The goal of the Key Bank of Washington proximate commuting demonstration project was to test the hypothesis that a substantial amount of long distance commuting is unnecessary and undesirable for many commuters, and that it can be prevented or significantly reduced at multi-site employer locations (i.e., banks, retail chains, government agencies, etc.) through more deliberate efforts to match new and existing employees to work sites closer to their homes.
During the fifteen-month demonstration project, nearly five hundred non-exempt employees at thirty Key Bank of Washington branches in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties were given the opportunity to enroll in a proximate commuting demonstration program and be considered for voluntary reassignment to branches closer to their homes.
Results at the test sites showed: 65% reduction in commute miles traveled for "Proximate Commuters" (participants who transferred to a shorter-commute site); 33% reduction in the longest commute per branch; 17% reduction in overall average commute distance per branch; and 17% enrollment rate -- 1 out of 6 eligible. Observations at control sites showed a 36% increase in the longest commute per branch and a 26% increase in average commute distance per branch.
The project results confirm that proximate commuting is a viable, low-cost method for significantly reducing commute time, distance, expense and stress for the employee, while at the same time providing the employer a more productive work force. Comparison of the before-and-after commute patterns for the project test branch that experienced the best reduction in commute miles clearly illustrates the enormous potential benefits of proximate commuting for the employee, employer and the environment.