Located in suburban Washington, the NIH campus is well served by public transportation and easily accessible by car, bike, and on foot. In order to ease traffic congestion, decrease pollution, and reduce the stress associated with the trip to and from work, a number of alternatives to a solo commute are encouraged.
Through the NIH Transhare Program, employees are eligible to receive up to $130 per month to cover the cost of commuting via Metrorail, Metrobus, and other local bus systems such as Montgomery County’s RideOn. For employees based off campus, shuttle service is offered between the Medical Center station on Metro’s red line and a number of satellite office facilities. The NIH shuttle also picks up at the Mid-Pike Plaza Commuter Park-N-Ride, which offers parking for a monthly fee of $75.
If you’re traveling by car, you can find a carpool or vanpool through the NIH Ridefinders Network. Among the many benefits of this option are the ability to use HOV traffic lanes on specific highways, access to carpool-only spaces that are reserved until 9:30 a.m. in preferred parking lots and vanpool spaces in the lot of your choice, and connection with the Guaranteed Ride Home Program for use in the event of an emergency.
The NIH campus also offers a wide array of cycling options for commuting as well as recreation:
- The North Bethesda Trail (also known as the “Bethesda Trolley Trail”) directly connects the main campus with nearby neighborhoods and NIH satellite offices in Rockville, MD. Its bridges provide bicycle commuters easy north-south access to the NIH over the busy I-270 and Beltway interstates.
- The Capital Crescent Trail passes through downtown Bethesda, just to south of the NIH campus. It extends to the south into Washington’s historic Georgetown neighborhood and to the east where it connects with the Rock Creek Trail before reaching Silver Spring, MD.
- The beautiful Rock Creek Trail follows Rock Creek Park from the popular communities of Montgomery County into the heart of Washington, passing near the eastern edge of campus.
In addition to formal trails, many of the streets in the Bethesda area provide bicycle-friendly routes to, from, and around campus. Bicycle parking can be found outside of a number of on-campus buildings, as well as in many of the garages, and shower and locker facilities are also available for employee use. The NIH Bicycle Commuter Club (BCC) helps connect NIH cyclists by sponsoring events such as the annual Bike to Work Day and managing a listserv with advice on commuting routes, gear, and local rides. The BCC also runs the Bike Bucks Program, which offers an award coupons and vouchers for local bike shops as a reward for miles logged. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) offers more general information on cycling in the area including a guide to laws, cycling tips, and route and trail maps.