Multimodal and Alternative Transit Adoption



January 6th, 2024

A bold and innovative program in downtown Columbus has doubled the use of transit among a pool of eligible downtown employees and prevented more than 6.8 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year.

Launched in June 2018, Downtown C-pass allows eligible companies to offer free, unlimited transit access to their employees.

Downtown C-pass was launched by property owners in the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District (CCSID) in partnership with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) in association with Smart Columbus.

Through this unprecedented approach to addressing downtown’s parking challenges, the partners seek to increase office occupancy without additional parking, increase transit ridership, and reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

CCSID is the first special improvement district in the country to fund transit for workers through special assessments. 

More than 440 companies are participating, including the 50 largest companies the eligibility area. More than half the eligible pool of 30,000 workers are enrolled.

In addition to increasing ridership from 5 percent to between 10 percent and 14 percent among the eligible population, survey results show 68 percent of employees say C-pass is the reason they started using COTA. C-pass accounted for 6.5 percent of COTA’s total ridership in 2019, contributing to the highest ridership in 31 years for the region’s leading mobility provider. C-pass also contributed to a 14 percent increase in ridership on COTA’s rush hour lines.

Impressively, 17 companies said C-pass influenced their decision to either renew or sign a lease in a C-pass eligible building in less than a year.

Because C-pass provides a stable and dependable transportation option for downtown workers, companies report the program makes it easier to recruit and retain workers in a competitive labor market. Survey results also show more than 50 percent of companies report C-pass has boosted employee morale.



Sign up here to stay up-to-date on the latest from Smart Columbus.