Reboot the Commute Encourages Area Employers to Help Reduce Region’s Traffic Congestion

Charleston, SC – Eighteen local businesses with a total workforce of more than 39,000 announced today their commitment to reducing the three-county region’s traffic congestion as part of an effort to Reboot the Commute. Reboot the Commute is an employer-led traffic mitigation campaign, spearheaded by the Economic Leadership Council of Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA), that challenges other employers to help reduce regional traffic congestion. It includes an online guide that organizations can use to implement positive changes by encouraging alternative commuting strategies like telecommuting, staggered start times, ridesharing, and connecting employees to local transit resources like CARTA and LowcountryGO.

Traffic congestion is a critical challenge affecting the quality of life and productivity of our region’s workforce. For decades, investments in transportation infrastructure and affordable housing near job centers haven’t kept up with the region’s steady population growth. ”If we are to create and sustain a community where people and businesses thrive for generations, where we nurture our environment, character and culture – we must invest in infrastructure and housing, and we must remake how we commute,” said Anita Zucker, The InterTech Group CEO and Economic Leadership Council Chair.

Addressing traffic congestion is a priority issue for business, academic and community leaders throughout the three-county region. During the past year, CRDA’s Economic Leadership Council has worked with public, private and academic stakeholders to understand current commuting patterns, alternative strategies for employers and employees, and the benefits – to employers, employees, the environment, and our region’s economic competitiveness – of changing greater Charleston’s commuting behaviors.

According to the Charleston Center for Business Research, 80% of area commuters drive alone in a car to work. 60% commute between 6 and 8:30 a.m. If just four percent of the region’s commuters change their behavior during peak times, it could completely clear an entire lane of Interstate-526 for all 19 miles. Each resident can immediately be part of the traffic solution by altering how and when they commute and encouraging others to do the same. Some strategies are not viable for certain companies and occupations – but there are many ways to avoid traveling during the most congested times, and the Reboot the Commute Guide outlines those for businesses and commuters alike.

“My family and I are proud to support Reboot the Commute and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance,” said Anita Zucker. “We are thrilled to witness the collaboration of business leaders, government officials and the Lowcountry’s world-class workforce in an effort to generate immediate and measurable results to the traffic congestion challenges we face. It is this combination of creative thinking and outstanding leadership that will continue to position the Charleston region and South Carolina as a premier destination for businesses and families.”

“Leaders from Charleston area businesses and institutions large and small should feel empowered to adopt commuting strategies that improve the work experience for their employees and alleviate congestion on our roads,” said Melanie Stith, Vice President of Human Resources for Roper St. Francis Healthcare and Chair of the Economic Leadership Council’s Reboot the Commute Action Team. “Every change – whether it’s staggered shifts, a new policy on telecommuting, changing your approach to meetings, or a companywide carpooling program – will have a significant impact. Together, if we all do a little bit, we can solve our traffic problems and bring more work/life balance to our lives.”

The 18 organizations who have committed to encouraging their employees to #ReboottheCommute:
Benefitfocus
Boeing South Carolina
Booz Allen Hamilton
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
Charleston Regional Development Alliance
Charleston Southern University
Charleston Trident Association of Realtors
The Citadel
College of Charleston
Evening Post Industries
Google South Carolina
The InterTech Group
Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Medical University of South Carolina
Roper St. Francis Healthcare
South Carolina Aquarium
Trident Health
Trident Technical College
“CRDA is proud of the work our Economic Leadership Council has done to spearhead this effort and create a valuable community resource,” said David Ginn, President & CEO, Charleston Regional Development Alliance. “These 18 business and academic organizations are leading through action and their collective impact will be significant for our region. I hope many others will follow their lead.”

Additional Quotes:
“Benefitfocus is proud to be one of the inaugural companies supporting the Reboot the Commute initiative. We look forward to working with our associates to create alternative solutions to improve the growing commuting challenges here in the Charleston area.“ – Debi Stafford, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Benefitfocus

“We are privileged to be a part of the Reboot the Commute initiative, as this is one practical solution to mitigate congestion in our region.” – Bryan Derreberry, President and CEO, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce

“CSU is committed to implementing policies that will positively impact the commute and well-being of our residents, employees and surrounding community. We will continue to build upon our robust CSU Online programming that accommodates nontraditional and commuter students, and we are offering additional options to our employees to help reboot their commute. CSU expects to reduce area traffic congestion within the year by offering flexible time options and promoting rideshare opportunities.” – Dr. Dondi Costin, President, Charleston Southern University

