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Category: daimler trucks north america

Merger puts the HQ for a leading low-car transportation startup in Portland

Merger puts the HQ for a leading low-car transportation startup in Portland

moovel

Screenshot of moovel.com.

Whether or not the City of Portland succeeds in its bid for a $40 million “Smart City” grant to advance a collection of ideas about digitally connected transportation, the private sector is already leaping forward on similar lines.

globesherpa cofounders

Moovel North America CTO Michael Gray and CEO
Nat Parker in 2013.
(Photo: M.Andersen)

Last week, two startups that have been near the front of digital transportation innovation in the United States merged under a single mission, brand name and CEO — all based in downtown Portland.

GlobeSherpa, a Portland-grown company that makes mobile ticketing apps for transit agencies, joined with RideScout, an Austin-based company that helps people plan multimodal trips (think bus to meet a friend, bikeshare to go somewhere with them and Lyft to get home at night) to form Moovel North America.

Both brands were previously acquired by the unit of German automaker Daimler that also owns car2go, the point-to-point carsharing service that has been disproportionately popular in Portland. Daimler, meanwhile, has a major corporate location in Portland: Daimler Trucks North America.

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Bike Commute Challenge check-in: Intel & Nike, neck and neck

Bike Commute Challenge check-in: Intel & Nike, neck and neck

A digital flier by the competitive geeks at Intel.

In Oregon’s epic battle of nerds versus jocks, the nerds are winning.

The gearheads, the nurses and the bureaucrats are on their tail, though.

With six weekdays left in the BTA’s annual Bike Commute Challenge, Intel employees have logged 16,117 miles of biking to lead the contest in total travel, while Nike employees are in second place across the region with 14,529.

Close behind are Daimler Trucks North America (13,880 miles), Oregon Health and Science University (13,679) and the City of Portland (13,348).

Of course, there are lots of ways to “win” the Bike Commute Challenge (as the nerds would no doubt point out if they weren’t in the lead). For example, you can count by total number of bike trips:

  • City of Portland (1346)
  • OHSU (1267)
  • Intel (1165)
  • Multnomah County (1086)
  • Nike (981)

Or by the number of new bike commuters recruited for this year’s challenge:

  • Daimler (47)
  • OHSU (39)
  • Providence Health and Services (34)
  • Multnomah County (26)
  • Widen+Kennedy (26)

Or by the percentage of participants at each organization that are new to bike commuting (among the 500 biggest organizations):

  • HFG (10 riders, five new)
  • New Seasons Market – Progress Ridge (nine riders, four new)
  • Salem Health (29 riders, 12 new)
  • InsideTrack (27 riders, 11 new)
  • Integral Consulting (10 riders, 4 new)
  • Capital Pacific Bank (10 riders, 4 new)

Or even by the average number of trips per rider (among the 500 biggest organizations)

  • ELS Language Centers (10.2, nine riders)
  • Saint Mary’s Academy (9.1, 13 riders)
  • Bicycle Transportation Alliance (9, 21 riders)
  • Willamette Week (8.8, eight riders)
  • Portland Mercury (8.3, eight riders)

The challenge, organized every September by the BTA, is a great excuse to get on a bike during Portland’s most beautiful riding weather (usually, anyway) and learn your best route to work. This year’s has been especially fun, with Intel throwing down the westside gauntlet against Nike, the Trail Blazers’ official mascot getting into the action and Congressman Earl Blumenauer competing remotely from D.C.

Last week, when Daimler Trucks North America’s CEO announced a major expansion of the truck design and manufacturing firm’s North Portland headquarters (a $150 million upgrade that’s likely to include a big investment in bike parking, among many other things) he called out the success of Daimler’s Bike Commute Challenge team as one of the ways Daimler employees are able to enjoy the good life in Portland.

Here’s to that — and to ten more days of logging trips for fun and prizes.

Portland truck factory replaces electric carts with pedal-powered trikes

Portland truck factory replaces electric carts with pedal-powered trikes

Always nice to see bikes and freight getting along.
(Image: Daimler Trucks North America)

When you run the numbers, human-powered machines often make good sense on city streets. Leave it to the logistics experts at Daimler Trucks North America to calculate that they make good sense on the floor of a truck factory, too.

