CommuteCon 2019

Transport What You Treasure

Tamar Fuhrer
Associate Director, Transportation and Commuter Services
Kite Pharma

Session Description

Tamar Fuhrer, the associate director of transportation and commuter services at Kite Pharma, joined us for a talk titled “Transport What You Treasure.” Her talk recounts her recent experience building a new commuter program from the ground up.

During the early planning phases, Tamar recalls colleagues and coworkers approaching her to talk about their anecdotal experiences with local transit infrastructure. Kite Pharma is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, which continues to face limitations with regard to long-distance commuting using public transit.

Thanks to these conversations, Tamar quickly came to understand the importance of shifting program design focus away from simply checking boxes in order to meet government requirements. Instead, she elected to build the program to meet the practical needs of participating employees. She also noted that taking a people-focused instead of a policy-focused approach supports employee recruitment and retention efforts, which directly impact bottom-line aspects of business operations.

Tamar optimized Kite Pharma’s commuter program to support multiple modes of transportation, which commuters could use based on their individual needs. For example, modes like carpooling, public transit, active transportation, and parking cash-out programs were primarily targeted toward employees with shorter commute times of 15 minutes or less. Vanpools were added to serve employees with commute times of 15 to 60 minutes, while a comprehensive range of options including shuttle service and vanpooling were promoted to commuters who travel 60 minutes or more to get to or from work.

To implement the program, Tamar worked with company leadership as well as local transportation agencies and all levels of ownership. Her strategy stands as an excellent example of how an intelligent, commuter-focused approach to program design can simultaneously satisfy compliance requirements as well as the everyday needs of real commuters. Tamar’s talk is highly recommended to anyone seeking actionable insights into strategies for designing commuter programs that meet the disparate needs of a varied commuter base.

Be sure to view Tamar’s full presentation for a deeper discussion of these key commuter program-related issues.