RBF Consulting: Corporate Bike to Work Challenge
The inaugural event was held on September 17, 2010 with subsequent events planned for 2011.
The office of RBF Consulting (RBF), located at 14725 Alton Parkway in Irvine, California, was the location for the event.
Biking to work event s at RBF, a multi-office planning and engineering consulting firm, are coordinated internally by a Bike Committee and are sponsored by RBF Consulting and by the RBF Wellness Works Committees.
This event was RBF's first ever Bike to Work Day and was intended to encouraged employees to bike to work as a healthy and fun alternative to their typical commute. The idea was introduced by members of RBF's Wellness Works Committee, which helped to publicize the event and obtain corporate support for Bike to Work Day throughout the firm's largest office in Irvine. Flyers promoting the event were posted in all office kitchens, throughout hallways, and near restrooms. Emails were also sent out company-wide, which is the standard way to promote events at RBF. A week prior to Bike to Work Day, a "Lunch & Learn" presentation was held to help explain proper bike safety, maintenance, clothing, suitable bicycles, local trails and bike paths, as well as helpful bicycle commuting trips. Bike facilities, such as the locations of bike racks, showers and changing rooms throughout the Irvine office were also discussed.
The idea of participating promoting RBF's firstin a Bike to Work Day was introduced by a few members of RBF's Wellness Works Committee, a group of RBF team members who promote healthy living habits amongst employees company-wide.
RBF's Wellness Works Committee was the primary contributor for the Bike to Work Day, sponsoring both the Lunch & Learn and the actual event. The September 2010 Bike to Work Day coincided with creation of a Bike Committee focused on growing internal knowledge of trails and bike facility planning and design, and strategic marketing to current and potential clients. The Bike Committee is composed of 20-25 people from various locations and seeks to encourage participation in Bike to Work days across all RBF offices.
Eighteen riders participated in Bike to Work Day. Participants gathered in the main patio for a breakfast of juice and fruit. Riders were also encouraged to write the distance they traveled on a poster and those distances were later calculated to estimate the total reduction of greenhouse emissions obtained given employees' participation. The bike to work event removed 277 vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from the local roadways which equated to about 305 pounds of Carbon Dioxide removed from the local air quality. The Mobile Source Emissions Calculations can be seen in the figure below.
RBF's Irvine office is fortunate to be close to many of Irvine and southern Orange County's network of bike trails, paths, and dedicated bike lanes. Public transportation such as OCTA buses and Metrolink commuter trains accommodate bikes and help employees that live far away from the office to still participate in Bike to Work Day. One reasons Bike to Work Day was a success is because of the surrounding bicycle infrastructure that is already in place.
As a prominent planning and engineering firm, RBF has the capacity to conduct sophisticated analysis on their Bike to Work data. They have created an interactive map tracking the number of company bike commuters in addition to their calculations of Greenhouse Gas and VMT reductions.
Overall, the event was a great success. Roughly 7% of RBF's Irvine office staff participated in this event. The most notable "lesson learned" was that the RBF Irvine office could use additional bicycle racks to accommodate more than 6-8 cyclists per day. This is important for future Bike to Work events, especially if the number of future participants grows. The realization that bike racks are limited in size prompted bike commuters at RBF to conduct a company-wide survey of bicycle facilities within each of the 16 RBF offices. Thirteen offices participated in the survey providing an inventory of facilities and amenities for future enhancements to better accommodate cycling. The baseline inventory of facilities and amenities provides information to support Corporate requests for improved facilities when the building lease is renewed/changed at each office location.
Another reason why Bike to Work Day was a success is because RBF provides compensation of $5 per day per employee who commutes to work on their bike. Bike commuting is encouraged company-wide.
At this time, the RBF Bike Committee has scheduled two additional Bike to Work Day events for 2011, with an event desired quarterly. Our next Bike to Work Day will take place on February 25, 2011 throughout RBF's 16 offices. We are looking forward to growing the participation company-wide and are confident the future Bike to Work Day events will be successful. The presence of a passionate cyclist or Bike to Work champion at each office will be crucial to the success of the event on a company-wide level.