Between 2006 and 2013, the percentage of employees arriving at Herrera Environmental Consultants either by bike or on foot (aggregated under “Human Power” in the chart to the right) grew from just 10 percent to 41 percent. Over the same period, car use declined from 60 percent of commuters to 28 percent. Herrera’s work to encourage bicycling to the office has not only demonstrated results in fewer car trips, but also earned the Belltown-based engineering and scientific consulting firm Gold level BizCycle certification.
What is Herrera doing that works? To start, the company offers a $20 per month incentive for alternative commuting that can be put toward bicycle maintenance and supplies. Dylan Ahearn, Associate Water Quality Scientist at Herrera, tells us the incentive is increasing to $30, and going through the BizCycle application process helped bring the change to the company’s attention. “The program was a great way to remind us to stay current with our incentive programs and to push even harder to make biking to work attractive, safe and convenient,” remarked Ahearn.
While there’s already a bike culture at Herrera, with summer social rides and a mode split of 37 percent as evidence, certification prompted a few new ideas to encourage bicycle commuting: improvements to the building’s bicycle maintenance area, more frequent bicycle-related brown bag lunch sessions and a monthly raffle for membership to the Via6 Bike Club, conveniently located right across the street from the office.
Before undergoing certification, Herrera polled staff on commute habits and barriers to bicycling. Weather and safety were among the top concerns. While these environmental engineers have yet to engineer a solution to the rain, to influence safer streets Herrera encourages employees to get involved in the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan Update, allows flexible scheduling to attend the meetings and generally keeps staff informed about opportunities for input and engagement.
Gold level BizCycle organizations are leaders in both internal support and external engagement best practices to promote bicycling. Congratulations to Herrera! The company joins twenty other organizations across the region as a bike-friendly workplace.