Leadership Spotlight: Westside Transportation Alliance

Sam Diaz

This month, 1000 Friends of Oregon turns its attention to Washington County. Sam Diaz, Community Engagement Coordinator, sat down with Jenny Cadigan, Executive Director of Westside Transportation Alliance and Rae-Leigh Stark, Program Manager, to chat about Commove, a newly unveiled app in pilot phase, Washington County transportation challenges and next steps for the organization. 

 

Westside Transportation Alliance (WTA), a nonprofit led by a small and dynamic team, calls Washington county ‘Home’. The landscape consists of fertile farmland, suburban neighborhoods and hubs of technological innovation. The organization provides a swath of information necessary to expand travel options for their member businesses. For large employers like Kaiser, Nike and Intel – to name a few – the consequences of employees driving solo are readily apparent on the roads. In this year’s Annual Meeting, WTA provided a demo of its new app, Commove, a creative and user-friendly way to motivate employees to take transit, carpool, bike or even walk to work. 

Why An App?

“The app makes commuting fun,” said Jenny Cadigan, smiling. “We wanted to gamify the commute, really incentivize folks.” Instead of focusing on the typical 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift where transit runs more frequently, Commove was launched to help employees who may not be making a lot of money, have different shifts, and likely do not have computer access throughout their workday. Right now, Commove is in a three month pilot phase, with two employers as test sites. Employees are given rewards upon reaching certain ‘point levels’. Points are awarded based on calories burned, carbon reduced, and money saved on trips taken via transit, bike, walking, carpooling, etc. 

Changing Human Behavior

Success is close; the app is delivering information to Washington County employees quickly and easily while also incentivizing active transportation options through friendly workplace competition. As sponsors provide Westside Transportation Alliance with giveaways for those who rack up points on Commove, Jenny is looking to the connection between the area’s built environment and Westside Transportation Alliance’s work. “You have to change the built environment to change their human behavior,” Cadigan points out. “We’re not giving people a shuttle from light rail to their end destination or building bike lanes…the app depends on the built environment.”

Next Steps

With Commove close to a county-wide launch, Westside Transportation Alliance looks to the future with hope. The team is set to use the feedback from the two pilot projects for final touches on Commove, wrap up a last-mile feasibility study, and steer a bike share pilot project.  “I think people in Washington County are very interested in technology and that’s something we want to stay up to date with…let’s see how it can help us in furthering our mission,” reflects Cadigan. And Westside Transportation Alliance’s members could not agree more. Stark humbly comments, “We continue to engage members and grow our base.” The dynamic duo creates these programs and serves their members alongside a group of well-connected and experienced board members led by newly elected President Aisha Panas, the Director of Park and Recreation Services at Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District. Loaded with a wealth of knowledge, grit and loyal members, we have no doubt that Westside Transportation Alliance will help shape Washington County’s transportation system into an affordable, safe, and convenient experience for all residents. 

As 1000 Friends of Oregon organizes around the Southwest Corridor Plan and the Washington County Transportation Futures Study, we’ll eagerly be waiting to download Commove