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Boeing Photo: Mike Goettings
Biking to work may be common in comfortable climates like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. But doing it in the Arizona desert around Boeing’s rotorcraft facility in Mesa, where summer temperatures reach 115° F (46° C), is an entirely different matter.
Yet, Boeing materials engineer Kamden Reedy rides 30 minutes to work each day, as he has for the past four years. He encounters some interesting things -- tumbleweed, roadrunners, lizards, coyotes, wild boars and horses – as he helps Boeing reduce the environmental impact of its operations.
“Since I’ve started, there are more and more people commuting by bicycle. The site does a lot to encourage it.”
“The bottom line is that Boeing is committed to reducing the environmental footprint, supporting alternative commuting options and meeting various regional regulatory requirements,” said Wendy Weaver, the company-wide commuting manager.
According to a 2009 employee commuter survey, 36 percent of Boeing employees in the U.S. are doing something to get cars off the road, including biking, walking, taking public transportation, carpooling or vanpooling in publicly owned vans operated by employees, telecommuting or working flexible hours.
Reedy sees that even in the heat of Mesa. “Since I’ve started, there are more and more people commuting by bicycle. The site does a lot to encourage it.”
A designated lane takes Mesa riders through the security gate and they have access to showers and lockers in the fitness center. There’s also a bike tool kit loan program and quarterly drawings for a $300 gift certificate from local bicycle retailers.
Boeing provides many programs that encourage people to find alternatives to a solo car ride to work. Those include a free ride-matching service, a pre-tax commute program for users of public transit and vanpools, and options to work flexible hours or at home.
According to the 2010 environment report Boeing issued earlier this year, the company is targeting an 18 percent increase in employee participation in commuting programs by 2012 and a five percent annual reduction in distances employees drive to work.
That kind of progress can add up. Last year, employees in Everett, WA avoided driving about 84 million miles (117 million kilometers) in personal vehicles by using public transportation, vanpools and other alternatives.