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The Golden Triangle is going through a period of tremendous growth! Nearly 50 major public, private and transportation infrastructure projects are underway or planned over the next five years. The Shift team is here to help mitigate the impact of possible challenges created by construction and provide transportation choices to make it easier to get around. Check out the shift blog to stay up-to-date on the latest Golden Triangle transportation resources and experiences from commuters, residents and families in this area.

    Fans of Vans (Guest Feature: Scripps Health)
    by Scripps Health | Oct 25, 2016

    Although vanpooling is technically just one benefit that Scripps Health offers, for the people who use it will tell you it’s much more than that. It’s almost like getting several benefits in one program.

    Take it from the Scripps Health staff at 4S Ranch. One glance across the parking lot is all you need to see just how popular vanpooling is there. Curtis Medlock, a billing systems specialist, is one of those vanpoolers. He’s been using the program since March as part of a six-person vanpool group that travels to and from Mission Valley. In just a few short months Medlock has already become a champion for the program and estimates he’s saving more than a $160 each month by using vanpool.

    “That’s just in the numbers that can be calculated,” Medlock notes. “Things like gas and insurance costs. When you also consider the savings in mileage, wear and tear, and maintenance to my personal vehicle the savings are actually even greater.”

    Medlock achieves that savings through a combination of programs. First, there’s the $30 monthly subsidy from Scripps Health and the pre-tax payroll deduction of his vanpool lease and fuel costs. Each vanpool is also eligible for up to a $400 monthly subsidy from San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) as long as they have at least five people in their vanpool. The actual subsidy amount is based on miles traveled. For Medlock, that nets his vanpool $335 each month.

    Pam Nichols is another vanpooler who joined because of Medlock, first as part of his Mission Valley group and now part of a vanpool that goes to and from San Ysidro closer to her home. That’s a 77-mile round trip for her every day, so for Nichols a big benefit is just having someone there to share the ride.

    “The camaraderie is great,” Nichols says. “I didn’t even know five of these people before I started with this vehicle. Just being able to talk in the car and enjoy the ride I nice. It’s been a great experience.”

    Nichols says she also appreciates how their vanpool vendor is always on top of it when it comes to the vehicle’s maintenance. They keep tabs on when it’s due for an oil change or any other kind of service. They pick up the vehicle during work hours and take care of whatever it needs and return it before the end of the day.

    “If they can’t get return it to you in time, they’ll leave you a loaner,” Nichols says. “One time we had an airbag issue with our vehicle, and we ended up with a loaner for a couple of days.”

    Scripps Health`s vanpool vendor also turns over the vehicles between 30,000 and 40,000, so you always have a nice new van to use.

    What happens if you need to work late or have some kind of emergency where you need a car? SANDAG can help you there, too. They provide Guaranteed Ride Home vouchers annually that can be used in these cases. If your destination is less than 20 miles away, you can call a taxi. If it’s more than 20 miles, a Rent-a-Car picks you up. Then you just have to return the car within 24 hours. Both services are free of charge.

    Some people say they simply can’t be without their car during the day, but Medlock suggests trying to find someone to share vanpool with in these cases.

    “Even if you’re only able to use it two weeks out of the month, you’re still saving money,” he says. “Each van is able to organize their groups however they like so that may work for you.”

    To redesign your commute and get more information on vanpooling, click here. To join the vanpool interest list, click here.


    Oct 25, 2016
    Celebrate the start of the Mid-Coast Trolley Project with your community!
    by Shift San Diego | Oct 14, 2016

    Grab a blanket and join us October 22, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., on the grass at the Preuss School field (3750 Voigt Drive) for the Mid-Coast Trolley Groundbreaking Celebration! We'll kick-off construction of the Mid-Coast Trolley project with a big picnic on the grass, including free food, live music, a commemorative gift, and lots of fun family activities.

