Faced with the decision of investing money in parking stalls or expanding existing medical facilities, Children's decided to institutionalize alternative commuting. This commitment to alternative commuting, such as biking, walking, busing, carpooling and vanpooling has helped make Children's a leader in developing employer-driven solutions to the transportation challenges facing the Puget Sound Region.
On each employee's first day of work, they receive a 30-minute orientation to alternate transportation options and a personalized commute plan listing transit, vanpool, ferry, bike and walk options.
Seattle Children's provides staff with a free ORCA pass which covers 100% of transit fares as well as 50% of vanpool fares in the Puget Sound region. In addition, they provide those staff who walk or bike on to a Washington State Ferry with an ORCA card that covers 100% of their passenger fare.
Seattle Children's provides a daily incentive called the "Commute Bonus" which pays $3.25 for each day that an employee takes an alternative commute to get to work. The program is administered through "MyCommuteTools" a web-based commute calendar that records both parking charges and self-reported alternative commute days. This gives staff an instant snapshot of the cost and the benefits of their commute choices.
MyCommuteTools is also a source of information on all Seattle Children's commute programs, including Children's shuttle schedules for connections to transit hubs and between Children's offices as well as vanpooling and carpooling opportunities. In addition to this website, Children's utilizes the Electronic Bulletin Boards throughout the hospital to advertise sustainable commute modes.
Seattle Children's offers a company bike program that provide a bicycle to staff for their use, free of charge, as long as they bike to work at least twice each week. Currently, there are 200 bicycles in the company bike fleet. They provide tune-up services and safety and maintenance classes on campus as well as discounts at a variety of area bike shops.
In the past year, Children's opened a new in-patient wing on the main campus. This building project included 80 new bicycle parking spaces, a new locker room with showers and towel service, and a new Shuttle Hub to support inter-facility and transit connection options. At the same time, they increased the number of shuttle runs to the University district to enhance transit connections for staff.
As part of Children's Livable Streets Initiative, they completed several pedestrian/bicycle improvements to the neighborhood in partnership with the City of Seattle, including the creation of a neighborhood greenway. Working with the City, they installed a new cross-walk in front of the hospital which will be directly linked via a new bike path to the Burke Gilman trail.
Children's has added to its vehicle fleet to support growth in our regional and local clinic programs, allowing staff to leave personal cars at home. Children's also maintains Zipcars on campus with corporate support for business use.