By David Pendered
The state program that encourages commuters to find alternatives to solo trips kicks off a weeklong series of programs Monday to launch its “Be the Solution” initiative.
Monday morning at MARTA’s Arts Center Station, radio celebrity Ryan Cameron is to perform a live broadcast of his V-103 show, “Ryan Cameron Morning Show.” Radio stations Majic 107.5 and B-98.5 are to continue during the afternoon commute.
At Monday’s Atlanta Hawks game, promotional activities are scheduled to generate a continuing buzz.
It’s all part of Georgia Commute Options’ efforts to help commuters create a way to get to work and home without traveling alone in a vehicle.
“Metro Atlanta’s traffic congestion affects all of us, and we can all take action to improve it,” Cindy VanDyke, the Georgia Department of Transportation’s transportation administrator, said in a statement.
The program calls upon commuters to find alternatives to solo trips. Options can include carpooling, teleworking, taking transit, walking, or bicycling.
Results of commute options are compelling. According to Georgia Commute Options, the use of commute options in metro Atlanta results in 1.1 million miles that are not traveled, and the reduction of 550 tons of pollution that otherwise would have been emitted into the air.
“By reducing the number of vehicles on the road through the Georgia Commute Options incentive programs, commuters don’t just have solutions — they, in fact, become the solution to traffic congestion throughout our region,” VanDyke said.
Gov. Nathan Deal already has signaled his support of telecommuting. Deal signed a proclamation that declared March 2 through March 6 as Georgia Telework Week.
“Teleworking can have an immediate impact on reducing vehicle emissions, traffic congestion, strain on existing infrastructure, air pollution, and increasing commute mobility,” Deal said in a statement issued after the signing. “The projected average annual impact of one person teleworking in Georgia is 2,000 fewer miles driven, over 50 hours of commute time saved, and smog reduced to improve the air we breathe.”
To illustrate the level of corporate support for commute options, the “Be the Solution” campaign includes a description of how three companies are enabling their employees to find alternatives to solo trips. They are:
- Equifax – The company has an office-wide telework program where most employees work from home one or more days a week; a significant number work from home 100 percent of the time.
- “Fiserv – The company partnered with Georgia Commute Options to help plan its relocation from Norcross to Alpharetta. Fiserv has provided its workforce with cluster maps to help employees create carpools; and it offers commute options including telework, compressed work weeks, and MARTA passes offered through the Commuter Choice program.
- Baxter Pharmaceuticals – The company worked with Georgia Commute Options to form a pilot vanpool program; nine riders have signed up.
The “Be the Solution” campaign is starting two weeks after the official start of the ozone monitoring season, which began April 1 and continues through Oct. 31.
Georgia already has issued one smog alert, on Feb. 27. Monitors in metro Atlanta recorded unhealthy levels of particulate matter in the air. The public was warned the air was unhealthy for sensitive groups.
So far this year, the state has issued yellow alerts, for moderate air quality, on 27 days. January was, by far, the worst month to date. January had 13 days of moderate air quality; February had four days of moderate air quality; March had seven days of moderate air quality; and April has had three days of moderate air quality, according to a website operated by the state Department of Natural Resources.
The 70 remaining days were determined to have good air quality, according to DNR.