At Daimler’s Western Star truck plant on North Portland’s Swan Island, utility trikes are taking over for electric carts in moving truck parts to the manufacturing line. Workers at the plant are putting 18 of the trikes to use. They are Torker HD models and have a cargo capacity of 300 pounds. The bikes were purchased from and assembled by Crank Bicycles in southeast Portland, which customized the gears for the plant’s 5 mph speed limit.

“The bikes have become the latest in cost efficiency and green measures state-of-the-art manufacturing plants are taking,” Daimler’s internal newsletter wrote last month. “The bikes have the potential to save hundreds of dollars a month in maintenance, capital and energy costs and offer a greener alternative to the typical ‘ding ding’ electric carts the plant has been using for years. In addition, they also promote health and fitness by enabling plant employees to burn up to 300 calories an hour when using the bikes.”

Sounds familiar. The decision came from Plant Manager Paul Erdy, who decided to order a trike as an experiment for the local company, which employs about 3,000 office workers and laborers on Swan Island.

“When we first started using the bike it made everyone in the plant smile,” Erdy wrote for the newsletter. “It added a light-hearted element to our work environment while also proving to be a cost-effective alternative to the ‘ding ding’ carts.”

That sounds familiar, too. Good thinking, Daimler.

Daimler Trucks North America opens new bike parking facility on Swan Island

Daimler Trucks North America opens new bike parking facility on Swan Island

Daimler bike shelter opening-24

A large crowd gathered to celebrate the opening
of a bike shelter at Daimler Trucks HQ
this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Daimler Trucks North America, a commercial truck manufacturer based on Swan Island, celebrated a decidedly non-motorized achievement this morning: They opened a bike parking shelter near the main entrance of their corporate headquarters.

The new shelter can fit up to 53 bicycles in a space previously used to park just five cars. Daimler project manager Rich Wipf said demand for bike parking from Daimler’s 3,000 Swan Island employees (1,500 at corporate HQ) has increased significantly in recent years. “Some of our employees remember when just one rack was enough. Now we’ve got racks near all the entrances and they’re all filling up.”

Erik Weeman, a mechanical engineer, said there were only “a handful” of riders when he started working at Daimler two years ago. Now the existing bike racks quickly fill up in the morning. “Unless you get here early, your bike would be left out in the rain if you could even find a spot.”

The new shelter, which cost Daimler about $70,000, includes: interior LED lighting; a security camera; 24/7 key-card entry; and a bike repair stand (made by Dero) with an air pump and tools. The racks are split between roll-in and hanging racks.

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Daimler bike shelter opening-27

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Daimler bike shelter opening-20

Lots of happy employees came out this morning.
Daimler bike shelter opening-30

Part of the inspiration for the new shelter came from a similar facility at the northwest Portland headquarters of Con-Way trucking. Daimler’s Dave Panchot, who’s also president of the Swan Island Business Association, said he noticed the Con-Way bike parking facility a few years ago. “I thought it would be a great idea for our corporate headquarters as well.”

For Weeman and other employees, this is just the latest sign that Daimler and other businesses on Swan Island respect — and expect — people to ride bikes to work. Bruno Banceu, who works in Daimler’s wind tunnel testing lab, said having a place to park out of the rain is, “very important.” “I’m always tempted to bring my bike into my office,” Banceu said, “but that’s against company policy.” Juergen Orlich works on Daimler’s powertrain design team. Out of the six people on his team, four have started biking to work. “We’re a truck company,” he said, “but more and more people are riding.” Orlich has no doubt the new parking facility will help encourage even more people to give riding a try. “Absolutely it will help. If there’s one bike hanging in here, other people with see it and think, ‘Hey, I could ride my bike as well.'”

Daimler bike shelter opening-21

Sarah Angell of the Swan Island TMA
has a lot of reasons to smile.

As employees who arrived to work by car craned their necks to see what all the excitement was about near the bike shelter, Weeman added that, “This is huge. It can open people’s minds up to riding and for all the excuses they might have this crosses many of them off their list.”

Far from just a place to park bikes, this new bike parking shelter is a symbol of the burgeoning bike culture at Daimler Trucks and on Swan Island in general. The person working to connect this rise in bike use on Swan Island to more bike-friendly policies and infrastructure is Sarah Angell, director of the Swan Island Transportation Management Association. Prior to cutting the ribbon this morning, Angell called the facility, “A milestone that charts how far many of you have come… This bike station represents all the miles you’ve traveled. It’s here because they were running out of room, and that’s a good thing.”