Closer Commutes – Our Mission
CloserCommutes.org is a volunteer-driven initiative to radically reduce commuting times and distances. Our five-year goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one per cent globally, save commuters billions of hours annually and boost corporate productivity, while lowering HR costs, decreasing traffic congestion and pollution, lowering healthcare costs, and strengthening regional economies.
For liability purposes and to provide management consulting services, we have set up CloseCommute Systems Inc. as a BC-registered corporation resolved as a benefit corporation.
Starting in Canada …
CloserCommutes.org is developing a blueprint for municipalities and the provincial government to introduce a Closer Commutes strategy to reduce the commuting time and distance of thousands of Vancouver and Victoria area workers. The process – for commuters and their employers – is simple to understand and implement: allow and encourage long commuters to switch workplaces with someone doing the same job at a different location so both can work closer to their homes. The impact will be impressive: we project a 5% to 10% reduction in overall daily vehicular traffic. CloserCommutes will be part of a larger initiative to require all large employers to calculate their “total employee commuting burden” and make best efforts to reduce (and make active) their employees’ commutes.
- For long commuters – more quality time each day, lower stress and improved health, reduced commuting costs, etc.
- For employers – reduced costs for absenteeism, hiring, training and extended health benefits, higher productivity, etc.
- For society and the environment – $100s of millions in regional economic benefits, reduced traffic load, faster commercial deliveries due to reduced congestion, less pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, etc.
CloserCommutes.org is providing the scientific foundation and a toolkit for employers.
Providing an irrefutable, research-backed business case
Our analysis of employee commuting data for a region of the RBC Royal Bank of Canada confirms our approach is realistic, and our projections for traffic reductions are plausible. More than 75% of the bank’s employees appear to be commuting longer than is necessary. For at least half of all employees, there is one peer, if not several, doing the same job at a different branch who could immediately swap locations for mutual benefit – not to mention the benefits to the employer and society – at no cost to the bank. Our examination of data for teachers, municipal employees, healthcare workers and other occupations (using our StatCan dataset, see below) confirms the scope is similar across all sectors.
We’ve assembled an extensive annotated bibliography of peer-reviewed research into the effects of long commuting and how to quantify those effects – it is grim reading, and a call for action by everyone.
Download “The Effects of Long Commutes – An Annotated Bibliography” as a PDF from closecommute.com/research.
We commissioned from StatCan and are analyzing a custom cross-tabulated dataset on commuting flow broken down by occupation, sex, commuting length of time (10-minute intervals), census subdivision, commuting flow patterns, mode of transportation – these are the most complete and detailed data ever produced on four Canadian Metro Census Areas. We are providing these data free to transit planners, employers, academics, unions and the public. A example take-away: Five out of every six teachers are commuting needlessly far. If we could rectify that colossal waste of time and stress on teachers, imagine how the classroom experience might be improved.
Web app testing
We launched a prototype web app for long commuters in March of 2017 with the initial test limited to Metro Vancouver‘s one million daily commuters and Greater Victoria. We confirmed techniques for using APIs to link to Google Maps’ massive database in real time, and also learn that we need to involve government agencies to have the amount of publicity required for a successful regional campaign.
“10,000 Closer Commutes for BC”
We’ve launched a grassroots support campaign to encourage the BC Government to implement a province-wide commute trip reduction initiative as soon as possible. We are welcoming media partners, sponsors and endorsers. If you have contacts to suggest or expertise to offer, please email Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 250-380-0998. Thank you!
Research & development already conducted on burden assessment, CloserCommutes toolkit and the Commuting/Congestion/Carbon Reduction Initiative action plan by Trelawny Consulting Group Ltd./CloseCommute Systems Inc./CloserCommutes.org
Some of the research and development undertaken on a pro bono publico basis:
- interviewed and consulted with over 100 key informants – in person, via phone and through email threads. These are human resources professionals, cabinet ministers, MLAs, mayors, councillors, senior bureaucrats, transportation consultants, TDM practitioners, urban planners, academics, futurists, environmental leaders, union executives, presidents, CEOs, CFOs, MDs, VPs, MHOs, commuters, journalists, management consultants and others. [See names below.]
- reviewed the literature on the effects of long commutes and direct/indirect costs.
- gathered research on Proximate Commuting (aka CloserCommutes), including multiple discussions with Gene Mullins, who led the original demonstration project with Key Bank and later consulted to Starbucks and Boeing about employee commuting.