     An 11-mile addition to the San Diego Trolley system, the Mid-Coast project will extend the Blue Line from Old Town up along Interstate 5 to the UC San Diego campus and beyond. The new service will create a one-seat ride from the international border through Downtown San Diego and on to University City, connecting the region’s two largest job centers. The project will add nine new stations, connecting the trolley system to destination points such as Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, the VA Medical Center, and the busy shopping, commercial, and residential districts along Genesee Avenue.

    As this project gets under way, find transportation solutions and construction information in the Golden Triangle area right here on Also, stop by the Shift San Diego and iCommute tables at the event to say hi, sign up for a free iCommute account, and learn more about your alternative transportation choices during construction.

    MID-COAST-Groundbreaking Invitation_FINAL

    Oct 14, 2016
    Back to School and Construction Traffic Tips
    by Shift San Diego | Sep 23, 2016

    Is back to school and construction traffic slowing you down? Shift your solo drive and try an alternative transportation solution like carpool, vanpool, bike, walk, or transit. Here are some simple tips when trying a new transportation mode to work or school.

    Tip #1: Meet up with your carpool or vanpool at a Park & Ride lot.
    Share your daily commute and save! Carpools and vanpools take advantage of many free amenities throughout the region including HOV lanes, Interstate 805 Direct Access Ramps, Park & Ride lots, and the Guaranteed Ride Home Program.

    Carpooling is an easy way to instantly reduce your commuting costs by 50 percent or more. Learn more and find a carpool match here.

    Want to save even more? A vanpool brings five or more people together to share the costs of getting to and from work in a van or SUV. Vanpool participants generally pay less than $100 per month to get to work! Learn more and find a vanpool match here.

    Tip #2: Make walking to school your workout routine.
    Use the TripPlanner to find a walking route to work or school. You also can walk between school, work, or home to get your workout in before taking transit. TripPlanner compares trip options, while calculating time, cost, calories burned, and emissions avoided.

    Tip #3: Enjoy the ocean view and free WIFI on the COASTER.
    The COASTER serves eight stations between Oceanside and Downtown San Diego. There are also four Sorrento Valley COASTER Connection buses to connect you to University City and the Golden Triangle area.  Check out routes and times for the COASTER here.

    Tip #4: Multitask and study for an exam on the bus.
    Learn about trying transit here. There are eight routes that serve the La Jolla UCSD campus, including Rapid and SuperLoop. Need to get to Downtown San Diego? Take routes 30 or 150. Live in Rancho Bernardo, Sabre Springs, or Mira Mesa and need to head to class? Take Rapid 237. Need to get around University City? Take SuperLoop Rapid Routes 201/202. With so many options, why not give one a try?

    Tip #5: Bike to and from your transit stop.
    GO by BIKE to catch a bus, train, or trolley instead of driving. You can leave your bike in a secure bike locker at more than 60 transit locations. You also can take your bike on the bus, trolley, or train and finish your commute to work or school by bike. Learn more about bike commuting options here.

    If you are unsure how to get started with finding a new way to work or school, start with using the TripPlanner. Find the best way to get where you need to go by comparing multiple transportation choices in one place. Just enter your starting point and destination in TripPlanner, and click "Let's Go!" It's that easy. TripPlanner compares carpool, vanpool, transit, walk, and bike options, and will provide you with ridematching options that meet your preferences. Have fun trying a new commute that works for you!


    Sep 23, 2016
    Illuminating Solutions to Encourage Alternatives to Driving Alone
    by Shift San Diego | Aug 29, 2016

    Illumina is a large employer in the Golden Triangle area helping employees take advantage of alternatives to driving to work alone. The company goal is to encourage employees to explore carpooling, vanpooling, taking the COASTER, or biking as alternate ways to get to work.   

