|Joe Cox, transportation services project officer, ORS, recently received the 2009 Employee Transportation Champion Award from the Association for Commuter Transportation.
NIH’ers who commute by public transportation are getting a break.
“The allowable maximum subsidy for each NIH Transhare participant is now up to $230 a month,” says Joe Cox, project officer in the Division of Amenities
and Transportation Services, ORS. The subsidy used to be $120.
The increase to Transhare, a federal subsidy for public transportation riders, was authorized by the 2009 economic stimulus package.
Cox works closely with state and local transportation systems, fields questions
from NIH’ers and talks with commuter groups like the NIH Bicycle Commuter Club. Part of his job is explaining how Transhare works.
Created in 1993, Transhare is a fringe benefit for all qualified federal employees in the Washington metropolitan area. Designed as an incentive to get folks on public transportation—vanpool, Metrorail, MARC train, VRE rail or public bus—Transhare is not an intrinsic feature of any transit system,
yet it must dovetail with them.
NIH has around 5,000 Transhare participants, and up to 6,500 in summer.
Cox also represents NIH in the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT), whose mission is to reduce traffic congestion, conserve energy and improve air quality. At its annual conference, held recently in Washington, D.C., Cox won the 2009 Employee Transportation Champion Award.
“It was a total shock to me,” he says. “I didn’t think I had a shot; I hadn’t even prepared a speech.”
He continued, “People came in from all over—New Zealand, Australia—all with ideas on global warming and how to increase public transportation ridership.”
As much of a surprise as the honor was, it makes sense: “NIH has led in Car Free Day [participation] and we’ve won 3 years in a row in Bike to Work Day,” Cox noted. “And each year our numbers keep growing. These are major accomplishments in this area, where large agencies like DOD [Department of Defense], if they wanted to win, they could pull it off.
“I was very proud that NIH was selected for this ACT award,” he continues.
“Our policies help the environment and they help the wallet. It’s an award for our whole division. It’s not mine, really. I can only do good things because I have good bosses. It’s a feather in the cap of NIH.”—