BFB Spotlight: Walmart HQ
Following our announcement yesterday, Walmart’s Home Office in Bentonville, Arkansas, is one of the newest Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Businesses.
The 23,000+ employee headquarters has an 120-bike bike share system on the campus, a 12-month educational program to encourage employees and their families to ride more, and has partnered with the city of Bentonville on events in the community.
“Walmart is honored to be named a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business,” said David Hoke, Sr. Director, Associate Health and Well-Being at Walmart. “With our innovative Bike Share program and over 8 miles of trails surrounding our home office campus, our associates can improve their health and well-being while at the same time helping to reduce our carbon footprint and supporting our company’s commitment to sustainability.”
This week, we’re sharing some highlights from our latest round of 161 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses. Today, we take a deeper dive on the strides Walmart’s Home Office has taken. The following excerpts are from their application to the program.
12 MONTHS OF BIKING EDUCATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT PROGRAM
Riders on the Home Office’s Bright Light Fright Ride. They teamed up with Bike Bentonville to plan the nighttime bike ride, with more than 75 Walmart associates and their children riding along. The ride is part of the Home Office’s 12 Months of Biking Program.
“Our 12 Months of Biking Program offers a different educational topic or bike event every month. Topics range from basic bike mechanics, how to ride a bike, support of National Bike Month including Bike to Work and Bike to School Day and events such as our Glow Ride and Bright Lights Fright Night. We have partnered with Bike Bentonville and the City of Bentonville to conduct Bike Rodeos as well as a Bike Extravaganza which utilized LCI’s to conduct bike safety skills for our community children and assisted with youth mountain bike camps. Associates have the opportunity to participate in a variety of biking programs that encourage them to ride for fitness, fun or commuting. Examples include our 12 months of biking which provide associates and family members with a variety of activities to encourage them to cycle. Each month is a new topic is introduced ranging anywhere from bike education to guided rides. We have held a Biking Activities to Stay Healthy (BASH) program that was open to all of Northwest Arkansas and offered prizes such as a new bike, bike helmets, pumps and bike locks for those that rode the most miles during the four-week challenge. We have a BikeShare Champions program that provides champions with a free Walton Life Fitness Center membership. Our Bike Champions serve as cycling advocates leading one guide bike ride per month and attending one bike related event.”
BIKE SHARE SYSTEM
“On Monday, May 14, 2012, Walmart launched its BikeShare Program with a fleet of 80 bikes and 20 Bike Champions. This program was designed and implemented using only internal tools such as Outlook and our intranet for registration and check out. All bikes were strategically placed near security cameras and the bikes were locked. During the first year, we started with 8 locations and quickly added an additional 6 locations for a total of 14. We had 468 participants with 625 “riding hours” and conducted 18 presentations. Our Bike Champions help promote the program and lead guided rides.
In 2013, we grew to 630 participants with 780 riding hours. After surveying our associates we identified barriers to our program: the checkout process and keeping the bikes locked. In response, in 2014 we implemented the Park and Ride and Grab and Go Programs. Park and Ride provides associates with the opportunity to ride a bike in from the parking lot to their office and have access to it all day to run errands, go to lunch or attend meetings in other building then ride back to the parking lot at the end of the day. Our Grab and Go program was implemented to solve for our check out process. Our bikes are no longer locked up, helmets are provided at each station and registrations sign are attached with a QR code to ease the sign up process.
As we no longer have a check out system, we track mileage rather than hours ridden. In 2014, total mileage was 2,483. In order to best serve our associates, we condensed our locations to 13 while adding Park and Ride racks. This year we incentivized our 24 Bike Champions with a free WLFC membership. Champions were required to conduct one guide or group ride per month and one BikeShare event during the course of the season. This year, we introduced ‘Wheeling Toward Success’ making BikeShare bikes available to our interns by locating bikes at two intern hotels.
This program addressed the 25% of interns that work for Walmart but do not have any transportation. As a follow up to the 2014 changes, we conducted a survey of new BikeShare participants. Our survey showed that 34% used the bikes more than 10 times and 27% of participants used the BikeShare bikes more than 20 times throughout the biking season. Participants used the bikes for many aspects throughout their work day. Our unique Park and Ride program was used by 65% participants not only giving our associates a healthy alternative, but also aiding in the parking at larger locations. For a form of transportation during the work day, 45% chose a BikeShare bike over their vehicle and 55% used the bikes for a form of exercise and leisure.
According to 95% of participants, these high usage numbers are due to our new Grab and Go program and unlocking bikes for our associates. Our rack locations were found to be in convenient locations by 92% of users. The style of bike that we use was liked by 75% of participants and 67% are satisfied with the marketing and promotion of biking activities.”
BIKE MONTH CELEBRATIONS
“Walmart has participated in Bike to Work Day since 2007. In the month leading up to Bike To Work Day, educational seminars are held for associates related to bike safety, bike mechanics and best routes to take throughout the home office campus. On Bike to Work Day, the Walton Life Fitness Center sponsors guided rides for all Walmart associates to the Home Office. For several years, the guided rides began from a variety of locations to the Home Office. To increase participation, in 2014 the WLFC served as the hub and guided associates to the various home office locations. Each year, Walmart also participates in Bike to School Day through our partnerships with the City of Bentonville, Bike Bentonville and the Bentonville School District. Walmart associates lead bike trains to the various elementary schools to encourage children to ride bikes. Throughout the spring and then again in the fall, associates participate as ride leaders through the Safe Routes to School program.”