In response to severe U.S. gas shortages and rising fuel costs in the early 1970s, TI sought ways to curtail transportation-related expenses. As the company grew, we established a formal Dallas-based employee trip-reduction program in 1996 called “Commute Solutions”.
Today, as TI's operations have extended globally, so too has our support for cleaner and more efficient transportation options. This employee commuting program, efficient fleet and product distribution continue to improve air quality and employees' health and productivity.
Throughout the world, employees' transportation needs vary depending on their work location, proximity to congested areas, distance from home to work and individual circumstances. We offer alternative employee commuting options including mass transit, van and carpools, and shuttles. In addition, we support cycling and work flexibility and encourage alternative commuting with on-site facilities and services and education.
Our headquarters and some manufacturing sites are located in Dallas, Texas, which sits within a region the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated a "nonattainment area" under the Clean Air Act (the region fails to meet the federal air-quality standard for ozone air pollution). Our site in Santa Clara, Calif., is also located in an ozone nonattainment area.
Because North Texas is where our single largest employee population resides, we voluntarily and aggressively promote reasonable alternatives to driving to work alone. The Commute Solutions program subsidizes vanpools and mass transit and offers bicycle-friendly amenities, shuttle service between sites and flexible work options, among other benefits. This is one way we are voluntarily doing our part to reduce congestion and contribute to better air quality.
The Commute Solutions team leads this program in North Texas, manages global activities such as Bike to Work Day, and helps facilitate relevant site commute solutions as needed. Some larger sites globally also have employee trip coordinators, who engage and educate employees to increase participation in alternative transportation programs.
The program’s mission is to coax employees away from driving to work alone and into less polluting means of transportation that would reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and contribute to a better quality of life. A team of transportation, human resources, communications and facilities experts coordinates the program, which has evolved and received local and national awards and recognitions.
TI began subsidizing mass transit passes for Dallas-area employees in 2005 to encourage use of the local train and bus systems. The availability of subsidized passes and the opening of light rail stations near our facilities increased Dallas employees' use of mass transit
Vanpools provide a low-cost alternative for many North Texas employees to commute to work. TI subsidizes the cost for the vans, and the riders split the cost of gas and tolls. The vans transport 10 to 15 employees, which removes the equivalent of up to 14 cars and subsequent emissions from the road per van trip.
Volunteer vanpool captains drive the vehicles and are responsible for maintenance and cleaning. Our vanpools are qualified to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes and receive premium parking spaces, thus getting employees to work faster, rested and with less hassle. Ridership turnover on our vanpools is very low, indicating high rider satisfaction. Currently, we have 46 vanpools serving the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Some other employees form carpools through TI’s ridesharing match database and/or the North Texas Council of Governments' ride-sharing match service. In the Philippines, Malaysia, China and Mexico, we provide buses and jeeps to ferry employees to and from work.
At campuses in Dallas and Plano, Texas, and Santa Clara, Calif., employees can take advantage of free shuttle service for traveling between buildings, or to and from nearby mass-transit stations. At our main campus, shuttles also provide employees with drop-off and pick-up service to nearby businesses.
We began encouraging employees to bike to work about a decade ago, when we held our first Bike to Work Day for Dallas-area employees. That program has since expanded internationally.
For employees who live in congested areas (such as Chengdu, China) or relatively near our facilities, bicycling to work is an inexpensive, clean and easy way to commute. U.S. facilities in Tucson, Ariz., Fort Collins, Colo., and Plano, Texas, are located near city-supported bicycle routes that provide safe paths for commuting.
With the increase in employee interest, sites are beginning to install bike racks and other facilities to accommodate cyclists. At our Dallas headquarters and fitness facility, we have installed bicycle repair stations.
Additionally, some employees serve as bicycling champions. In Melaka and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, TI bike champions recruit cyclists for group touring rides. In Santa Clara, Calif., a group of cyclists regularly meet after work for a group ride. Dallas area employees volunteer their time to repair donated bicycles for a local non-profit organization.
For our efforts in support of cycling, the League of American Bicyclists designated TI a "Bicycle-Friendly Business." TI was the first business in North Texas to receive bicycle-friendly recognition.
Some transportation strategies have nothing to do with wheels. For example:
Where transportation is needed, we continue growing as a bicycle-friendly business. For example:
Where possible, we provide flexible work options for employees to commute during non-peak times or to eliminate the need to drive to work. We know that we can achieve the best results if all employees, as their position permits, can work at the times and locations that best promote creativity, quality, teamwork and productivity. We believe that what is produced is more important than when or where it is achieved.
Employee engagement and education are integral to the success of our Commute Solutions programs globally. To make commuting easier, our global Commute Solutions website offers:
Employees can contact the Commute Solutions team to ask questions, share concerns or make recommendations. Additionally, during high-ozone days, we post signs at facility entrances to encourage employees to be cognizant of the current air-quality conditions and to use alternative forms of transportation.
Our small fleet of about 145 company vehicles primarily includes sedans, utility vehicles, light- and medium-duty trucks, vans, and five gas/electric hybrids at our North Texas sites. Depending on the need, we match vehicles to their ideal use; for example, trucks to haul equipment for maintenance purposes or vans to transport employees.
To ensure optimum performance, we conduct annual emissions and safety inspections. For vehicles that have been driven more than 100,000 miles, we perform emissions inspections quarterly.
We ship thousands of products to multiple customers around the globe when and where they need them. This is no small task. And with about 90 percent of our product sales outside the U.S., it is incumbent upon us to identify the most efficient modes of transportation to improve our bottom line and reduce our carbon footprint.
Our "just-in-time" shipping strategy leverages some of the world's largest transportation service providers to streamline our shipment process. We also strategically place our distribution centers and select our suppliers to ensure that we can continually deliver our products in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.
To facilitate efficiency, we deliberately locate our distribution centers to shorten routes, eliminate multiple product handling for individual customers, and pack the largest volume of products we can into each shipment. We also seek to limit air freight, as it is the most expensive mode of transportation.
We continuously engage our business units to ensure that we can fulfill anticipated orders. We track shipments and our efficiency progress using an automated system that records daily activities worldwide.
Both our customers and the countries where we operate have different shipment-label requirements based on the type of material shipped. It is an ongoing objective to comply with these ever-changing regulations and import/export laws, while still ensuring the timely delivery of our products.