Napa Valley is a bustling tourist destination renowned for its rolling hills of vineyards, wineries and luxury resorts. This region, which has rates of single-occupancy vehicle commutes, faces unique challenges including limited transit service running along a single corridor, composed of largely mid to small employers distributed throughout the valley, the seasonal influx of agricultural workers during harvest season, and workers with varying shift schedules, language constraints and access to computers and smartphones.
Steer was commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area to develop and implement a regional TDM program for employees working in Napa Valley by integrating technology, emerging mobility services, and data to address their unique challenges and needs.
Branded Napa Valley Forward (NVF), the program is an innovative two-year pilot program designed to mitigate some of these challenges and promote sustained behavior change while collecting valuable insights about current travel patterns to inform future decision-making. Utilizing the Luum commute management platform, the NVF site is a one-stop-shop for transportation information to help Napa Valley employees find alternative ways to get to work, including transit and carpool subsidies, carpool and vanpool matching, rewards, and worksite specific information.
The program launched at the end of January 2020 with a robust outreach campaign, including a series of on-site events at various employer worksites, branded collateral and marketing material, and a limited-time ‘coffee for your commute’ promotion. The program will continue to grow and evolve based on the needs and feedback from participants. Upcoming features include individualized carpool/vanpool matching, new rewards, bike and e-bike support, and micro-mobility pilots.
With the emergence of COVID-19 in early March and the ‘Safer at Home’ order, this resulted in most Napa Valley employers either working at reduced capacity or closed temporarily. Steer assisted MTC in rethinking the NVF engagement strategy. Rather than promoting transit and carpooling, communication to employers and employees focused on walking, biking, and guaranteed ride home for those essential workers who still needed to commute to work. A new telecommuting reward was also added to reward those who work from home. The NVF team will continue to monitor developments and adjust accordingly.
With Luum’s built-in data reporting capabilities, Steer developed an evaluation schedule consisting of monthly data analysis as well as a more rigorous six-month evaluation. Comparing previously-determined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), including registration rates, levels of engagement by employers and employees, mode shift, and subsidies and incentives utilization, to baseline estimates will help the team understand program progress and areas of focus.
The effort was spearheaded by Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza and MTC Vice Chair and funded through contributions from MTC and the trade organizations for the winery and hospitality industries, the Napa Valley Vintners and Visit Napa Valley, respectively. The online-based program utilizes the Luum platform to manage and administer the program and incentives.
Some of the unique challenges and opportunities for this project include:
- the transportation challenges in Napa Valley;
- coordination between large and small employers;
- employee make up and seasonality of the winery and hospitality industries;
- distribution of worksites across the county;
- large Limited English Proficiency population;
- use of technology to develop data-driven programming;
- piloting of new mobility options and schemes to increase access to transportation options.
Written by Jenny Hong