Let’s Clear The Air

Have you ever really stopped to think about all the GOOD things going on in your community no matter where you live?  Public agencies to keep us safe, nonprofit programs designed to help protect our children and medical institutions that help keep us healthy.

Here’s an example of an innovative program that definitely impacts our quality of life and our health. It is a local program, created in Tucson, Arizona, intended to motivate citizens to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. Gotta love that!

The program is Pima Association of Governments’ Travel Reduction Program (TRP). It was established in the late 1980s to reduce carbon monoxide because Tucson’s air quality did not meet the federal standards.  All the towns and cities in Pima County worked together to adopt ordinances to mandate employer participation in the program. As a result, large employers (100+ employees) are now required to promote alternative mode transportation (carpool, bike, bus, walk, etc.) to their staff to reduce the number of vehicles coming to their workplaces.

Many employers took steps beyond the mandate to make things fun and encouraging. To encourage area workers to get out of their cars, many Tucson employers offer transit and van pool subsidies to increase usage of these options. Wishing you had that primo parking space but never quite get there in time? Some companies actually provide preferential parking spots for carpoolers to get more of their employees sharing the ride.  Some companies offer prizes to their employees who use alternative modes while others recognize those employees who are doing the right thing at staff meetings and company celebrations.

Here’s a great example of how one employer goes the extra mile to publicize the TRP and promote alternative transportation.  Ed Buchannan, the Transportation Coordinator for Home Depot on Broadway, works hard to ensure his employees have access to rideshare information.  He also runs a “shout out” recognition program to encourage employees to reduce their carbon footprint. In other words, he educates and rewards!

The very GOOD news? These TRP efforts, along with Sun Rideshare’s Rewards Program and the TRP Recognition Program, have produced the best travel reduction results in four years. And to just let a few facts get in the way – a 2014 survey showed 19.6 percent of employees at TRP companies use alternative modes, up from 15.9 percent in 2013. The 2014 survey also showed a 2 percent reduction in vehicle miles traveled from 2013. The high alternative mode usage and the low vehicle miles traveled are the best results since 2010. This actually means cleaner air for all of us because of their good work.

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Congratulations, kudos and hats off to PAG’s Travel Reduction Program, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. We thank you for your hard work and dedication and to always looking out for our health and safety.