- commissioned Statistics Canada to create a custom cross-tabulated dataset on commuting flow. [mentioned above] This dataset covers all major urban areas in Canada, with breakdown by occupation codes, commuting distances, times and modes, and other patterns.
- analyzed this dataset finding, for example, that over 17,500 teaching professionals in the Vancouver region are commuting needlessly far and would be candidates for a voluntary job swap with a peer. We have discussed a proposal to integrate CloserCommutes into all districts’ HR practices with BC Teachers’ Federation’s president and a past-president, school district superintendents/ CEOs, education ministry officials and BC’s education minister. Districts 61, 62 & 63 or 44 & 45 would be ideal for a pilot project across their contiguous areas.
- tracked new studies, learning, for example, that: 36% of employees would take a 10% or greater pay cut to work closer to home… millennials with advanced skills, who are notoriously difficult to retain, are particularly prone to quitting if experiencing a long commute…
- To determine the situation and potential of CloserCommutes within a large, multi-worksite employer, we conducted an audit and analysis of the individual commutes of all employees of Royal Bank of Canada across its South Vancouver Island region. [Described above.] We determined that over 75% were not working at the closest branch to their homes. For over 50% of all employees there exists a potential swap match person with whom they could switch work locations so each would immediately have a shorter commute.
- developed and pilot-tested a consumer-facing web app for matching commuters with someone to swap with. This app has an API to Google Maps’ traffic flow database to provide near-instantaneous, accurate commuting times and distances.
- arranged with GoogleMaps for free use of their data (to be revisited when we reach certain daily volume).
- developed a prototype spreadsheet app for HR departments’ internal use when assessing worksite assignments for new hires, and when considering internal transfer candidates.
- drafted an outline for the CloserCommutes toolkit manual.
- defined and tested the employee commuting burden assessment concept.
- prepared a conceptual model for a comprehensive Commuting/Congestion/Carbon Reduction Initiative.
- discussed this initiative with Cabinet Ministers, MLAs and senior government and agency executives (on-going).
Over the past four years, Bruce has conducted phone, email and in-person key interviews with over 100 key individuals to better understand the situation, barriers and opportunities. He is grateful for their time, the information and advice they provided and their frank opinions. Here are some of their names and affiliations at time of contact, in no particular order:
- Jason Curteis, president, Baragar Systems
- John Dickinson, director of road safety, ICBC
- Dave Pitre, student services, Greater Victoria School District (SD#61)
- Scott Stinson, assistant superintendent, Saanich School District (SD#63) – now superintendent, Sooke School District (SD#62)
- Dan Haley, executive director of human resources, Sooke School District (SD#62)
- Laura Schwertfeger, district principal, International Student Programs, Sooke School District (SD#62)
- David Stevenson, CTO, Latitude Geographics
- Steven Myhill-Jones, CEO, Latitude Geographics
- Steve Cardwell, superintendent & CEO, Vancouver School District (SD#39)
- Lon LaClaire, acting director of transportation, engineering services, City of Vancouver
- Glen Hansman, vice president [now president], BC Teachers’ Federation
- Tom Gill, councillor, City of Surrey
- Tracey Readies, CEO, Coast Capital Savings Credit Union
- Jeff Bos, director of people innovation & impact, Vancity Credit Union
- Jennifer Tan, Vancity Credit Union
- Beat Mertz, research scientist
- Arnie Hansen, psychologist and novelist
- Bradford Kent Green, architect and management consultant
- Vernon Brooks, author, neuroscientist and professor emeritus, University of Western Ontario
- Reg Faubert, acting director, transportation policy and program branch, BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
- John Fryer, adjunct professor of public administration at University of Victoria; former vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress; former head of BC Government Employees Union
- Michael Marchbank, public administrator, BC Public School Employers Association
- Donnie Wing, president & CEO, BC Healthcare Benefit Trust
- Manuel Achindinha, CEO, BC Transit
- Gilles Larose, president, CUPE local 382
- Brad Hall, president, CUPE local 947
- Jennifer Whitehouse, vice-president, CUPE local 947
- Ian Johnson, president, BCTF local 62 (Sooke)
- Linda Hunter, professional event planner
- Carolyne Taylor, Vancouver Island Manager, BC Human Resources Management Association
- Eric Sei-in Remy Jordan, CEO, Codename Entertainment
- Moira Mackenzie, executive director, BC Teachers’ Federation
- Peter Miles, The Chamber., Victoria
- Peggy Kulmala, Policy & Public Affairs Manager, The Chamber.
