The Mayor's Institute for Excellence in Government wants to find solutions that get commuters on bikes, buses or sharing rides to get to work. A $356,560 grant from Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funding through the Tennessee Department of Transportation will go towards Memphis' Commute Options Travel Demand Management Initiative.
The funds will go further to pilot strategies for Memphis' large employers, including providing free bus passes for employees, having real-time bus schedules projected in office lobbies and offering tax incentives for businesses that provide these kind of services.
"One thing that's happened in the past is routes have been provided that go right by employers," said Suzanne Carlson with the Innovation Team
. "We will be serving as a liaison
and talking with those employers and their employees and getting them to adopt more transit or try to take the routes that are already coming there."
The Commute Options initiative is also working with Explore Bike Share
to get rental bikes on the ground sometime next year. Bikes can be rented on an hourly or monthly membership basis, and can help fill in "last-mile" gaps, Carlson said.
"We're hopeful that if we locate bike share, people might be able to use bikes to get from their workplace to the bus stop."
The Commute Options initiative team will engage in a survey of Memphis' large employers and identify what the barriers are to using non-personal vehicle transportation. The solutions will be made broadly available by the end of the grant period which runs from this October to April 2016.