• Ashforth employees and Joe McGee of The Business Council of Fairfield County (far right) at the Live-Work-Play | Car-Free Places recognition event

Transportation Innovation Category: The Ashforth Company

Commercial Building Category: 707 Summer Street recognized as a Gold honoree.

Recognizing the changing behaviors and preferences for urban living, commuting and wellness, The Transportation Roundtable, an initiative of The Business Council of Fairfield County, launched its inaugural Live-Work-Play | Car-Free Recognition program.

The Business Council of Fairfield County honored 18 organizations that have adopted and implemented sustainable transportation initiatives. These honorees have shown that transportation alternatives can create value and promote economic, environmental and public health goals.

The recognition categories included: Employer, Commercial Building, Residential Building and Transportation Innovation. In the Employer Category, Yale University was recognized as a Platinum honoree and Dorel Sports as an honorable mention. In the Commercial Building Category, 707 Summer Street was recognized as a Gold honoree. In the Transportation Innovation Category, The Ashforth Company was among 15 organizations recognized.

To encourage best practice sharing, the recognition event also featured a panel discussion with honorees from the private and public sectors. The panelists were Brian Heelan, Senior Vice President and Director of Operations, Albert B. Ashforth, Inc.; Lisa Rivers, Transit Manager, Connecticut Department of Transportation; and Brianne Mullen, Urban Sustainability Program Associate, Yale University.

Brian Heelan addressed the company’s transportation solution to retain and attract tenants while providing an alternative to driving. The Ashforth Company began offering a shuttle to the Stamford Transportation Center in 2011. In 2014, a second shuttle was added and this year one of its 24-passenger shuttles was replaced with a 36-passenger one. Ridership has increased 125% since the start of service. Currently the average daily ridership is approximately 70 people which results in the removal of 140 car trips during daily peak commuting hours. Ashforth has also been able to offer consolidated shuttle service to two of their third-party managed buildings on Summer Street, thereby reducing the number of shuttles servicing the Stamford Transportation Center.

Lisa Rivers described the success of CTfasttrac – Connecticut’s first rapid bus transit system. The system manages 20,000 trips per day, offering a 26 minute trip from New Britain to Hartford for $1.75. Focusing on Fairfield County, Rivers commented that there is an ongoing Route 1 Bus Rapid Transit study that will eventually lead to enhanced bus service in Fairfield County.

Brianne Mullen of Yale University spoke about Yale University’s role as an employer to decrease the amount of single-occupancy vehicle commuting to campus. Yale, one of only two Best Workplaces for Commuters by the National Center for Transit Research in the state for offering transportation options and benefits to employees to encourage sustainable commuting, is committed to increasing the use of sustainable transportation by 10% by 2025. In 2015, the majority (61%) of Yale commuters utilized sustainable transportation methods, i.e., transit (24%), walking (22%), biking (9%), ridesharing (5%), and telecommuting (2%).

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