- Mark Lovick, regional vice president, South Vancouver Island, Royal Bank of Canada
- Gordon Gunn, partner, Advisory Services, KPMG
- Alan R. Peretz, partner, Advisory Services, KPMG
- Manpreet Jandu, Advisory Services, KPMG
- Greg Conner, executive director, human resources & corporate secretary, BC Transit
- Mark Latham, PhD, financial economist, founder of Votermedia.org
- Phil Embley, retired bank executive, White Rock, BC
- Scott Kristjanson, sessional lecturer in computer science, Simon Fraser University
- Lowell Ann Fuglsang, solopreneur coach, lowellann.com
- Alison Paine, ADM, BC Public Service Agency
- Patty Beatch, manager of employee wellness, Vancouver School District (SD#39)
- Lauralee Russell, Vancouver School District (SD#39)
- Stephanie Premji, professor, McMaster School of Labour Studies; co-investigator, “On The Move” national research partnership
- Danielle Devereaux, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, On the Move Partnership, Memorial University of Newfoundland
- Barbara Neis, university research professor in the Department of Sociology at Memorial University of Newfoundland; Co-Director of the SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
- David Shortt, primary grades teacher, Saanich
- Andie Britton-Foster, law student
- Karen Smith, French teacher, Saanich
- Lillian Truong, regional manager, Pacific & Prairie Region, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation
- David Golen, district vice president, Vancouver Island, TD Canada Trust
- Neil Spicer, senior policy and planning analyst, MetroVancouver
- Tom Lancaster, division manager, Planning and Analytics, MetroVancouver
- Derek Adams, consulting-analyst, Statistics Canada
- Clear House, data dissemination officer, Statistical Information Service Branch, Statistics Canada
- Eric Cormier, assistant teaching professor, Mathematics & Statistics, Faculty of Science, University of Victoria
- Lindsay Wiginton, Transportation and Urban Solutions, The Pembina Institute
- Dianne Zimmerman, policy director, Transportation and Urban Solutions, The Pembina Institute
- Rick Kool, associate professor, Environment and Sustainability, Royal Roads University
- Chris Ling, assistant professor and director of the School of Environment and Sustainability, Royal Roads University
- Guy Dauncey, eco-futurist and bestselling author, earthfuture.com
- Marsha Batchelor, graphic designer, Agio Publishing House
- Deborah Stewart, director of employee relations, BCPSEA
- Hilary Brown, executive director, Finance and Strategic Planning, BCPSEA
- Liz Ferris, climate action analyst, Capital Regional District
- Marion Pape, past chair, BC Sustainable Energy Association
- Suzanne Barois, director, Be The Change Earth Alliance
- Rod Allen, superintendent of learning, BC Ministry of Education
- Mike Pocock, inventor
- Suzanne McAllister, director, High Value Performance Coaching, CIBC
- Jill Bauer, owner, Jill Bauer Design
- Kendra Jalifi, design associate, Jill Bauer Design
- Jeff Batchelor, owner, Everyday Better YouTube channel
- Erica Bauer, associate strategy director at PHD Media, and associate director of strategy at OMD Worldwide
- Dan Batchelor, owner and DOP, profilecreative.ca
- Samarth Mod, founder & CEO, AirSenze Solutions and FreshWorks.io
- Rohit Boolchandani, founder & COO, Airsenze Solutions and FreshWorks.io
- Cheryl Coull, editor, therapist
- John Lutz, history professor, UVic
- Larry Kuehn, Director of Research and Technology, BC Teachers’ Federation
- Sherri Brown, researcher, BC Teachers’ Federation
- Anne Hales, researcher, BC Teachers’ Federation
- Doug Ozeroff, senior manager, communications, Royal Roads University
- Saira Walters, regional vice-president associate, South Vancouver Island, Royal Bank of Canada
- Sarah Webb, active transportation project management specialist, City of Victoria, BC
- Erika Sandow, professor, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research CEDAR, Umea University, Sweden
- Joan Tionko, Google
- Tiffany Ma, executive director and chief financial officer, BC Ministry of Education
- Jerome Atherton, manager of road safety programs, ICBC
- Lisa Helps, Mayor, City of Victoria
- Amanda Broad, climate action program coordinator, Capital Regional District
- John Hicks, senior transportation planner, Capital Regional District
- Rob Fleming, MLA, Minister of Education
- George Heyman, MLA, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
- Colin Roberts, Human Resources Director, School District 61 (Victoria)
