To qualify for BizCycle certification, Cascade needed to set a goal to increase the number of staff who regularly bike to work. After surveying the commute habits of our staff, our bicycle mode mode split—the percentage of employees who commute to work by bike on average—was found to be about 32%. We can do better than that!
A goal should be both motivating and achievable with a reasonable rate of increase. A goal should also consider context, including the average bicycle mode split for the area, what’s happening at similar organizations, and what’s likely among your employees. Finally, a goal should take into account plans to implement future programs and policies to increase bicycling.
Thus, to develop a three-year goal mode split for Cascade to increase bicycling to by 2016, I went through the following thought process:
- Overall, 3.5% of commuters bike to work in Seattle. Thirty-two percent is already impressive for a business, and may present a challenge to push higher.
- Among bicycle-focused businesses, 32% may actually be low. BizCycle’s first applicant, Washington Bike Law, reported that over 90% of employee trips were made by bicycle.
- Cascade has 36 staff, the organizations I’ve encountered with bicycling rates nearing 90% of commuters have fewer than 5 employees, and
- Our Magnuson Park office is not centrally located relative to where staff live and/or send their kids to school
- According to data collected in the mode split survey, 56% of employees live within seven miles of the office. We normally recommend a five-mile ‘reasonably bikeable’ radius, but it was found that only 9% of employees surveyed lived within five miles of the office, thus many more employees living further were still able and interested in bicycling to work. Magnuson’s proximity to the Burke-Gilman trail extends the range of what many would consider an easy commute.
- In our goal-setting guidance document, we recommend setting a goal for a ten percent increase in the bicycle mode split percentage each year. This means increasing Cascade’s bicycle mode split by 3.2% each year for a mode split of about 42% in 2016.
- Recognizing that our mode split for October is lower than the yearly average that would be inflated by increased rates of bicycling in the more pleasant summer months, we rounded our three-year mode split goal for bicycling to a yearly average of 45%. Additionally, Cascade now has plans to measure bicycling again in July to gain a better understanding of seasonal variation and begin to set seasonal goals.
With a baseline mode split (32%) and an audacious three-year goal set (45% by 2016), Cascade is ready to move forward in the BizCycle process. Looks like it’s time to crunch the numbers and see how we score–stay tuned!