| Workplace Transportation Options
What Are Workplace Transportation Options?
Workplace Transportation Options are designed to
reduce the number of commuters driving alone each workday in order to ease
traffic congestions and lower emissions of smog-forming pollutants in the
air. There a number of strategies employers and property managers can pursue
to reach this goal:
Employers can provide a program for car and vanpool
matching and work with local transit agencies to enhance convenience through
shuttle services and sidewalk stops. Pace Bus manages the Share The Drive website, which provides information on the vanpool program and an internet-based ride matching system for
carpools and vanpools throughout the greater Chicagoland area.
Transit Benefit Program.
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) offers
companies a program that reduces commuting costs for both employers and
employees. RTA Transit Checks are tax-deductible to employers and a tax-free
benefit to employees who use the CTA, Metra, Pace, the South Shore or
vanpools. Employees can set aside up to $100 per month of their gross
income to pay for transit and vanpool commuting costs tax free, while
employers reduce their payroll costs.
Another strategy for reducing auto emissions from
commuting is to add telecommuting as a work alternative for employees.
Studies indicate that with appropriate training, use of technology and
human resources support, telecommuting can lead to increased employee
morale, improved productivity and reduced workforce costs while maintaining
critical interoffice relationships.
Biking and Walking to Work
Biking and walking are alternatives for driving to work similar to using transit or telecommuting. Pedestrians and cyclists save money on gas and parking and may get a great work out as well. Some environments are more suitable than others for biking or walking to work. In downtown Chicago, the McDonald's Cycle Center provides secure bicycle parking, showers and lockers, bicycle rentals, and repairs. Similarly, many suburban locations offer bike parking at train stations.
How Can This Improve Air Quality?
Heavy automotive use is one of the most notorious
contributors to poor air quality. Workforce Transportation Options can
have a significant, positive impact. For every 1,000 commuters in the
Chicago regional area who use an alternate means of transportation instead
of driving to work in a vehicle alone, there is a reduction of 11 tons
of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and 14 tons of nitrogen oxide. This
also translates into reduced ground-level ozone, which is responsible
for smog-filled air. For every fifty two-person carpools, ground-level
ozone is reduced by one ton.
Who Should Participate?
Employers or property managers responsible
for accommodating employees who drive to work alone can make an impact
on improving air quality through Workforce Transportation Options and
by joining Clean Air Counts!
In addition to Clean Air Counts strategies, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency sponsors a program in conjunction with
the U.S. Department of Transportation called Best Workplaces for Commuters.sm
Participation is a mark of excellence for environmentally and employee-friendly
organizations. Employers sign an agreement to make a series of commitments
and execute a number of strategies that include offering a variety of
commuter benefits to employees, ensuring a minimum level of employee participation,
designating a central point of contact for employee questions and providing
an Emergency Ride Home for participating employees. For more information
about Best Workplaces for Commuters, please call the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency – Region 5 at 312.353.8777.
Where Can I Get More Information?
Benefits of participating in Workplace Transportation Options
You can find information about the Regional Transit
check program and look here for carpools and vanpools.
Why Should You Participate In Workforce Transportation
- Reduced emissions VOCs, nitrogen oxide and other smog-forming pollutants,
improving regional air quality
- Improved ground-level ozone
- Puts state and federal transportation funds to work for employers
participating in vanpool programs
- Increased worker productivity and ability to attract and retain the
- Less traffic congestion on roads regionally
- Reduced employer payroll taxes and provide a tax-free benefit to employees
for some strategies
- Lower commuter costs compared to driving alone
- Helps conserve a non-renewable natural resource – gasoline.
Clean Air Counts is a voluntary, public-private
initiative to reduce smog-forming pollutants and energy consumption in
the greater Chicago, six-county region. It is a collaborative effort between
the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, the Illinois Environmental Agency, US
Environmental Protection Agency – Region 5 and the Delta Institute.