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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Nike - Beaverton, OR

FAST FACTS ABOUT: Nike - Beaverton, OR
Types of TDM:
Time Shift, Modal Shift
Keywords: Internal Rideshare Technology, Incentives, Flextime, Relocation, Transit Subsidy, Bike Commute
Employer Demographics: Located in a suburban business park, bus and light rail service, ample parking. 5,000 employees at world headquarters.
Program: Evolution of incentive based program from Nike Buck giveaway to TRAC program featuring prize incentives, transit and rail subsidy, preferential parking, shuttle, service amenities and flextime.
Results: 78% SOV, 10% carpool, 5% bus/rail, 5% flextime, 2% bike
Cost of Program:.$302,000 annually plus staff time. 43% of expenditures go to shuttle operations, 34% to transit subsidies, 6% to incentives, 1% to marketing, remainder to other expenses.
Staff: 1 FTE , Transportation Specialist dedicates 150 hours a month to the TRAC program.
Contact: Linda Bainbridge,



Nike Bucks
The Nike Corporation has a history of supporting alternative mode usage through the creation of aggressive employee transportation benefits. In 1991, when upper management decided to relocate Nike’s World Headquarters (WHQ) to a suburb outside of Portland, Oregon, they recognized the opportunity to save money by building fewer parking spaces and promoting carpool, vanpool and the overall use of alternative modes. In 1992 when Nike moved its WHQ to Beaverton, Oregon they introduced the incentive based Nike Bucks program. Alternative mode users could choose between receiving $1.00 a day in a Nike Buck voucher or a $21.00 bus pass subsidy. The Nike Buck vouchers could be used at on-site cafeterias, shops and Nike stores. The Nike Bucks program was initially only available to employees housed at the new WHQ, but due to its popularity, the program was expanded to include Nike’s Portland area retail stores and Portland’s Niketown. Ensuring employees outside the WHQ were indeed utilizing alternative modes became more and more difficult. By 1996, management began to question the overall effectiveness of the program as it became more difficult to manage and monitor.

1996: Mandates, Economics and Reevaluating Programs
At the same time Nike management began to reevaluate the Nike Bucks program, the State of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) established a commute trip reduction mandate (titled the Employee Commute Options program or ECO) aimed at employers in the Portland area with more than 50 employees reporting to a single work site. Beginning in 1996, affected employers were required to provide incentives and programs for employee use of alternative commute options. Employers were now required to reduce single-occupancy vehicle commuting by 10 percent over three years. As 5,000 employees reported daily to Nike’s WHQ in Beaverton, Nike was affected by the new mandate. By the time the mandate became law, Nike had been working on reducing SOV commuting for three years. After consultation with the DEQ, Nike was given permission to utilize their 1992 levels of SOV usage for base line data purposes.

Layered upon the growing difficulty of monitoring the Nike Buck program and the new local mandate was the 1996 Asian economic downturn’s impact on Nike. The Asian economic downturn resulted in huge layoffs at Nike as well as a corporate-wide reevaluation of every Nike program. As such, management questioned whether or not the hard to track $250,000 a year Nike Buck price tag was the best way to encourage alternative mode usage.

A New Program
With upper management’s support, Nike’s Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC) gathered employees from various departments to create a new, cost-effective and easy to manage transportation benefits program. With management’s support, they decided to retain an incentive based program but to alter the incentive to a large quarterly drawing with smaller monthly drawing. At first employees that participated in the Nike Bucks program were resistant to changes and the alternative mode usage decreased when the new prize-oriented program was implemented. The ETC marketed the program through a transportation fair, newsletters, flyers and posters and soon, interest in the prizes and utilizing alternative modes increased. The ETC and employee planning group named the new program TRAC.

To encourage rail usage, Nike sponsors a shuttle to transport employees to and from the light rail station, which is located about 1/2 mile from the World Headquarters campus.

In addition to the prize incentives, Nike also developed transit subsidies and carpool incentives. Since 1996, all WHQ employees have been eligible to receive a transit pass for the local bus and light rail system. Nike subsidizes the cost of an annual bus/rail pass by 72% and the WHQ are well served by both bus and light rail service. To encourage rail usage, Nike sponsors a shuttle to transport employees to and from the light rail station, which is located about 1/2 mile from the WHQ campus. All bus pass holders are eligible to participate in the Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program, which is administered by the local transit authority, TriMet. The ETC promotes carpooling through the use of an in-house rideshare matching list and the presence of preferential carpool parking. Nike also supports a flextime policy allowing employees to work with their supervisors to determine the best schedule most appropriate for them and their workload.

Commuting by Bike and Building Amenities
Nike’s ETC provides a variety of services for bike commuters, and interested bike commuters. Upon request, the ETC will work with employees to map out the safest bike route, provide regional and local bike resources and information to assist with their commutes, and promote bike specific events to all employees. Nike has two fitness centers for employee use and bike commuters can easily access the showers and locker room. Nike also provides bike racks scattered around the campus and bike cages in the fitness center area. Furthermore, employees are allowed to bring bikes into the building and store them in their offices. Bike commuters are eligible to participate in the monthly and quarterly drawings.

In addition to the two fitness centers, Nike’s WHQ features a variety of on-site amenities designed to limit SOV and vehicle usage during the workday. Nike employees can access quality childcare at one of the two on-campus childcare centers. Employees that need childcare for only a short time can utilize the Nike Tykes drop off program when regular care is unavailable. Nike’s WHQ campus also features two sundry stores, dry cleaning service, beauty salon, an ATM and on-site movie ticket sales.

Goals and Evaluation
Nike’s extensive transportation benefits program and the presence of a variety of on-site building amenities stems from the company’s commitment to environmental leadership and sustainable practices. Although Nike is affected by local commute mandates, their commitment to promoting alternative mode usage existed prior to the mandates. Today, Nike’s goals revolve around the ECO mandate, which includes reporting progress towards meeting the specific mandate goals every two years. Additionally, Nike tracks awareness of and participation in the TRAC program through a newly developed in-house technology. This new technology allows alternative mode users to report their commute mode on a weekly basis. The ETC can utilize information garnered from the employees for both evaluation and targeted marketing. Additionally, the employees are automatically entered into drawings each time they register their commute modes.

Nike’s SOV rate in 1992 was 98%. Since moving the WHQ’s and implementing the Nike Buck and TRAC programs, Nike’s SOV rate has reduced to 78%. 10% of employees carpool, 2% bike, 5% use bus and rail and 5% use flextime. Employees provide the ETC with feedback and ideas for program improvement and the ETC is given flexibility from upper management to make appropriate changes when necessary. Nike’s ETC is actively involved with the local TMA and is on the MPOs TDM subcommittee. Nike’s transportation programs have resulted in numerous recognitions and awards including recognition as a “Best Workplace for Commuters” by the EPA.


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