The MITRE Corporation is headquartered in McLean, Virginia, and Bedford, Massachusetts with over 60 other offices across the United States and around the world. MITRE is a not-for-profit company that operates multiple research and development centers funded by the federal government. MITRE provides innovative, practical solutions for some of the nation's most critical challenges in defense and intelligence, aviation, civil systems, homeland security, the judiciary, healthcare, and cybersecurity.
MITRE employs approximately 3600 people in the Washington, D.C. metro region.
The Situation and Solutions
For the past 14 years, MITRE has offered commuting programs to increase travel options for its employees and promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices. MITRE’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program has several elements and covers a range of benefits, amenities, and modes of transportation with the goal of reducing the number of single occupancy vehicle trips of employees. The most popular are the MITRE Interoffice & Metro Shuttle, Flexible Work Arrangements, and SmartBenefits. MITRE has been on the “Best Workplaces for Commuter” list for the past two years in a row (see bestworkplaces.org).
MITRE’s commuting program is composed of the following elements:
MITRE Interoffice & Metro Shuttle – Serving about 14,000 passengers per year, the shuttle links the McLean Metro station with MITRE’s five buildings in McLean, VA. It offers GPS tracking, free Wi-Fi, and a wheelchair lift.
New Employee Transportation Kits – each new hire receives information about commuting in their orientation packet.
Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits (SmartBenefits) – MITRE offers its employees pre-tax commuter benefits via payroll deduction up to the IRS maximum limits. WageWorks is the administrator of this program and approximately 230 people per month take advantage of this benefit.
“SmartBenefits Plus50” – MITRE administers a signup and fulfillment process for helping employees participate in this Fairfax County
Flexible Work Arrangements – In addition to flexible work hours for most employees, MITRE also offers several formal programs for flexible work arrangements. There are three types of telecommuting options available: (1) Regularly Scheduled - work from home one or more days per week, (2) Occasional - work from home on an as-needed basis (3) Teleworking - work full-time from home. There are approximately 185 teleworkers who avoid a daily commute. Other formal programs include compressed work week and job sharing.
Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) – Approximately 15 MITRE employees currently participate in the Guaranteed Ride Home program.
Carpool/Vanpool Parking – MITRE currently reserves five parking spaces for carpool/vanpool commuters, with the capability to expand the number of reserved spots as necessary.
NuRide – There are 112 active NuRiders at MITRE who log their non-SOV (single occupancy vehicle) trips and earn points redeemable for shopping discounts. Forty six percent of the active NuRiders previously drove alone when commuting to work.
Bicycle Support – MITRE offers bike racks at four of its five office buildings in McLean. The largest is inside a secured cage in the M2 parking garage (accessible by badge swipe) with space for 25-30 bicycles. In 2014, this bicycle cage was accessed 1,300 times. Cyclists, and those who jog/walk to work, have free access to shower and locker facilities in the MITRE fitness center.
Transportation Website – MITRE maintains an Intranet page called “MITRE Commuter Info” that provides commuting links, schedules, FAQ’s, and other resources. It also hosts a collection of internal social media pages that enable employees to discuss commuting topics, post messages, and share files.
On-Site Amenities - MITRE offers a range of amenities that reduce the need for employees to drive during the day. On-site services include a cafeteria serving breakfast and lunch, a 24-hour self-serve/self-pay pantry, catering services, coffee shop, sandwich shop, credit union, fitness center, nurse/medical office, dry cleaning drop-off/pick-up, car detailing, tire replacement van, haircut, massage, chiropractor, and physical therapy. MITRE employees are eligible for discounted Zipcar membership as an incentive to embrace the car sharing service.
Electric Car Charging - MITRE offers two electric car charging stations in the M2 parking garage operated by Car Charging Holdings, LLC.
MITRE will continue to promote “SmartBenefits Plus50” until funding from Fairfax County runs out. The strong retention results of this incentive suggest that even after new signups cease, a great number of employees will continue to use SmartBenefits.
MITRE is planning a series of improvements to its commuter programs:
The shuttle schedule will be improved by reducing wait times and increasing the frequency of stops.
MITRE will hold a “Commuting Competition” among departments to see which one can reduce the number of single-occupant vehicle trips the most over a two week period, and prizes will be awarded at the department and individual level.
MITRE will organize a “carpool matching” event to help employees form carpools and will offer gift card giveaways as incentives for forming and maintaining a carpool.
MITRE will increase and redistribute the location of carpool-only parking spaces throughout the parking lots and garages to encourage more carpooling.
MITRE will place a set of bike repair tools (air pump, patch kits, chain lube, etc) in a secure bicycle storage cage to encourage additional bicycle commuters.
A review is currently underway by the Human Resources department to assess whether MITRE should offer transit subsidies instead of, or in addition to, the current pre-tax withholding program for SmartBenefits. If subsidies are implemented, it’s expected that participation will increase significantly.
MITRE’s Corporate Communications department is working to encourage an executive officer to commute by transit for one week and then publish an internal news article about his/her experience in an effort to raise the visibility of transit commuting and encourage others to participate.
Throughout the year, MITRE uses internal marketing channels to advertise: Bike To Work Day, Earth Day, Try Transit Week, and Dump The Pump Day. Quarterly features called “Commuter Corner” are published to the main intranet page and highlight a different element of MITRE’s TDM plan with testimonials and links to more resources. These regular communication events provide continual reminders to employees to think about adopting a non-SOV travel mode.
Using the Commuter Connections’ Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Calculator, employees produce the following effects by participating in MITRE’s TDM programs:
Average number of cars not on area roads each day = 387
Total annual employee vehicle miles reduced = 5,033,600
Total annual employee gallons of gas saved = 254,222