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Comparative Analysis of Corporate Shuttle Service and Public Transportation for Employee Commuting

Comparative Analysis of Corporate Shuttle Service and Public Transportation for Employee Commuting


The remainder of this article is as follows: Section 2 surveys and presents current cases of a corporate shuttle service and public transportation used by employees. Then, Section 3 describes two transportation services and discusses whether they overlap and differ in terms of the appropriateness of a corporate shuttle service for employee commuting. Finally, Section 4 provides a conclusion and recommendations.

This article also scientifically addresses the following issues: (1) what differences between a corporate shuttle service and public transportation currently exist and may exist in the future regarding actual arrangements, and (2) in terms of the differences above, are the two transportation services different or mutually exclusive as means for employee commuting and travel demand management, and are their travel markets distinguishable? These issues make it possible to examine how appropriate the corporate shuttle service is for employee commuting. It has been empirically shown that a corporate shuttle service can reduce drive-alone commuting and be cost-competitive with driving alone. Furthermore, optimal arrangements for the corporate shuttle service show more significant reductions in the dependence on drive-alone commuting by employees and more substantial cost savings.

Furthermore, a corporate shuttle service can reduce adequate travel distances and times. In contrast, it could not run as frequently and with as many stops between home and work locations as other mass transportation modes. Alternatively, it may not give passengers some statutory rights, though they may be under the control and direction of the company that provides the service. This combination of public and private transportation is more flexible and convenient than the independent use of public transit. It can function as a service for a particular group of passengers and employees. A corporate shuttle service and public transportation have their advantages and are complementary initially. As such, it is unclear which is more desirable for employee commuting.

A corporate shuttle service has advantages over public transportation as a means of commuting for employees. For instance, it can be optimized to suit employees’ commuting needs by determining its routes and schedules to the highest possible level of flexibility by employees’ actual home and work addresses. In addition, it can provide predictable and stable travel times, especially if it is scheduled to run around an employee’s working hours. Because employees work for and are financially supported by their employers, who want to maximize employees’ productivity, employers have a vested interest in providing employees with transportation services that they would view as an extension of their businesses.

A corporate shuttle service is one way to enable employees to commute to work effectively in and around a metropolitan area. It has been introduced recently by some large companies, mainly in the U.S. The motivation behind the corporate shuttle service is to reduce employees’ drive-alone commuting and contribute to alleviating traffic congestion and air pollution. However, how effectively a corporate shuttle service reduces drive-alone commuting is unclear.

Background and Rationale

Employers who provide bus and shuttle services seek to reduce trips to and from the workplace and can have less traffic congestion in business access. Traditional buses that offer shuttle service are scheduled and fare-based, requiring coordination of schedule and cost considerations for working employees or the public who may be using the destination. In contrast, the company-based shuttle service can schedule work shifts, provide courtesy shuttles without fares, start and end the workday with convenient destinations, and provide flexible timing and routing to customize service. A company-based shuttle service can provide several types of transportation services that range from a traditional fare-based scheduled shuttle service that operates fixed routes and collects fares from any passenger to a traditional subsidization of the commuter service, which serves specific routes on specific schedules and carries only employees. While there is considerable debate concerning the amount of money lost in travel delays and the social cost of environmental quality, it is widely accepted that business costs would be reduced and productivity would be increased.

In recent years, many traffic-related problems have emerged. The demand for transportation is increasing much faster than the supply of transportation facilities. Traffic congestion in urban and suburban areas has become a significant concern for transportation agencies and travelers. Congestion is not just a nuisance; it affects fuel consumption, travel time reliability, the environment, and the community’s economy. One leading contributing factor to congestion or delay is the increased use of automobiles. Employers are significantly affected as well. Downtown businesses and office buildings often have limited parking, or there may be high parking costs and significant time delays on congested streets for employees to reach their offices. For the convenience of customers and employees, many businesses provide free or subsidized parking to attract employees or to retain customer services. Providing transportation for employees is a strategic consideration for reducing business costs and increasing productivity.

Literature Review

Prior studies have compared public transportation with self-driving and other modes of transportation. Most literature has focused on buses, public transit, and shuttle services. Shuttle services are often used to connect different modes, such as airlines and commuter rail. They are also introduced to reduce the walking time between transit and final or intermediate destinations. Callaly and Lownes compare the operating costs and the performance of traffic transit approaches on an inter-campus connector with a dedicated bus lane, a mixed-traffic bus approach, and the operation of a complementary shuttle. Pan et al. determine the cost-effectiveness of a dedicated off-campus shuttle and an exclusive commuter rail line. The costs include land use, vehicle operation maintenance, and other contingency costs, while the benefits are derived from saving passengers travel time. Discovering few studies comparing shuttle and public transit services in terms of investment-oriented decisions.

