Arlington Makes It Easier for Teachers to Stop Driving to School

Arlington County teachers all receive free Capital Bikeshare memberships. Photo: Mobility Lab
Arlington County teachers all receive free Capital Bikeshare memberships. Photo: Mobility Lab

Driving to school can be a major source of traffic congestion. But while Safe Routes to School programs aim to make walking and biking to school a safer, easier option for students, getting teachers and school staff to leave their cars at home is still new terrain.

Leading the way is Arlington, Virginia, which has a transportation demand management program specifically to make it easier for teachers to give up the solo car commute habit. In the U.S., it’s the first program of its kind for an entire school district, according to Paul Mackie at Mobility Lab.

A few simple incentives can make a difference, Mackie writes:

Teachers who rideshare, or “carpool,” get to wave at the other commuters stuck in traffic as they breeze past in the HOV lanes.

And that’s not all. Once teachers get to school — in the case of this video, at Oakridge Elementary School and Arlington Community High School — they have priority carpool parking right in front.

Some call it “carpool therapy.” At Oakridge, teachers have added a “commuter lounge,” where teachers and staff who bike or walk to work can have a place to change and store their gear for the day.

If driving is not their thing, all employees of the public schools get a free membership to Capital Bikeshare. Yes, free. And pretty stress-free too.

Take a look at how it works in this MobilityLab video:

More recommended reading today: Urban Review STL points out that in St. Louis, the policy makers in charge of streets and transportation ignore the recommendations coming from the National Association of City Transportation Officials. And the Transportist previews new research illustrating the “mutually reinforcing relationships” between bicycling infrastructure and bicycling rates.

  • Joe Linton

    This is a problem in Los Angeles. Schools are built with massive, expensive parking lots, diverting construction and maintenance funding away from actual education. LAUSD is one of the largest employers in the county, but (other than pay parking at the Downtown hq – due to a parking shortage) provides no incentives for all employees (teachers and others) to do anything other than drive. The school districts are chartered by the state, hence are not subject to regional air district laws (and even those laws are lax and inadequate).

  • AMH

    Arlington is a pioneer in Demand Management–it’s way ahead of the other DC suburbs and most of the region. Good to see them keeping it up.

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