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URS biking Olympia promotes alternative transport

URS biking Olympia promotes alternative transport

The Games are coming to Auckland for Go by Bike week (24 February- 4 March).

Staff at URS’s Auckland office will team up with colleagues from other work groups and bike a 2km circuit on a tandem bike to promote more climate-friendly forms of transport. This ‘Olympic’ circuit will qualify them for the National Bikewise Business Battle run by the Health Safety Council – an inter-business challenge that encourages people to give biking a go.

URS, which is involved in engineering and environmental management for many of New Zealand’s large roading projects, is holding an ‘Alternative Transport Week’ during the national Go by Bike week to get people to use transport that is better for the environment. All staff are being encouraged to cycle, walk, bus, train, kayak, rollerblade or car pool to work during the week in the interests of getting fit, saving money and helping the environment.

Staff who come up with the most innovative ways of getting to work will win prizes. In 2005 a staff member kayaked to work and others have taken to rollerblades. Prizes will be given to staff who walk or bike the furthest, who significantly change their commuting habits and who make a difference by car pooling.

URS supports Alternative Transport Week by reinbursing staff for bus and train tickets for the week and running an annual Travel Survey. This helps staff work out their most efficient way of getting to work, lets them know of people in their areas with whom they can carpool and measures commuting habits to see where the company can improve reductions on CO2 emissions. In 2006 work related travel and commuting at URS was reduced by 11% per full time employee.

URS Graduate Mechanical Engineer: Carl Chenery started rollerblading to work during last year’s URS Alternative Transport Week. ‘‘I’m rollerblading to and from work – from Parnell,” he says. “It’s faster, cheaper and better for me than the Link bus.”

Another colleague says she walked to and from work most of the week instead of using her car. “The only non-sustainable resource would perhaps be the rubber soles of my shoes.”.

This year URS is encouraging their clients to get involved in Alternative Transport Week. URS will provide morning tea to the client who wins the Bike Wise Business Battle in each region where they have an office and will invite them to join URS for the Go By Bike Breakfast in Auckland, Wellington, and Tauranga.

The Sustainability Team at URS, a group set up to encourage and monitor issues that deal with envionmental, social, cultural and econmonic initatives, sees Alternative Transport Week as a great way of reminding people about CO2 emmisions and the environment.

“We find that staff talk about these events with family and friends and this helps spreads the word throughtout the community,” Ana Dermer says.

URS produces a Sustainability report The Things We Value, and is currently working on its sixth report.

ENDS

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