In our literature review, we first provide existing studies that compare the different modes of transportation related to our research. We then review the studies focusing on corporate shuttle service and discuss the shortcomings of the current literature.

Benefits of Corporate Shuttle Services

Using shuttle buses for commuting can be attractive to employees and the employing company. These benefits result in an increasing attractiveness for the companies. In the Atlanta area, for instance, 100 companies have reacted to the effects of traffic congestion, which resulted in an annual loss of 3.7 billion dollars in 2010. The companies are members of the Greater Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. The chamber reacted to the traffic problem by creating the ‘Commute Trip Reduction’ (CTR) program. In this CTR program, the chamber assists the companies in establishing transportation policies that emphasize the movement of their employees through trip reduction and trip demand management (parking policies) measures within the existing transportation, legal, and zoning constraints. These activities might even include the organization of a Mata bus. However, selecting a shuttle bus as a commuting mode brings costs that must be analyzed carefully.

Corporate shuttle services provide several benefits to employing companies, their employees, and the public. For companies, the shuttle services meet corporate social responsibility requirements and improve the company image for the employees and the surroundings of the company location. Other benefits include more accessible access to the workplace, enhanced commuting costs for employees, and a reduced shortage of qualified labor. Two main benefits for the public are reduced pollution emissions and less road traffic congestion. From a socio-economic point of view, the attractiveness of shuttle services is increasing due to a range of positive effects besides cost and travel time savings. These benefits are linked to network effects, lower parking costs, improved labor utilization, attractive logistics for the companies, improved health for the employees, increased accessibility to and utilization of public transportation, and higher public acceptance of mobility alternatives to car usage. Two similar studies have been performed in the Atlanta area of the USA. With several improvements in operating procedures, the employer could achieve incremental benefits due to improved transit speed and service reliability, and many of the benefits focused on intangible goals, such as satisfying employees, enhancing community goodwill, and philanthropic activities.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Public Transportation

Many employees use public transportation to commute daily, and many employers are near public transportation routes. Comparing public transportation and shuttle services can help the company choose the better mode for its location and employee population. Public transit has the following advantages: It usually costs the employer less to use public transportation than to provide a shuttle service. The employer does not have to invest in purchasing, insuring, storing, maintaining, or servicing the vehicles.

Less parking space is required. Work time available for the employees (subway, personal vehicles). Usually, the costs for the employees (bus, subway) are lower. However, public transportation has the following disadvantages: Departure times may not match the employee schedule, which results in additional waiting time. Route inflexibility does not serve all the employees’ commuting needs. Sudden changes in shifts result in employees not having transportation. Riding buses, subways, or trains may create employee personal security concerns. Methods for calculating the number of zones, level of service, and headway for public transportation stop areas are described in TRB Individual Characteristics Related to Carpooling or Vanpooling, which lists the most used public transportation methods.


The data collected for the study is a cross-sectional time series of data from employees who used shuttles over the studied period. Summary statistics for each variable are presented to provide a better understanding of the demographic distribution of users. The dataset had 48,782 total daily shuttle route directions and 1,576 unique users. After cleaning the dataset, the sample size shrunk to 24,109 out of a possible 48,782 observations, representing a 50% shrinkage of the sample set after cleaning. The size of the second sample formed from the three models is 1,372. Tests for the random distribution of the data are conducted using a new feature of the R software for use with Natural Breaks Optimization, which can return the data to the machine-readable numerical state. The feature called frequency counts of unique observations helps estimate the different numbers of unique observations over the dataset. To help with the analysis of the user profile, descriptive statistics were calculated and presented in Table 2.

Data Collection and Analysis of Corporate Shuttle Service

Table 2 provides identification information for each representative in the analysis. Because these interviews of corporate shuttle service operators were a favor to the researchers and we had to conceal specific service quality criteria, there is every reason to believe there will be peculiar or random data limitations in these data sources. Unfortunately, a more comprehensive data collection effort is impractical at this stage in our research due to patronage legislation and public policy rules. It is essential, however, to understand that additional investigation of only a few corporate shuttle performance data measurements may strengthen weaker areas or reduce distortion in our cost and performance measures of travel-related benefits.

A review of professional contacts yielded corporate shuttle service providers in three cities willing to provide existing service performance data. Advertisements by public agencies, chambers of commerce, and business organizations in these three cities call for surveys of large companies for inclusion in a “Best Employers” competition. Data were thus obtained from six large companies, three of which provided shuttle service to their employees, and the others used public transportation with varying degrees of subsidy. This data offers representative comparisons for 16-37% of employees at each establishment. Each service provider was asked to supply specific corporate shuttle operating performance data suitable for the two evaluation criteria. Data from these diverse sources is then translated into a standard set of units and prepared for analysis consistent with other business performance indicators.

