Middle Tennessee has routinely ranked among the 20 worst traffic areas in the country in recent years.

The solution is not just one, but will require many different solutions from different parts of the community, all doing a part.

Here are 5 things that businesses can do to reduce the traffic their employees create:

1Encourage Carpooling

Probably the most obvious and well known method, but it is tried and true. Carpooling has been shown to increase productivity and reduce stress and tardiness. Daily gas usage with four people sharing the ride in one car instead of four can break 70 percent. Data compiled by local tech company Hytch, which pairs users together who have a similar commute so they can share the ride, shows that individual gas cost can be reduced by 58 percent per month per commuter given Middle Tennessee conditions. Highlighting this benefit is one way to encourage this. Offering preferred parking or rewards programs for carpoolers are other ways to encourage it.

2Lunch

Ordering in or striking deals with food trucks to bring lunch to your parking lot is another way to reduce traffic. Lunch is the mid-day rush hour, oftentimes compounded by second-shift employees beginning to hit the road as first-shifters head to local restaurants. For preferred status, food trucks may offer special deals or exclusive meals to employees or business parks. Check out the Nashville Food Truck Association for more info.

3Remote Working

Flexible work hours make employees more productive, studies have shown. It also increases overall hours worked and employee satisfaction. Letting people work when they want, where they want has many benefits to the bottom line. Allowing employees simply to choose to work remotely at home, a Stanford study found, increased telecommuters calls made by 13.5 percent against office workers, the same remote workers performed 10 percent more work overall and were half-as-likely to leave the company than employees who worked only at the office. People reported feeling more fulfilled while saving the company money.

4Stagger/Flex Work Hours

For some companies, allowing remote work is not an option. Staggering start times, such as having groups of employees come in between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and leaving between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., does not decrease overall rides but it does spread that traffic out across peak times. The more businesses do it, the more even traffic will be throughout the morning and evening rush hours, easing congestion. Offering Flex hours, where employees can choose when they come to the office, is somewhere in between remote and staggered scheduling. It provides employees with some benefits of remote working and gives employees more sense of freedom-of-time.

5Keep Encouraging Awareness and Implementation

Experiment. Encourage employees to tell you what they can do together to help traffic. Traffic-helping solutions are only as good as their support. Host competitions, create fun incentives like pizza days or casual-days, for teams or departments that have saved the most miles each month. Creating an environment of fun competition will keep programs alive and increase participation. Give employees a stake in the system, and let them run with it.

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