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Welcome Aboard! Here's Your Badge, Your Business Cards, and Your Bike?

September 17, 2009
by Gwen Darling
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Earlier today, the following Tweet appeared in my Twitter stream (if you’re still fuzzy on the whole Twitter experience, I invite you to check out my three-part Twitter 101 series):


Since I’m interested in learning what various hospitals are offering in the way of innovative employee perks, I clicked on the link to the video (here’s a working link if you’re interested: http://bit.ly/AOKrx). I was so intrigued that I immediately picked up the phone and called Louise Maxwell, Public Relations Specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, to find out more. Here’s what I learned from Louise:


Seattle Children’s has long been recognized as a leader in Transportation Demand Management (TDM), receiving awards from the Governor’s office, King County and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its excellent commuter benefits and achievements in vehicle trip reduction. The hospital’s programs to reduce drive-alone commuting and vehicle trips to the campus have resulted in a drive-alone rate of only 38 percent among daytime employees, down from 73 percent in 1995 as measured by a state-administered Commute Trip Reduction survey. This accomplishment is significant both for a hospital and for an employer located in a neighborhood with limited public transit service.


Children’s recently launched Children’s Commute Tools - an online component of the transportation program:


Children’s Commute Tools

Children’s Commute Tools includes commuter resources such as shuttle schedules, trip planners, rideshare information, and the Commute Calendar Tool. The Commute Calendar Tool allows employees to log all the ways they get to work. It works just like a time card. Employees fill out a calendar and earn a commute bonus for eligible commute modes. They can either fill out the entire pay period or do it one day at a time. The “My Impact” section of the Commute Calendar Tool includes various statistics on how employees’ commutes impact the environment and their finances. Employees can view their own personal statistics or choose to view the entire Seattle Children’s impact. It’s a visible reminder of how much gas has been saved, the number of vehicle miles traveled saved and the CO2 reduced.


Children’s also has a robust shuttle-to-transit system - a network of shuttle routes connects to major transit hubs in the region, allowing employees to transfer between buses, ferries, light rail and commuter rail to one of Children’s shuttles.


Children’s subsidizes employees’ alternative commutes by covering the cost of vanpools, and by paying employees to bike, bus, carpool, motorcycle, telecommute or walk. The average commuter can save nearly $2,000 a year in transportation costs simply by using an alternative commute mode!


Children’s also offers the following commuting benefits to staff:


Bicycle Tune Ups

No appointments necessary. First come, first served. One tune-up per employee per year.


Bike Commuting 101

Bicycle Commuting Classes Offered. Any Children’s employee interested in learning more about bicycle commuting is encouraged to register for a Bicycle Commuting class. The classes are 2 hours long and feature classroom and on-bike learning modules. While the focus is on commuting, the information will benefit all riders whether on a club ride, or riding with family members.


Bike Sharing

This environmentally friendly transportation option offers employees the opportunity to check out bikes for inner-city transportation, free of charge.


Company Bike

A Company Bike may be your passport to a fun, healthy new transportation alternative: bicycle commuting. Company bikes are free to Children’s employees who agree to bicycle to work at least four days per pay period year round.



FlexPass is an annual bus pass that can be used on Metro, Community Transit, Sound Transit and Pierce transit. The pass covers the maximum fare on any of these buses and the Sounder Train. It is available to all Children's paid employees free of charge.


Guaranteed Ride Home




Fabulous story. Thanks for bringing it to us. Thanks also for going the extra step of getting the information complementary to the video clip.

A few quick reactions:

- I'm not at all surprised that is was a Children's Hospital. Children's hospitals, in my experience, are always well above average regarding their community mission. That's part of why, in my recent "Children Are Our Future" blog post, shared that it was particularly discordant when that Children's Hospital lost their way. Hopefully temporarily.

- CEO cyclist at Seattle Children's! That's fabulous. My current CEO and most of our executive team do daily exercise on eliptical or treadmills. Several of our VPs are avid cyclists and several board members are (or were, last I checked) triathletes.

- A far cry from 10 years ago, when I visited the CEO of a multi-hospital system in PA whose executive office reeked of cigar smoke he seemed to pride himself on having an office large enough to comfortably seat several unclean ash trays.

- My wife's organization recently re-located to a centralized campus, also with half-as-many parking spaces as employees, ... and not on a subway line. No bike policy that I'm aware of.

Your blog post story is inspiring.

Gwen, I absolutely LOVE this. There are so many benefits to a program like this, including cutting down emissions, improving overall health and even alloting less space for parking. I applaud Seattle Children's for their innovative thinking. I would love to bike to work, but since I live about an hour away, it's not a reality (and the idea of biking through the Lincoln tunnel - not so appealing). But my husband and I do make an effort to carpool, walk and bike whenever possible. It's a win all-around.