When you’re stuck in an elevator with a stranger, grabbing coffee with a colleague you don’t know so well or waiting for everyone to arrive for the 9 a.m. staff meeting, what is your go-to small talk?

Traffic.

We all know that it’s an inevitable truth in Atlanta. Each morning, millions of Atlantans travel to their workplace during the same peak hours as everyone else and are being stopped at the same intersections day after day. Perimeter Connects, the new commute program of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCIDs), is here to help you find a commute alternative to give you more choices for how you travel and to change your conversation topic.

Find a new route. The Perimeter area is anchored by three MARTA stations and multiple last-mile connections with front-door shuttle service to most of the employers located a fair distance away from these stations.

MARTA has seen some great improvements in the past few years. As a regular MARTA rider myself, I have truly appreciated the real-time arrival information for all buses and trains using the OneBusAway or MARTA On The Go apps and the free Wi-Fi on the train. This allows for so much more flexibility in my day, and I honestly feel as if I have more freedom with my commute than when I drive.

MARTA has also increased rail frequency, with trains arriving every 10 minutes during peak periods, and increased public safety presence on the trains and in the stations.

New GRTA Xpress commuter bus routes will be headed to Perimeter in 2016. With only one Xpress bus in Perimeter now, this will be a great opportunity for commuters. Traveling during peak commute times, these comfortable buses will be routing from Forsyth, Gwinnett, Cobb and Rockdale counties.

Rideshare. Millions of commuters travel each morning. Chances are, quite a few of those motorists are headed to Perimeter from your area. You can switch off driving responsibilities and have a personal driver bring you in every other week while you sit in the passenger seat.

You can either start the carpool the old-fashioned way, by reaching out to those neighbors or coworkers who share your workplace, or put some technology around it. Perimeter Connects partners with Georgia Commute Options to provide access to a ride-matching database, which allows you to receive a list of potential neighbors who share similar work hours to you. The excuse “no one lives near me” is a thought of the past.

Flexibility. In this evolving workplace, flexible work arrangements are key to increased retention and recruitment. Most employers are offering some type of flexibility, whether it’s staggered shift schedules, compressed work weeks or telework programs.

Flexibility is also critical when choosing a commute mode. Riding to work on the train may not work for you every day. We are not asking that you give up your car, but we are asking that you switch it up every once in a while, or more often.

The good news is that you’ll never be stranded without a guaranteed ride home in case of emergency. A benefit we have in the market is access to free parking available at most places in Perimeter. This free parking allows for you to make a choice week-to-week on which commute mode would work best for you without having to completely relinquish access to your favorite spot.

Try MARTA for an entire week, find a new favorite seat and then use your car when needed. The parking spot will be there for you.

Emily Haar

Emily Haar is program manager for Perimeter Connects, a commute services program of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts. Perimeter Connects offers no-cost consultation services on telework consulting, discounted transit pass sales, rideshare services and personalized commute planning. Learn more at PerimeterConnects.com or contact Emily@PerimeterConnects.com for more information on building a commute program for your organization.