By Inna Levin

SmartTrips Business is an outreach program of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) that helps local businesses inform their customers and employees of sustainable transportation options to reach their destination. Its final report for the first year in the North and Northwest Portland neighborhoods is now out and can be found here.

Between the months of May and September last year, SmartTrips Business worked with 192 employers, most of whom are small store-front retail businesses in the St. John’s, University Park, Nobb Hill and Pearl Districts. Together, they were able to distribute nearly 1,000 sustainable commuter kits to employees that included transit, bicycle, walking and ridersharing information as well as fill over 300 orders for customized commute options materials. They also scheduled installation of 43 bike racks. SmartTrips Business also offered information and consultation on the Business Energy Tax Credit, which they believe will be a powerful incentive for employers to promote alternative commuter options.

70 percent of employers were happy to report that the SmartTrips Business materials had a positive effect on their business. “The maps have been very popular with our customers. As a matter of fact, I plan on requesting more this week.” Says Andrew Chung, of Kokiyo Teriyaki in St. John’s. “There are definite advantages. It helps bring in foot traffic, rather than people just driving by in a car.”

Randy at Plew’s Market (now called Plew’s Brews) enthusiastically agrees. “The project has been very successful in the North end of town; everyone’s participating!” he said. “We’re just happy that the project is available and the city is moving forward with alternative means of transportation.”

So look out for the Smart Trips decal on the windows of your favorite local shops to get your maps and let PBOT know if you hear of a Portland business that would like to provide free maps to their customers and/or employees.