Climate Action and Resiliency

Make Sonoma County carbon neutral by 2030.

Goal 4, Objective 2

Invest in the County’s employee Clean Commute program to promote the use of alternate modes of transportation, including bike and carpool incentives, and last mile solutions connecting bus and train stations to County worksites.
On Track 33%

Updated: January 2023

Summary of Objective Implementation Status

The goal of CAR 4.2 is to promote the use of alternative forms of transportation for County employees, increase participation in the Clean Commute Program, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The objective set out to do this in three ways, 1) launch a monthly Clean Commute Incentive Program, 2) improve bus connections to County worksites, and 3) improve last mile connections between SMART stations and County worksites.  Last year, we were awarded $150,000 from the Board’s first round of Strategic Plan funding to launch a Clean Commute Monthly Incentive Program.  During the pilot period, permanent employees will be eligible for up to $40 per month if they ride the train, bus, carpool, bike or walk to work a certain number of days in a given period.

Prior to launching the pilot Monthly Incentive Program, we needed to launch a new Online Trip Tracker. The Online Trip Tracker allows employees to log their telework and alternative commute days.  These logs will be used by the County to confirm eligibility for the pilot Monthly Incentive Program.  The Trip Tracker was launched in April 2022 and we are anticipating to  launch the Monthly Incentive Program in January 2023.  We will continue to use Clean Commute program participation and greenhouse gas emission reductions as the key metrics.

Key Milestone Update

  1. Pilot Clean Commute Monthly Incentive Program [Prior: Spring 2022 / Current: January 2023] 
    •  My Commuter Check Purchases
      • The County will match all purchases made through the County’s pre-tax commuter benefit platform, called My Commuter Check, up to $40 per month. This includes purchases of SMART passes, eCash, and other Clipper products.  This is considered a pre-tax subsidy, as long as the total My Commuter Check purchase is below $230 per month. 
    • Bus, Carpool, Bike and Walking
      • The County will provide a taxable, lump sum payment of $240 if an employee has taken the bus, carpooled, biked, or walked to work at least 48 days within a 6-month reporting period.
  2. Improve  last mile connections between SMART stations and other transit centers and County worksites [Prior: Spring 2022 / Current: Spring 2023]
    • Create a  last-mile connection for County employees between the SMART Santa Rosa North Station on Guerneville Road to the County Campus using County electric fleet vehicles.  The goal of the Pilot Program would be to determine best practices and create user guidelines, and then eventually expand the program to the Airport area.
    • Consider  bike share and other non-single driver opportunities to connect rail stations to County worksites.
  3. Improve bus service to County worksites [Prior: Late 2022 – Early 2023 / Current: TBD]
    • The  intention of this milestone was to coordinate with Sonoma County Transit and Santa Rosa City Bus to identify opportunities for increased bus service to County worksites.  More discussions are needed to determine timeline and would likely result in a funding request.

Coordination and Partnership Update

This is an internal program for County employees, so there will not be any coordination with the community or cities.  However, the launch of all employee-related programs requires significant coordination between various County departments, including the County Administrator’s Office, Human Resources, ACTTC, ISD, and Public Infrastructure.

Community, Equity, and Climate Update

As mentioned above, this is an internal program for County employees.   In terms of equity, by including various modes of transportation into the subsidy program, we are making the program as accessible as possible.  There will always be geographic equity issues with public transportation systems, but that is not within the scope of this objective.  The implementation of this objective will reduce employee commute greenhouse gas emissions.

Funding Narrative

We received $150,000 from the Board’s first round of Strategic Plan funding awards.  This funding will be used support the pilot Monthly Incentive Program.  It is expected that the funding will last 12-18 months, depending on program participation levels.  Should the program be deemed successful, another request will be summitted to the Board for ongoing funding.

We have submitted a request for an additional $35,000 from the second round of Strategic Plan funding for administrative support to help carry out the significant amount of work associated with the launch and management of the Online Trip Tracker and new Monthly Incentive Program.