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CommuteCon 2018

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Denver’s Way to Go-Tober

Steve Erikson
Communications and Marketing Director
Denver Regional Council of Governments

Session Description

Denver’s Way to Go-Tober is a great success story. This popular commuter challenge program is co-hosted by the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), and communications and marketing manager Steve Erikson gave a presentation on the Denver campaign.

Way to Go-Tober is an annual campaign put on by a partnership between DRCOG and a dedicated group of local transportation management associations (TMAs). Its goal is to fight congestion and pollution while improving quality of life for Denver residents by encouraging participants to adopt smart solutions that save them money, reduce stress and cut their commute times down.

Each October, the Way to Go-Tober challenge works to increase awareness and usage of alternatives to solo driving, including carpooling, vanpooling, public transit, walking, biking, teleworking, and using alternate work schedules to avoid travel during peak periods.

Recruitment efforts are vital to Way to Go-Tober’s success, and Erikson talked about the various ways in which the program reaches out to employers and partners throughout the region. Emails, phone calls, and in-person visits help secure commitments from employers.

Trips are tracked online, using websites and smartphone apps. Individual participants must log eight smart commutes using approved modes of transportation to qualify for prizes, and employer-based standings are tracked on a leaderboard. The fun and invigorating competition is for more than just bragging rights — the employer that accumulates the greatest number of points over the course of the month-long challenge wins a media package worth $7,000.

Way to Go-Tober has consistently posted excellent results. In October 2017, there were 1,719 participants who combined to log 36,924 smart commutes for a total of 440,137 miles. This saved participants a total of $116,007 in commuting costs and prevented the release of 125.12 tons of carbon monoxide emissions. Active commuters also burned 2,732,019 calories.

Follow-up surveys also indicate that many of the people who take part in Way to Go-Tober continue to make regular use of smart commuting alternatives, even after the program ends for the year. Way to Go-Tober offers an excellent blueprint of success to cities that want to make meaningful reductions in the number of cars on local roads.