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Case Study

On-site employee engagement drives vanpools to sustainable savings

Since Yahoo! has a strong reputation for corporate sustainability, company leaders wanted to comply with California regional air regulations by encouraging employees to use alternatives to single-occupant vehicles for commuting to work. In 2007 Yahoo! engaged Jones Lang LaSalle, its facility manager, to expand its options for green transportation as part of a wide-ranging suite of sustainable real estate portfolio services.

Our team identified vanpooling, at that time utilizing only one vehicle at one office, as one of the most scalable, cost-effective, and convenient opportunities for sustainable transportation. In contrast to prior transportation management run reactively offsite by a third party, we installed onsite representatives in northern and southern California to serve major Yahoo! offices in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Burbank and Santa Monica. Our vanpool experts are responsible for proactively:

  • Reaching out to Yahoo! employees through onsite special events and employee communications avenues
  • Helping form new vanpools of interested employees, as well as matching interested individuals with an existing vanpool serving their area
  • Facilitating administrative requirements among vanpool participants, van rental suppliers, local transit agencies providing subsidies to vanpoolers, and Yahoo! administrators
  • Measuring carbon reduction impact for Yahoo! environmental reporting

Under the program we helped develop for Yahoo!, the firm subsidizes each rider up to $115 per month for the van and fuel expense. After any additional benefit from public incentives, riders share the remainder of the cost which depends on the number of riders, ranging from 5-14, the type of van, and the total distance traveled. The monthly vanpool fee is deducted pre-tax from employee paychecks. About half of Yahoo! vanpool users get a free trip to work, and the expense for the others is rarely over $50 per month, a significant savings over the cost of driving or even taking public transportation.

In just under two years, our efforts have helped Yahoo expand from one to 17 vans now serving 140 Yahoo! employees commuting to four offices from 22 different cities, saving them $200,000 in annual fuel costs. This translates to 1.9 million commuter miles not driven and 751 tons of CO2 reduced annually, equivalent to the planting of 17,000 trees, while helping to reduce Yahoo!’s carbon footprint. Riders enjoy Wi-Fi service, and arrive at work more relaxed. In an emergency situation, a “Guaranteed Ride Home” program provides riders with taxi vouchers in order to address concerns of being without their own “wheels.”

The program has increased Yahoo’s already strong reputation as an environmentally friendly company as well. In 2010 the company won an award from the Bay Area Air Management District for highest CO2 reduction per capita in Santa Clara County due to using alternative commuting transportation.

The energized vanpool initiative is expected to factor strongly in a pursuit of LEED certification at Yahoo!’s Sunnyvale world headquarters. Buoyed by the program’s success, Yahoo! is currently expanding it to its Hillsboro, Oregon facility.

“Jones Lang LaSalle helped Yahoo! target and expand the vanpool program so that it is easy to maintain with multiple positive impacts, including a lowered demand for parking, improved sustainability program offerings, and a new option for quick and affordable commutes for our employees.”
Danielle Bricker
Communications and Transportation Programs

“My vanpool experience has greatly improved my quality of commuter life. Vanpooling has significantly reduced my monthly commuter expenses and provided me with a rare opportunity to get to know my co-workers outside of the office.”

“Vanpooling allows me to get more done in the day, because I drive less and can use the commute time productively.”
Vanpooling Yahoo employees

For more information contact:
Frank Teng
+1 408 594 1186
frank.teng@am.jll.com

Andy Wasif
+1 310 907 3095
andrew.wasif@am.jll.com

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