Case Studies

In the food industry field, we studied the profile of two companies (National Food Industry – I and National Food Industry – II) in the same municipality. And employees who meet using regular public transportation in the Metro Atlanta region near the big business poles. We chose not to identify two case corporations because we were requested to guard the companies’ identity, more precisely where the studies about concerned transportation were carried out. Upon request from most companies observed in this study, we shall offer links to the federal constitutive acts to verify the Laws of the Land and other pertinent, verifiable data. These two companies are National Food Industry A and National Food Industry – B.

To provide a qualitative analysis comparing CES and public transportation and to verify variables that must be evaluated in depth using the results of the study conducted in this article, we present a case study developed from a multinational company’s office located in Vinhedo (São Paulo – Brazil) that adopted CES. In sequence, we shall report on the cell above phone distributor’s returns – working hours, payments, and subsidies offered – that opted to use company vehicles combined with public transportation during the shift of operation and the breaks. The use of company vehicles varied, at the most, with two drivers, respecting the internal norm of the non-overlapping displacements of employees and the exact vehicle’s movement. This company (Multinational 2 – C) operates on differing terms with the administration of the Inter-municipality Public Transportation, a factor that, at times, causes alterations in publicly-owned transportation or the exchange of service provider companies.

Company A: Implementing a Corporate Shuttle Service

The average commuting time for the employees of Company A (selected for the implementation of the private on-demand transportation process) is 45 minutes. Many employees use public transportation, and this approach takes about 90 minutes with some changes. Many employees live within a 10 km radius of Company A, and only five people use the currently offered shuttle service, which is often late. Therefore, a significant fraction of potential users in need of transportation exists.

Ride-sharing transportation based on demand is an alternative that shows current success in the market, and there are many providers. They all have a smartphone application used to make ride requests and set transportation parameters, and drivers also use it to provide rides. When a user creates a request for a ride, the parameters are the necessary time of arrival for the pickup, the location of departure, the location of the destination, and an indication of whether this is a shared or direct ride request. Because of the terms within which the demand is formed, considering a fixed schedule for the public transportation of some companies was not an appropriate solution. Also, the number of people that need transportation is not the same on different days, nor is it constant for the whole chain of public transit. These are the main reasons public transportation was ruled out of the scope of this thesis.

Company B: Reliance on Public Transportation

Company B did not subscribe to the corporate shuttle service for the entire study period. The company has offices in three zones: the incorporated zone, the Sandy Springs area, and the local office. Both the incorporated zone and Sandy Springs are near the train station, but it is believed that only employees located in the Sandy Springs area might have used the train services to work. In the local vicinity of the corporate office, the bus services are less frequent than the train services, and a ten-minute walk from the office to the train station is expected. Furthermore, a ten-minute drive from the office to the train station is scheduled if parking is required. Due to this combination, public transportation is not the preferred mode of employee commuting for the corporate office area. Employees can claim the travel fare as a company expense if they use public transportation. The distance of the local office is within walking distance of the company.

One company subscribes to corporate service, whereas the other uses public transit as its primary method of employee commuting. Company A relies heavily on the corporate shuttle service, with over 80% of the employees using the shuttle bus as their commute mode. This rate has been between 80-90% over the past decade. Over 90% of the foreign workers use the local public transportation (three daily bus services) organized by the government to commute. Apart from the foreign workers who use the local public transportation services, this non-Asian country’s significant public bus company also has one service to the business park. Still, it doesn’t come near the office buildings.

Conclusion and Recommendations for Corporate Shuttle Service

The public transport service in Atlanta (Mata) is better developed and cheaper than the corporate shuttle service. Regarding the company location being determined, corporate shuttle service can act where public transportation lacks. More precisely, the transfer from the nearest urban transport node to the corporation premises. Therefore, it is recommended that all companies have poor transport accessibility or be far from a bus stop or train station. Moreover, the new law for mobility in the USA and the transport policy demonstrated by some companies, even in a city with an excellent public transportation system, keep and even develop corporate shuttles. Assuming the corporation pays employees’ transport costs, the current public transportation system is preferred for all the stops in Atlanta. A shuttle service needs to be preserved, aiming to concentrate all stops to urban transport nodes, where the corporate shuttle is preferred for performing the transfer function.

As the two recommended options, corporate shuttle service and public transportation, have pros and cons, an analysis is necessary to determine the optimal solution for a corporation. Based on our study, the corporate shuttle costs for employees are slightly less than those for public transportation. Relatively high expenditures for heavy vehicles and parking are found. Public transportation in Paris is cheaper than in Atlanta. In Paris, the preferred option is a shuttle service between an urban transport node and the workplace. Our agents’ model shows a shared transport preference because of possibly low waiting time and lower travel time compared to car use with unknown environmental conditions. Crowding during rush hours is a critical factor in the bus service.

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