Air Quality Awareness Week 2015 – Part 3: Reducing polluting commuting

The thought of that dreaded commute. No commuter looks forward to a commute experience fraught with bumper-to-bumper traffic inching ever-so-slowly forward. Yet, for many, this is exactly the routine such motorists wedded to the automobile must endure day in and day out (twice per day in most cases) for five of seven days each week. Been there, done that myself. In fact, in the San Francisco Bay Area on the 12-mile work commute to and from my apartment each day of the workweek, going to in the mornings and coming from in late afternoons took no less than half an hour and 45 minutes, respectively. I remember that 1977-’78 slog well. Don’t miss it a bit. So, in what ways can the commute be made less burdensome and more eco-friendly at the same time? Two ways are explored here to help better achieve these ends.

“It’s off to work ‘we’ go”: Ways that can be employed to reduce driving during times of peak demand make sense. And, there are various ways to do just that.

360px-CBX_Parkchester_6_jeh[1]But what about implementing ways to limit driving no matter what the time of day? This type of action, in my view, should also be encouraged.

Commuting constitutes roughly 30 percent of all travel, rail- and road-based alike. “In its ‘AASHTO [American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials] Completes Series of Reports Tracking Commuter Trends and Behavior’ news release of Jan. 28, 2015, the Association wrote: ‘America is a nation on the move – rarely more so than during its daily commute to work, which comprises approximately 28 percent of all daily trips on U.S. roadways and transit systems, according to a new research paper,’” I explained in the Feb. 2, 2015 Air Quality Matters blog post “Air-quality improvement likely with a changing commute.” That’s no small amount.

Reducing commuting pollution can come in several forms. There are car/van/bus pooling programs; employers providing flexible and staggered and compressed work scheduling options; telecommuting opportunities; as well as promoting reliance on alternative mode – active (walking and biking) and public transportation – use.

You may wish to consult the “Healthy Air Living Employee Trip Reduction Resource Book” document published by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to learn more.

Ticket to ride free: On days when the quality of the air is unhealthful, why not make public transit free?

The world-renowned city of Paris, France has it correct, in my opinion. Not only is the amount of driving restricted on days when the concentration of pollution present in the air is high, but, additionally, free rides on public transportation are afforded not only the commuting public, but the general public as well.

Reducing polluting commuting is obviously more than just a catchphrase notion. Success can be achieved through sustained commitment along with maintaining an atmosphere of cooperation among all interested persons to see such action through. This can be done.

Automobility as well as waste and waste-handling options will be explored in Part 4.

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