Celebrating Alternative Commuting Options

Written by Scott St. Onge, Clean Air Partners
June 6, 2012

This year Clean Air Partners, a regional organization dedicated to raising awareness and reducing air pollution through voluntary actions, joined the Maryland Green Registry, a group of organizations working toward a sustainable Maryland, in challenging local businesses to reduce their employees’ traditional commuting miles and help remove vehicles from our busy streets. The contest, open to Maryland- based businesses, took place throughout the spring and highlighted the region’s deep commitment to our environment, especially air quality. The results of the competition yielded some astonishing numbers.

The Havre de Grace Seafood Festival is the winner in terms of percent reduction in vehicle miles traveled - their environmentally-friendly efforts have lead to a 69% reduction in vehicle miles traveled. These reductions are largely the result of efficient use of teleworking and virtual meetings. The Annual Festival also makes good use of shuttles and smart cars to reduce their environmental impact when travel is needed.

The business that is achieving the largest total reduction of vehicles miles traveled is Geico Insurance. Geico Corporate Headquarters in Chevy Chase is a prime example of how forward-thinking executives can make a difference. Located in close proximity to Metro, they offer subsidies for Metro riders and Zip car users. Geico is also bike-friendly with racks and shower facilities readily available. This year Geico will reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled by an incredible 6.3 million miles. Their comprehensive effort would not be complete though without vanpools and a special orientation for new employees called, “Think Green.”

The Havre de Grace Seafood Festival and Geico were honored at the Maryland Green Registry Annual Awards event on June 5 and presented with certificates acknowledging their achievement. The Havre de Grace Seafood Festival Team will also be treated to a company lunch while Geico will receive a gift certificate to a local bike shop that can be used to help reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled by employees even more.

Overall the contest was a resounding success; the finalists included a diverse number of area businesses that are committed to the environment and understand the value of clean air. The simple steps that Clean Air Partners suggests are clearly being utilized across the region. The Brick Companies have procedures in place to increase carpooling for employees. The program at Beveridge & Diamond is employee-driven and includes varied public transportation usage. E-Structors provides employees with a guaranteed ride home. Green Generation Solutions and The City of College Park also boast a wide-range of commuting options.

In the months ahead, look for more information about what our finalists have been doing so you too, can utilize some of their innovative solutions. Air Quality has an impact on all of us and if we want to keep Maryland, and our region, Smart, Green, and Growing, we all must make a commitment to do something about it. These businesses are following through on that commitment.

Learn more about the Maryland Green Registry and be certain to also sign-up for AirAlerts provided by Clean Air Partners to receive daily air quality forecasts and helpful tips.