Health is important wherever we go, and many workplaces are recognizing the importance of staying healthy, both for the purpose of employees’ well-being and productivity in the workplace. The Centers for Disease Control provides this information page about health at work, and staying healthy to avoid chronic disease.
Maddie Romansic, Program Assistant at the NN/LM PNR, serves as a Commute Ambassador for the University of Washington’s Transportation Services, encouraging others to bike or use alternate forms of commuting to work. The Commute Ambassadors share their knowledge and excitement about different ways to commute, and help other design a healthy program. Here is Maddie’s story.
Transportation Services at University of Washington has grown a lot in the past year. They’ve added some new programs that help encourage healthy active commuting, and save you money. These will be particularly useful if you work at the UW, but even if you don’t, these programs can provide a great example and inspiration for re-imagining your daily commute, or even getting something similar started at your workplace.
I first want to introduce my personal favorite new program, called the “Bike Buddy” program, which connects would-be riders with experienced bike commuters who also commute from the same neighborhood. Once matched with a bike buddy, you get to figure out an arrangement that works for you—it might be commuting together a few times, or just meeting to glean tips and tricks for getting from your neighborhood to campus. I’m personally signed up to be a bike buddy, and there are hundreds more, scattered far and wide all over Seattle and even beyond. I recommend checking it out if you have considered bike commuting but are finding it daunting to get started alone. See more information here.
If you don’t work at UW here is an informative and inspiring video on getting started with biking in a city. I must admit, the “Copenhagen Left” really comes in handy when traffic is busy. Many UW employees even commute by bike with their kids in tow. In this blog post, a few such employees were interviewed, and they show how easy and rewarding it can be.
Another awesome resource is the “Commute Concierge” at UW Transportation Services. Employees submit information to get personalized commute plans within just a few days. Actual people — not just computer algorithms — take a holistic approach to determining optimum commutes; considering factors such as how long it takes, how pleasurable it is, what your abilities are, etc. This is especially great for newcomers to the city who are overwhelmed trying to sort out all the different possible modes of transportation, but it could be useful to anyone who thinks their current commute could be better. Explore your options here.
Most of us spend a pretty significant chunk of our lives commuting, so hopefully this information will help plant some ideas about how to make that time more enjoyable!