Consider Commuting Possibilities
Of course, one commuter solution does not fit all. We all play a part in making sure the mission of NIH continues to move forward. Being flexible and considering all available options helps supervisors and employees brace for more BRAC issues.
Based on NIH’s most recent telework data, NIH has 13,313 employees who are eligible to telework and 7,754 who are currently on telework agreements. If you are eligible, work with your supervisor to set up an effective telework plan or expand your existing plan. Visit http://Telework.od.nih.gov for more information.
Change Your Work Hours
If you have to drive, consider changing your hours or your Alternative Work Schedule day to miss the heavy traffic days, typically Tuesday through Thursday. NIH has 3,983 employees using AWS. Approximately 41 percent take Friday as their AWS day and 30 percent take Monday. This minimizes traffic on those days but those are also the most common telework days. With your supervisor’s approval, consider making Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday your AWS day and come to work on Monday or Friday, when traffic is lighter.
Studies by ORS/DATS have shown the ideal time to arrive at NIH is before 7 a.m.; the best time to leave is after 6 p.m. Consider a gliding schedule that will let you arrive earlier or leave later than peak traffic times. Embrace Maxiflex. The Maxiflex Pilot Program is a 6-month pilot initiative offering a new flexible work schedule to employees at NIH. Maxiflex gives managers the flexibility to meet operational needs while supporting employee work/life needs. Some features of Maxiflex are expanded flexible hours—work day can start as early as 5 a.m. and end as late as midnight; split workday— an employee can work part of the day in the office, part of the day teleworking; and, the option to work on Saturdays. These new flexibilities will reduce vehicle traffic on the main campus as well as ultimately reduce the need for physical office space. Visit http://intrahr.od.nih.gov/benefits/leave/MaxiFlexPilot.pdf for detailed information about the program.
Use Available Technologies
Use teleconferencing and Office Communicator for instant messaging or video chats as well as NIH Web Collaboration Connect for meetings instead of driving to a location on campus. Using these technologies saves drive time and parking frustrations. Visit the NIH Telework Resources page to view options: http://hr.od.nih.gov/workingatnih/ telework/resources.htm
Use Alternative Transportation
Several alternative transportation options are available. ORS/DATS has assisted employees with decreasing approximately 45,794,105 miles annually through the promotion and use of alternative commuting. DATS oversees 157 registered carpools, 14 registered vanpools, more than 400 carpool spaces, 600 bicyclists, 13 shuttle buses, 6,000 employees in the NIH Transhare Program and a large contingent of pedestrians.
Carpool and take advantage of reserved parking spaces until 9:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. Vanpools can request a reserved space in the lot of their choice and riders may qualify for Transhare. For details about specific routes, visit www.ors.od.nih.gov/pes/dats/transportation/
Transhare provides qualified NIH federal employees with a transit subsidy to offset travel expenses incurred between work and home. Transhare can be used for mass transit, including vanpools, buses, subway and trains. For more information, visit www.ors.od.nih.gov/pes/dats/transportation/ Pages/transhare.aspx.
Bicycle to work. Bike racks and lockers located throughout the campus have the capacity to secure approximately 700 bicycles. Several buildings both on- and off-campus have shower and locker facilities that cyclists may use when commuting. In response to bicycling enthusiasm at NIH, DATS implemented the NIH Bicycle Subsidy Program. Some 100 bicycle commuters have given up parking and Transhare privileges to participate. For details, visit www.ors.od.nih.gov/pes/dats/transportation/ NIHBicycleProgram/Pages/default.aspx.
Take the NIH shuttles to limit use of personal vehicles for work-related commuting on campus, as well as to and from NIH facilities off campus. One shuttle route, located at the Mid-Pike Plaza commuter parking lot on Rockville Pike adjacent to Montrose Rd., is dedicated to servicing a satellite parking area that is used for commuters and individuals who reside nearby. Several of the vehicles also have bicycle racks on them.
For BRAC information and other updates and solutions, visit http://traffic.nih.gov. Montgomery County BRAC is now on Twitter: @BracMoCoMD. Get further details at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/BRAC.