Employees power transportation program to awards

Employee Transportation Program Manager Hossein Barahimi holds one of seven awards received by King County from the City of Seattle Commute Trip Reduction Program.

Employee Transportation Program Manager Hossein Barahimi holds one of seven awards received by King County from the City of Seattle Commute Trip Reduction Program.

In 1991 the State of Washington turned to large employers like King County to help reduce the number of vehicles on Washington’s roads, and the impact those vehicles were having on air quality.

That year, the Commute Trip Reduction Law was passed as part of Washington Clean Air Act, requiring employers who have more than 100 employees to offer alternative modes of transportation to and from work.

At King County it started with offering employees free transportation on Metro buses. And it didn’t stop there.

Hossein Barahimi, the Employee Transportation Program Manager, said that he listened to employees and how they wanted to get to work. From riding the bus, or bike, to carpooling with other employees, Barahimi found a way to provide healthy options for both people and the environment. The County now offers incentives like gift cards to REI to entice employees to give up their car and find a different way to get to work.

“My goal is to do the right thing regardless of recognition,” Barahimi said. “I am always thinking of what educational pieces and incentives we can use to get our employees to leave their cars at home.”

It certainly works. King County recently received seven awards from the City of Seattle Commute Trip Reduction Program 2016 awards. The awards were given to seven different buildings, based off the criteria of performance, programing and engagement. Performance points were awarded to buildings that had the lowest drive-alone rate; programming points were awarded to organizations that had different options to entice green travel or options to work from home; and engagement points were given to promotional campaigns, networking and training seminars the employer hosted or attended.

Hossein accepted the awards on behalf of King County, but says it's really the employees

Hossein accepted the awards on behalf of King County, but says it’s really the employees who deserve the awards.

While Barahimi was the one to accept the awards, he says it is the employees who really deserve the awards.

“I am very proud of our employees,” Barahimi said. “They are the ones who contribute to the program. Results don’t happen without people.”

Barahimi suggests trying out a different mode of transportation for a month. With the many different options the Employee Transportation Program has to offer, there is one for everyone, he says. Many employees become dedicated – he says he sees employees who on rainy days will ride the bus part way to work and then bike the rest, so determined to continue their low-impact commute.

Barahimi plans on giving the awards to the County’s buildings that received them so that the employees who earned the awards can appreciate them.

Find out about the transportation benefits for King County employees on the Employee Transportation Program webpage.