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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:

Vanpools/Ridesharing.
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.

Telecommuting.
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?
You can find information about the Regional Transit Authority transit check program and look here for carpools and vanpools.

Why Should You Participate In Workforce Transportation Options?

Benefits of participating in Workplace Transportation Options include:
  • 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 best employees
  • 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.

 
 
 
 
 
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