Cirrus Logic Shuttle, courtesy photo

It’s no secret that driving in Austin, especially for downtown workers, has become one of the biggest aggravations about working or living in the city.

Austin ranked 14th among the most congested cities in the U.S. in 2017 with commuters spending 11 percent of their driving time in congestion, according to a study last year by INRIX, a global transportation research institute. That translates to 43 peak hours spent in traffic congestion in 2017.

But Cirrus Logic and some other Austin-based companies have taken measures to make the commute easier for their employees and they are being recognized for it.

Cirrus Logic is among a select group of U.S. companies named to the 2019 Best Workplaces for Commuters list by the Center for Urban Transportation Research.  Cirrus and the others earned the honor by offering alternative ways to get to work besides driving to employees. Other Austin companies on the list include Athena Health, Car2Go, Google, IBM, Merck & Company, Silicon Labs, Texas Mutual Insurance Co, the Thrival Company, University Federal Credit Union and Whole Foods.

 “We’re really excited to be recognized as a Best Workplace for Commuters,” said Jo-Dee Benson, vice president and chief culture officer at Cirrus Logic.

About 20 percent of Cirrus Logic’s 800 employees use the alternative transportation options on a regular basis, she said.

Cirrus Logic moved from the Westlake area in 2012 to its downtown headquarters. To ease the burden of the commute for its workers, Cirrus Logic designed a “suite” of transportation alternatives, Benson said.

One of the moves Cirrus made was to set up a network of private Wi-Fi enabled “park and ride” shuttles. It operates a morning and afternoon Orange Line for employees in South Austin and a Green Line for those in North Austin. A third shuttle, the Blue Line operates throughout the day downtown and transports employees between the company’s offices and Capital Metro downtown train station and bus stops.

Other transporation benefits at Cirrus include:

  • 100 percent employee expense reimbursement for Cap Metro passes, whether bus or train.
  • Bike lockers, free bi-annual bicycle repair service and locker rooms with showers to promote a bike-friendly commute culture. The company was also a founding sponsor of Austin B-Cycle.
  • Support for electric vehicles through onsite charging stations.
  • Promoting a safer, enhanced downtown urban trail network as a major corporate sponsor of the Shoal Creek Conservancy and with financial contributions to the Austin Trail Foundation, for projects such as the Boardwalk installation along Lady Bird Lake and renovations to Vic Mathias Auditorium Shores.

Cirrus Logic is also a member of Movability Austin, which focuses on transportation solutions for Austin. The City of Austin also made the Best Workplace for Commuters list. In Texas, the only government agencies or cities to make the list were from Austin and San Antonio with the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Other Austin agencies included Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Downtown Austin Alliance and Travis County.