    Building on its culture of openness and collaboration, Illumina hopes to improve employee quality of life by making commuting a positive experience. Transportation Demand Management (TDM) refers to programs and strategies that manage and reduce traffic congestion by encouraging the use of transportation alternatives.  Illumina`s TDM efforts encourage an employee to ride a bike to maintain or improve one`s health and wellness while getting to and from work. It also highlights how people can foster camaraderie in a vanpool while reducing traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. Kelsey S. assists with Illumina’s commuter benefits program. Check out what she has to say about their TDM efforts.

    Q: How is Illumina working towards your TDM goal?

    A: Illumina is supportive of alternative transportation modes and offers commuter benefits such as a vanpool subsidy, a shuttle to and from the COASTER station, and special parking spaces for carpools and vanpools. Additionally, iCommute has helped us by showing our employees the benefits of commuting alternatives. iCommute helps the employees keep track of the changes they are making and how they are not only benefiting themselves, but also are helping decrease the amount of traffic in this area. By logging in trips in their free iCommute account, a person can see their impact on reducing CO2 emissions, burning calories, and even saving money. We even held a vanpool event to match employees for vanpools.

    Q: Describe your recent success with promoting vanpools.

    A: Our vanpool program has been doing really well. It is constantly growing and is projected to continue growing for the rest of the year. We started the beginning of the year with three vanpools, but we are now at nine. This is exciting!

    Q: How does an employee learn about commuter benefits?

    A: Our focus on alternative methods of commuting starts at employee orientation. We also communicate the benefits on our intranet and internal social network. Now that the program is up and running, we will be highlighting employees who carpool and vanpool throughout our campus to continue to build awareness of these programs for Rideshare month and to share with other employees their positive experiences.

    Q: How do you keep employees engaged in communicating TDM goals and successes?

    A: It is important to have open communication with our employees here at Illumina. Employees can share an idea or a goal and give feedback in coordination meetings and via internal postings. We look to our employees to suggest ways we can continue to support and improve the commuter experience.

    Q: What are the top challenges in getting people to change the way they commute?

    A: The top challenge is to reassure employees that using alternative transportation modes (carpool, vanpool, transit, walk or bike) doesn’t mean you are stranded or out of luck for emergencies or unexpected events. People like that safety net of being able to leave whenever they need or want to, and we want to use this challenge as an opportunity to offer a solution.

    Q: What are the solutions you are working on to address this challenge?

    A: iCommute offers free enrollment to the Guaranteed Ride Home Program. A participant receives three vouchers within a year for emergencies. This covers the use of a cab or rental car. These vouchers can help reduce anxiety, ease the mind, and provide reassurance that using alternative transportation can be done.

    For more information on how you, as an employer, can participate in the iCommute program, visit

    One of the vanpool groups at Illumina

    Aug 29, 2016
    And the award goes to…
    by Shift San Diego | Aug 08, 2016

    Sixty-one employers countywide were recognized last month by iCommute with Diamond Awards due to their outstanding efforts to encourage workers to use environmentally sustainable transportation choices.  Fourteen of the recognized employers are located within the greater Golden Triangle area.

    The Diamond Awards are administered by the SANDAG iCommute program, which provides a variety of commuter assistance and employer services to help reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. The number of Diamond Awards recipients has nearly doubled in one year, up from 33 employers last fiscal year.

    Awards recipients promote alternatives to driving alone including carpool, vanpool, bike, walk, transit, telework, and compressed workweek schedules. Some organizations also provide incentives, subsidies, or pre-tax deductions to support their employees’ participation in eligible programs.

    The Diamond Awards program recognizes employers as they meet milestones in the development of their commuter benefits programs. The program is based on a points system tied to employer engagement, Rideshare Challenge participation, and shifts in employee transportation choices.

    Congratulations to our local neighbors:

    BD Biosciences Pharmingen
    UC San Diego  

    U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

    Illumina, Inc.
    Qualcomm Inc.
    Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

    Mission Federal Credit Union
    Stemedica Cell Technologies, Inc.
    TD Ameritrade
    Texas Instruments
    USE Credit Union

    View a full list of winners here.

    View the event photos here.

