programming in the region,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I am proud of the innovative and successful alternate transportation efforts that MCDOT Director Chris Conklin and his team are heading up. These programs support Montgomery County’s environmental goals of a greener Montgomery and improve our residents’ health, productivity and overall quality of life through easier commutes.”


Award recipients were chosen based on their ability to offer measurable commuter benefits that reduce gasoline consumption and emissions through fewer vehicle trips and miles traveled, and for implementing policies that have improved the commutes of their employees. By incentivizing and marketing these policies and programs, employers help the region reduce traffic congestion and emissions.


Details of the MCDOT programs selected for recognition:

  • Incentives Award: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) received the Employer Recognition Award for commuter incentives. NIAID offers a variety of commuter incentives, including carpool and vanpool parking, electric vehicle charging stations, secure bike parking, a bike trail and showers and lockers. NIAID offers employee health and wellness classes and on-site fitness areas, as well as a cafeteria, coffee shop and two outdoor dining areas that encourage employees to stay on campus for lunch. Of its 4,500 regional employees, 40 percent telework up to eight days a month, supported by NIAID’s flexible scheduling. NIAID is located just a half-mile from a Metrorail station and 37 percent of employees receive a transportation subsidy up to the federal limit. As a result of its various commuter benefits and amenities offered, NIAID has saved an average of 11,700,000 employee vehicle miles and an estimated 534,000 gallons of gasoline annually.
  • Marketing Award: GEICO received the Employer Recognition Award for the marketing of its commuter benefits program. GEICO matches employee contributions to the Metrorail SmartBenefits up to $110 per month and encourages bike commuting through its installation of bike racks, lockers and showers. GEICO promotes its commuter benefits program to employees through new hire orientations, bi-annual benefits fairs, its intranet, emails and brochures within the cafeteria and break rooms. GEICO also partners with Montgomery County Commuter Services to promote participation in annual events such as the Walk and Ride Challenge and Bike to Work Day. Through marketing its commuter programs to its employees, GEICO has helped reduce employee vehicle miles by 1,384,000 and saved an estimated 62,910 gallons of gasoline annually.
  • Telework Award: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) received the Employer Recognition Award for its telework program. Since 2004, ASHA has grown its telework program from one of every six employees to one of every two employees teleworking up to 66 percent of their total workdays. Entirely remote throughout the pandemic, ASHA provided equipment such as laptops, home monitors, and desk chairs and provided each employee with $500 to purchase home-office supplies. ASHA’s “Wellbeing Navigator” provided ergonomic sessions so employees remain comfortable within a home/office setting. The organization has also maintained a flextime program that allows staff to manage their individual work schedule arrangements. ASHA’s telework and work schedule alternatives programs have helped reduce employee vehicle miles by 700,650 and saved an estimated 31,848 gallons of gasoline annually.


“With many employees returning to work, commuter incentive programs are an important focus as new mobility habits are being established,” said MCDOT Director Conklin. “We hope that through the example of these programs, other organizations will embrace similar initiatives, creating more opportunities and finding better ways to commute.”


MCDOT Commuter Services promotes Better Ways to Work with a variety of incentives and tools to help make County roads less crowded while providing reliable transportation alternatives. One of those incentives is the County’s FareShare program that encourages employers to begin a commuter benefits program or enhance the impact of their existing program, by increasing the amount of transit subsidy offered to employees to attract more participants. MCDOT Commuter Services will reimburse employers for any amount more than $25 up to the Federal level of $270. For more information or to explore incentives for  businesses’ employees, visit, https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dot-dir/commuter/index.html.


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Release ID: 21-533
Media Contact: Emily DeTitta, 240-372-2282
Categories: Transportation