- Jonathan Dunn, Financial Analyst, BC Ministry of Finance
- JoAnn Woodhall, Translink TDM Specialist
- Michael O. Russell, community engagement specialist, Edmonton Police
- Alvin Klippenstein, inventor and teacher, Abbotsford, BC
- Robin Gold, Coordinator: Alternative Fuels & Technology, Western Washington Clean Cities, a program of Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Seattle
- Beate Weber-Schuerholz, former mayor of Heidelberg, member of European Parliament, winner of Gottenburg Sustainability Award
- Dr. Goetz Schuerholz, president at Cowichan Estuary Restoration and Conservation Alliance
- Amy Peebles, senior advisor, Mobility Management, Planning & Development, Metrolinx
- Fraser Work, city manager, City of Victoria
- Laurie Desautels, PwC
- Dr. Mark Hallenbeck, senior data science fellow, director of Washington State Transportation Center
- Arnd Batzner, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
- Andrew MacLeod, journalist, thetyee.ca
- Dr. Christian King, corporate entrepreneur, Robert Bosch GmbH
- Uwe Pelger, corporate entrepreneur, Robert Bosch GmbH
- Marc Lee, Policy Alternatives
- Adam Olsen, MLA Saanich & the Islands, Green Party critic for transportation
- Ryan Clayton, constituency assistant for Adam Olsen
- Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Shore – Lonsdale, parliamentary secretary for TransLink
- Mack McCorkindale, constituency assistance for Bowinn Ma
- Michael Buda, executive director, Mayors’ Council on Transportation
- Keith Godin, ADM Governance & Analytics, BC Ministry of Education
- Chris Gilmore, executive director, Climate Action Secretariat, BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy
- Ben Finkelstein, transportation lead, Climate Action Secretariat
- Harry Bains, MLA, Minister of Labour
- Wayne Moriarty, columnist, The Province (Vancouver)
- Jeff Bell, reporter, Times Colonist (Victoria)
- Kayleen VanderRee, social media influencer
- Annamaria Nemeth, vice president, TD Bank
- Claire Trevena, MLA, Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure
- Roger Painter, artisan, contractor
- Dorothy Field, artist, poet, activist
- Paul DeMuth, CEO, ITS Video Marketing
- Dave Lewin, TDM head, TransLink
- James Ranson, TDM consultant, TransLink
- Lynda Steele, talk-show host, SteeleTalk, CKNW
- Emilie de Rosenroll, South Island Prosperity Project, Victoria
- Mark Brenner, host, CFAX, Victoria
- Steve Vanagas, vice-president, TransLink
- Chris Istace, The Mindful Explorer
- Jo-Ann Roberts, deputy leader, Green Party of Canada
- Carole James, MLA, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance
- Shayli Robinson, constituency assistant to Carole James
- Susan Lambert, former president BCTF, Vancouver city councillor
- Ahmed Mumeni, P.Eng, BC Transit
- Christy Ridout, vice president of business development, BC Transit
- Paul Hawken, drawdown.org
- Chad Frishmann, vp & research director, drawdown.org
- Erinn Pinkerton, president & CEO, BC Transit
- Peter Brand, retired teacher and developer, FirstVoices
- Dr. Vivien Muir, health professional
- Dr. Trevor Watson, MD, medical columnist, author
- Stafford “Doc” Williamson, daochienergy.com
- Leanne Jones, private investigator, author, composer
- Edson Hendricks, computer scientist
- Mohamad Shawki Amine, PEng, NCTI, transportation specialist
- Dr. Dee Hoyano, medical health officer, Island Health
- Poonam Bhatti, manager, policy, regulation & research, WorkSafeBC
- Andrew Brooke, executive director, programs and corporate initiatives, BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
- Alan Callander, manager, active transportation and climate action policy, BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
- Ned Taylor, councillor at City of Saanich, and director at Capital Regional District
- Niall Paltiel, councillor at Central Saanich
- Scott Colbourne, trustee at Islands Trust
- Jennifer Draper, deputy director of planning & development, City of North Vancouver
- Natalie Corbo, sustainable transportation coordinator, City of North Vancouver
- David Greer, executive lead, Integrated Transportation Development Plan, BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure
- Amy Steggles, project manager, BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure
- Trevor Hancock, MD, public health physician, retired professor at UVic, columnist at Time Colonist
- Patrick Stafford-Smith, CEO, North Vancouver Chamber
- Eric Doherty, transportation planning consultant
- and continuing… if you want a briefing, please let us know.