Argonne promotes exercise, ecology with new bike sharing program

June 11, 2009

ARGONNE, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has launched an on-site bike-sharing program to provide employees with a healthy and green way of getting around.

Argonne is one of the largest DOE national laboratories, employing roughly 2,900 employees and covering 1,500 acres (6.9 sq. km.) of territory. Employees are located in multiple buildings across the site, and often need to travel between buildings during the course of the day.

"It's all about employee wellness," said program manager Michael Dunn. "Employees will be able to bike to meetings in other buildings or take a ride at lunch or after work."

Argonne has partnered with Active Transportation Alliance to develop a program that is functional and beneficial to employees. The program is built as an alternative transportation program focused on environmentally friendly and healthy alternatives to driving an automobile. The Active Transportation Alliance advocates for better biking, walking and transit.

“Companies that encourage biking at their worksites will see healthier, happier and more productive staff,” said Rob Sadowsky, Active Transportation Alliance executive director.

People must sign up for the program and take an on-site safety course given by the Active Transportation Alliance before they are given their official Argonne bike helmet. They will be able to choose one of 75 bicycles that are distributed around the laboratory.

Once the bicycle is parked, it can be used by any of the other program participants. Dunn said about 300 employees have already gone through the training class and many more are scheduled in the coming months. Currently, about 470 employees have registered for the program and that is only expected to grow as the year continues.

"Argonne is known for its research into green technologies, but we are also committed to creating a green lifestyle for our employees," Dunn said.

Bike sharing is becoming more popular as employers — and cities — are investing in green and healthful transportation.

“From Paris, France to Washington D.C. and now at Argonne Laboratory, bike sharing promotes bicycling as a viable transportation option,” Sadowsky said.

About the Active Transportation Alliance

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is North America's largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by more than 6,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.