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Business leaders helping reshape our daily commute receive Diamond Awards

Summary

Business leaders helping reshape our daily commute receive Diamond Awards

Story

18 businesses honored for offering employees more commute choices

They are the heroes of the morning commute – the people you may not think about as you head out the door to meet the bus or vanpool. 

For two decades, more than 500 of King County’s largest employers have been leading the way in helping an estimated 350,000 workers find new or different ways of getting to work – choices that are helping to ease our daily commute.

Today, 18 businesses and organizations were the latest winners honored as part of the 20th Annual Diamond Awards. The awards were sponsored by King County Metro Transit, Commute Seattle, Puget Sound Regional Council, Washington State Department of Transportation and the cities of Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, Des Moines, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond, Renton, Seattle, SeaTac, Shoreline, Tukwila and Woodinville.

"Our business community is partnering with government to reduce drive-alone trips, leading the way to keep this region moving – and our economy growing,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

The recipients of this year’s Diamond Awards vary in size and location – but they have one thing in common – a desire to leave the smallest footprint possible on our commute.

What they’re doing:

  • BECU has set a goal of being completely carbon neutral by 2035 – the year it celebrates its 100th Anniversary. Managing employee commutes is an integral part of the company vision. It’s an ambitious vision that will earn BECU a symbolic Diamond Ring.
  • CH2M Hill is going the extra mile when it comes to sustainable practices. The company offers a 50 percent transit subsidy (which includes vanpool fares), operates an employee shuttle between its Bellevue Office and the transit center, has a policy that allows employees to work from home, and a loaner bicycle fleet. The results? Only 31 percent of employees at their Bellevue office drive alone to work.
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital has been a leader in smart transportation for many years. It offers a variety of programs to encourage employees to reduce their driving. Staff receives a free transit pass, and a daily commute bonus is paid to employees who leave their car at home. Children’s also offers a program that provides a bicycle for employees who pledge to ride to work twice a week. In addition, the hospital has partnered with neighboring communities and the city of Seattle on the Seattle Children’s Livable Streets initiative (LSI), a hospital funded program designed to improve transportation and safety around the hospital. As part of the LSI, Children’s has built a 1.5 mile greenway that connects local parks and schools to the Burke-Gilman Trail.
  • For more than 20 years, the University of Washington has earned top marks for getting students, staff, and faculty to campus each day. The U-PASS has served as a model for the region – daily vehicle trips to campus in 2012 were 29 percent lower than they were before the creation of the pass program! And UW continues to innovate: five self-service bicycle repair stations were installed throughout campus, partnerships with the academic community have been leveraged to increase the promotion of walking and ridesharing, and UW is pursuing federal funding to improve and expand the Burke-Gilman Trail to better serve the campus.

In addition to these top Diamond Ring award winners, several other area companies and individuals were honored for their leadership and special achievement in reducing drive alone trips. To learn more about their accomplishments, visit the 2013 Diamond Awards website.

The county’s commute reduction programs are responsible for taking about 15,000 cars off the road each day as more employees commute to work by bus, train, vanpool, walking or biking. These reduced trips save 7.7 million gallons of fuel each year and nearly $30 million in savings at the pump. 

But many local employers know even more must be done to keep traffic moving. That’s why they have come together to seek a new state transportation package that includes additional local funding options.

By leaving their cars at home, employees are also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 71,000 metric tons annually – equal to the amount of carbon found in 300 railcars’ worth of coal.