    Employers throughout San Diego County are invited to take advantage of complimentary iCommute commuter program services to be eligible for Diamond Awards. To learn more, visit

    Aug 08, 2016
    Bus and Bike: Finding the Right Combination
    by Shift San Diego | Jun 27, 2016

    Combining bikes with transit is one of the great ways to get around the Golden Triangle area and make your commute by bike more manageable. Often times, riding a bike helps to connect the first and last mile of your trip.

    Henry uses both the bus and a bike during his 10-mile commute to his job at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He has been doing this bus and bike combo commute for more than 15 years and encourages others to give it a try.

    Why did you start using alternative transportation?

    It is expensive to live in California. Biking and riding the bus was cheaper than using my own car.

    Share a happy moment associated with you taking the bus or biking.

    Taking the bus allows me some time to relax, enjoy the scenery, and to pray. Biking is good exercise. It helps me stay healthy and maintain my blood sugar levels.

    What do you like about your commute?

    The Rapid 237 is available every 15 minutes, which is convenient during my work hours.

    How did you learn how to use transit?

    I gave it a try and was surprised as to how easy it was to get around. It helps to also watch others use it and also read the instructions on the bike carrier.

    What would you tell someone thinking about taking an alternative way to work?

    I highly recommend transit. Using the bike and bus can lessen stress on your heart and mind. Stress can affect your health and I want to make sure I do what I can to stay healthy.

    Take it from Henry and discover a commute that works for you. Taking the bus and biking was the right combination for him. What`s the right combination for you?

    You can compare multiple transportation choices and plan an alternative commute using the iCommute TripPlanner at:

    For more helpful guidelines for taking your bike on transit, visit these resources:




    Combining bikes with transit is one of the great ways to get around

    Jun 27, 2016
    Gearing up for Bike to Work Day
    by Shift San Diego | May 17, 2016

    Hats off (or in this case – helmets on) to Golden Triangle employers Alexandria Real Estate Equities (ARE), Biocom, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Vertex) for joining forces and gearing up for Bike to Work Day! More than 35 people attended their collaborative Bike 101 Seminar. Vertex`s very own bike commuter James S. led an informative session on bike commuting, bike rules of the road, and iCommute resources.

    “We are so happy our tenants enjoyed this fun session about bike commuting. James gave a great presentation to all bikers – starters and veterans. We support all alternative commuting choices and make it our priority to provide the facilities and support needed by our tenants. We have facilities for our bikers such as showers, secure bike lockers, and hope they encourage others to try commuting by bike as well.” – Jason Moorhead (ARE).

    “Bike to Work Day aligns perfectly with our core mission – to help our life science members on their quest to improve the human condition.  Healthy exercise, especially biking, is very popular across our community.” – Melanie Nally (Biocom)   

    “We are proud to reduce our carbon footprint and advance our employees’ health and wellness. In our growing Vertex community of bikers, we like to promote biking as a commute choice that is both beneficial to the environment and individual health and fitness.” – Tamara Fox (Vertex)

    What are you doing to get ready for Bike to Work Day on May 20? Let us know by leaving a comment or emailing us!

    Make sure to register for Bike to Work Day here.

    Bike 101 Seminar

    May 17, 2016
    Real Talk: Make Your Commute Easier
    by Shift San Diego | May 04, 2016

    Let’s get real – life is busy and time is precious. Most of us search online to find the quickest ways to get where we need to go. A new, interactive SHIFT real-time traffic feature is available to help plan a better and efficient commute to work or school in the Golden Triangle area. You can:

    • Access real-time traffic information via computer, tablet or mobile phone
    • Avoid congested routes
    • Make informed decisions on alternative routes
    • Enhance your overall travelling experience

    If you weren`t stuck in traffic, what would you do with the extra time? Stay ahead of traffic with integrated real-time data and be apprised of any construction advisory notices. Information is at your fingertips with Now that`s real easy.

    Real-time traffic feature available now

    May 04, 2016
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