“CTAR is a proud partner of the Reboot the Commute initiative. As technology advances and allows us to be more creative with the way we work, we are committed to pursuing the opportunities that allow our employees to spend less time in the car and more time doing what they do best. Creating flexible schedules, work from home opportunities and scheduling meetings on off-commute hours are several ways that we are furthering this initiative. We are committed to maintaining a high quality of life in our region, and being able to make a measurable impact on traffic congestion is important to me and to our organization” – Wil Riley, CEO, Charleston Trident Association of Realtors

"Compressed summer work weeks, staggered start schedules and increased online classes for evening and graduate students are a few of the things The Citadel does that help reduce traffic during traditional drive times. We are happy to stand with the Reboot the Commute partners working to address Charleston's growing traffic congestion." - Col. John Dorrian, USAF (Ret.), Vice President for the Office of Communications and Marketing, The Citadel

“The College of Charleston is pleased to partner with other area organizations in rebooting the commute to help alleviate traffic congestion. When residents of the Lowcountry all work together there’s no limit to what we can do to better all of our lives and our communities.” - Stephen C. Osborne, Interim President, College of Charleston

“The marketplace for talent is becoming ever more competitive. We believe that flexible scheduling responds to the evolving expectations of our workforce demographics and is crucial in attracting as well retaining the best people.” - Joe Waring, Chief Financial Officer, Evening Post Industries, Inc.

"Making a lasting community-wide impact calls for innovation and action, and Google is excited to be a corporate advocate for Reboot the Commute. Locally, we’re proud of our Googlers who have already stepped up to make a change, incorporating compressed work weeks and telecommutes into their schedules, or adopting alternative transportation methods, like biking to work. Collectively, we can make an impact that outlasts traffic and improves livability across the Lowcountry." - Paul Carff, Site Manager, Google SC

“Kiawah Island Golf Resort is proud to support Reboot the Commute. Since we are in an industry that naturally operates on various shifts and staggered schedules, several of these initiatives actually synchronize naturally with our business operations without negatively impacting the high level of service our guests demand. We also have a significant number of employees who depend on a resort-provided shuttle to commute to work. As employees must commute through Johns Island, an area of the county that receives a lot of attention due to rapid growth and increasing density, the resort is happy to do anything within reason to help positively address our region’s transportation issues.” - Bryan Hunter, Director of Public Relations, Kiawah Island Golf Resort

“MUSC has been an early adopter of programs and ideas that seek to alleviate traffic congestion and its various consequences in the Charleston area. Our community needs long-term multimodal transportation infrastructure solutions to create the most change. However, we also need initiatives that can start to provide relief right now. By encouraging our MUSC family members to implement new commute and work strategies for peak drive times, we can have a direct and immediate impact on this community problem. If we can work together to reboot the commute here, we can begin to reduce the stress and negative impact associated with our community’s current traffic and congestion woes.” - David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, President, MUSC

“The South Carolina Aquarium is thrilled to be partnering with the Charleston Regional Development Alliance and fellow Charleston institutions on Reboot the Commute. Improving the quality of life for our workforce is a priority for the Aquarium and contributing to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is aligned with our mission. We believe this initiative will impact these areas in a positive way and are committed to support this worthy cause.” - Kevin Mills, President and CEO, SC Aquarium

“For 44 years Trident Health employees have had a drivers’ seat view of the growth in the North Charleston area. We are proud to join other businesses in creating a road map that’ll lead to more efficient commutes.” - Todd Gallati, President & CEO, Trident Health

“We have four campuses in our three-county service area, so we understand that commuting can be a significant issue for both our employees and our students,” said Bob Walker, vice president for continuing education and economic development at Trident Technical College. “The Reboot the Commute initiative has the potential to significantly impact commute times using our current infrastructure. It’s a fresh approach to a growing problem.” - Bob Walker, Vice President for Continuing Education & Economic Development, Trident Technical College

Fast Facts:

Reboot the Commute created by CRDA’s Economic Leadership Council (ELC)
ELC created an online Guide employers and residents can use to modify their commutes
18 local employers have committed to participating. More are encouraged to join
May is national mobility awareness month. Charleston Moves and other organizations have events planned
About Charleston Regional Development Alliance
The Charleston Regional Development Alliance is a professional economic development organization representing Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties in South Carolina. With a large and growing network of business, academic and governmental partners, CRDA directly assists companies with competitive location or expansion projects by connecting them with the right people, the appropriate resources and the most meaningful and relevant information. CRDA promotes the Charleston region’s business, academic and lifestyle strengths worldwide to attract the world’s best companies, entrepreneurs and professional talent. Ultimately, the goal is to strengthen regional employment, build our base of high-value industries, and significantly improve the economic future for all who live and work in the greater Charleston area.

The Economic Leadership Council of CRDA is comprised of 20 of the region’s largest employers. This top-tier, CEO leadership group is committed to a more prosperous, forward-thinking, globally competitive three-county region. Visit CRDA.org for a list of ELC members.