Guest Blog by: Paulo Nunes-Ueno,  Transportation Director at Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s staff have had a culture of alternative commuting for a while, but the coming expansion of the hospital is making those efforts even more important. This year, Seattle Children’s Transportation Department has rolled out several new initiatives to help staff get to work other than by driving alone – and we’re seeing positive results already!

Late last year the Transportation Department revamped its parking charge and commute bonus system to make alternative commuting more rewarding. Staff began using an online commute calendar to report how they got to work and collect a bonus of $3.25 each day they leave the keys at home. In addition to the benefit of the commute bonus, staff also save a ton of money by not driving ($2M!). All told, in 2010 alone, Children’s alternative commuting efforts have taken 630,000 car trips off the roads and freeways, reduced vehicle miles travelled by 6.5 million miles (the equivalent of 13 trips to the moon and back!!!), and saved 235,000 gallons of gas.

Children’s Company Bike Program, which equips staff who would like to ride to work with their own bike, is in its third successful year. In 2010 we invested in and expanded the program by refurbishing and updating dozens of bikes, and revamping our bike tune-up program.. As a result, we have seen the number of staff who bike to work at least occasionally grow by 11% this year to 280, and the number of bike trips grow 8.5% to 2,250 in November (that’s in the winter too… we had over 3,500 trips in May!).

We have also made it easier for staff to get to work using transit. This year Children’s continued to improve on our popular shuttle service between the hospital and major transit hubs. This service helped our staff take over 338,000 commute trips on buses, trains, and ferries in 2010.

We plan to keep expanding and improving our alternative transportation programs next year and beyond, so we continue to see reductions in the rate of driving alone. Transit, ridesharing and bicycling will see new programs and initiatives, and we expect the results to keep on coming!