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Guidance On Conducting Employee Commute Options Survey

The ECO rules (Oregon Administrative Rules 340-242-0200 through 0290), require that employers survey their employees to demonstrate progress toward a 10% commute trip reduction goal.

The survey provides the employer and DEQ with the following:
  • An auto trip rate which is the number of commute vehicles arriving at a work site divided by the number of employees that report to the work site;
  • Ideas for incentives to encourage employees who drive alone to choose another commute method and;
  • Annual follow-up surveys will measure progress toward meeting the commute trip reduction target.
There are several different ways to perform the ECO survey. Currently, most employers either survey through TriMet or DEQ.

Steps for Conducting Your ECO Survey

1. Determine which survey option you are going to use

  • TriMet provides survey processing at no cost to employers affected by the ECO rules who are working to develop and/or maintain transportation plans. It offers both an on-line survey for employers whose employees have access to computers and a paper survey for those who do not. TriMet tabulates the results and sends a report to the employer to submit to DEQ. Call TriMet’s Employer Services at 503-962-7670 or email.
  • Perform the survey using DEQ’s materials. You can download the necessary forms from the DEQ's ECO website. You will need to copy and distribute the surveys, tabulate your own results and submit the ECO survey work sheet to DEQ. Call 503-229-6154 or email us.
  • Go Lloyd performs surveys for TMA members. Call 503-236-6441, email, or visit their website.
  • Westside Transportation Alliance performs surveys for members. Call 503-489-8520 or email.
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) performs surveys for Wilsonville employers. Call 503-682-7790 x 1489 or email, or visit their website.
  • Develop your own survey using expertise within your own company.
  • Contract with a private firm. Call DEQ for a list of consultants.
Regardless of which option you choose, you need to use a DEQ approved survey. If in doubt, give us a call at 503-229-6154 or email a copy of your proposed survey. 

2. Set a date for your survey

Do not survey during a time when lots of employees are likely to be on vacation or the week before or after a holiday.

3. Determine which employees to survey

See OAR 34-424-0060: Should All Employees at a Work site be Counted?

4. Plan distribution method

This will depend on which survey option you choose. Many employers now prefer to use an on-line survey

75% Response Rate

  • The ECO rules require at least a 75% employee response rate for compliance. The goal is to measure actual trips with a high degree of accuracy. Inaccurate survey results can produce an inaccurate trip reduction target. This can result in a more stringent than necessary trip reduction target for an employer, or a less stringent trip reduction target and less emission reduction than expected and needed for the Ozone Air Quality Maintenance Plan.
  • If an employer does not achieve the 75 % response rate, the shortfall is assigned as "drive alone" trips.
  • If you have more than 400 employees at a work site, you can use a random sample survey method. Contact 503-229-6154 or email for guidance on this method.

When the Surveys are Completed

  • Determine that you have achieved at least a 75% response rate (number of returned surveys divided by total number of surveys distributed).
  • If your response rate is less than 75%, first try to collect more surveys.
  • If you are unable to achieve the 75% response rate, DEQ will assign the shortfall as “drive alone” trips.
  • If you are tabulating the surveys yourself, do so on the enclosed ECO Survey Worksheet.

Tips for a Great Survey

Let employees know that the survey is happening and why

  • ECO is a required program designed to help reduce air pollution and keep Portland’s air clean and healthy for all of us to breathe. It also has the great side benefits of reducing traffic congestion and enhancing employee well-being. By putting the ECO survey in context, it becomes more than “just one more thing to do”.

Distribute Wisely

  • Use an electronic survey if possible. It is easy, uses fewer resources and usually results in better response rates.
  • Give employees a short window of time to complete and return the survey. One week is ideal.
  • Be sure to include managers. They commute too!

Using Paper Survey

  • Designate one or more staff to hand-deliver a survey to each employee and wait while the employee completes it.
  • Ask employees to complete surveys at staff meetings.
  • Include surveys with paychecks.
  • Have employees fill out surveys when they pick up their paychecks. Let them know in advance that picking up their paychecks will take a couple extra minutes. Make sure plenty of pencils are available, and that the person distributing the surveys can answer common questions.

Encourage Participation

  • Include a memo or cover letter explaining how the survey will benefit employees by identifying preferred transportation options to management (sample below)
  • Demonstrate a strong, positive attitude from top management supporting the survey.
  • Make employees' direct managers responsible for their participation.
  • Follow-up with employees who do not return the survey.
  • Encourage competition between departments for survey participation.
  • Offer a reward such as a latté coupon to the winning department or for the first five people who return their surveys.

Sample Memo