Alberta Health Services


Joan Spaven, a pharmacist at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, has been part of a five member carpool for seven years. Spaven gets to work relaxed and energized for the day. “Our ride to work together gives us an opportunity to laugh, relax, vent and conduct mini-staff meetings where we solve work-related problems. Our relationships carry over into our work day.”

Carpooling provides flexibility for commuters; one member of Joan’s carpool can’t drive due to a visual impairment, however her carpool offers a safe, reliable commute. When traffic reports state that there is a traffic delay, Joan’s group feel sorry for the lonely drivers while they enjoy each other’s company!

Joan’s carpool colleagues work in the same department. The flexibility in varied hours and shifts has resulted in their manager happily coordinating work schedules to accommodate their carpooling. (It is recognized that performance is better among workers who are given at least five minutes to socialize before starting their work day.)

The Calgary Health Service has recognized a clear business case in creating permanent reductions in the parking requirements, especially when each parking space is valued from $50,000 – $80,000. “Parking isn’t our core business and we don’t want to be using valuable land or funds to build parkades when we could use this money for more facilities and equipment.” said Franco Benacchio (Director, CHR Ancillary Services).There are currently over 13,000 parking spots in the region – rivaling the City of Calgary parking authority.

Transportation choices are promoted to all new Calgary Health Services employeesso that they can establish alternative commuter habits before they get into the single occupancy vehicle habit. One of Banacchio’s successes at the Foothills Medical Centre was establishing the Preferred Carpool Parking program, which now boasts 36 spots.

Company Highlights

Name: Alberta Health Services, Calgary Health Region I
Industry: Healthcare
Size: 10,000 employees

- Car/vanpool matching and parking spots
- Emergency ride home
- Complimentary transit passes (4/year)
- Inter-hospital shuttle system, secured bike cages and bike racks

Work structures:
- Staggered work shifts
- Telecommuting

- Ride Share Week
- Bike to Work and Commuter Challenge
- Sustainable information as part of new staff orientation

- Calgary Transit Riders Guides
- Internal Transportation Demand Management web page
- Promotion of CTS access to sites through Earth Day

Employee Highlights

Name: Joan Spaven
Age: 64
Occupation: Pharmacist

Mode of Transportation: Carpool
Distance from work: 4 km

Like best about commute:
“The social interaction with fellow carpoolers and a short door-to-door ride.”
Motivation: Reduce emissions, reduce cost of parking, social interaction and avoid traffic issues.

Message to others:
“Carpooling and living closer to work can improve your quality of life and reduce the economic and environmental impact.”

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