Oregon State University took home the top hardware in an employer competition on transportation options.
OSU took gold honors in the inaugural Employment Transportation Coordinator challenge, a joint project of the city of Corvallis and the Cascades West Council of Governments, with funding assistance from the Oregon Department of Transportation.
A total of 20 employers participate in the program, which encourages businesses to participate in events, outreach and activities that promote transportation options.
OSU was given the gold award for its “robust participation” in transportation initiatives, said Fred Abousleman, executive director of the Cascades West Council of Governments. First Alternative Co-op received a silver honor and HP Inc. and Samaritan Square took bronze.
“The overall goal is to reduce the number (of people) who are driving alone,” said Meredith Williams, OSU’s director of transportation services, who noted the financial and environmental impacts of driving alone.
Williams said it is the goal of the university to “offer a diverse set of transportation options” but that it was up to faculty, staff and students to “find the best fit for themselves.”
Initiatives that helped OSU’s cause, Williams said, include improvement at forming carpool and vanpool groups, increasing the amount of bicycle parking, creating a zonal parking system for the campus and events such as the annual Be Bright Be Seen bicycle safety fair. Williams said the university wants to work with local bike shops to offer repair training and reboot its bike loan program.
“Biking is such a big mode share both on campus and in the city of Corvallis,” Williams said.
Here is a look at the other winners:
• “We’re excited to be recognized in this area as it’s a part of our mission to be a model for environmental sustainability,” said Cindee Lolik, First Alternative Co-Op general manager.
The co-op has a program in which employees track their alternative transportation and when they fill their card they receive $5 off on any store purchase. The co-op also offers secure areas for customers to lock their bikes and participates in Car Free Day.
• Eric Cornelius, facilities manager at Samaritan Square, noted that the site has added an indoor bike room and offers a Go Green and Earn Green internal program to encourage carpooling.
“We were very pleased and pleasantly surprised to receive the bronze,” Cornelius said.
• Reed Lacy, who works in HP’s sustainability office, noted efforts by the company in covered bicycle parking, an indoor bus waiting room, electric car charging and preferential carpool parking, carpool-vanpool networking options and indoor showers.
“HP is pleased to be recognized as part of the ETC challenge,” said Lacey, who added that participating in the program has led to interaction with other companies and hearing about “great ideas to take back to HP.”
OSU and the other three winners received plaques at a Jan. 13 ceremony at the Madison Avenue Meeting Room.