Within Pinal County, the distance between work, home, a grocery store, or various recreational activities can be very significant. By maintaining your vehicle and combining trips you can reduce your mileage, lower your vehicle emissions and reduce regional air pollution all while saving money.
TIPS FOR TRAVEL REDUCTION
Sudden starts and stops, excessive speeds, extra weight in the trunk, unnecessary idling, long drive-through lines, and revving or warming up the engine waste fuel. Using cruise control on the highway helps maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save fuel.
Routine car maintenance extends a car's life, increases its resale value, and improves gas mileage. Properly inflated and aligned tires, a tuned engine and regularly changed oil and air filters are a few simple steps that help ensure fuel efficiency.
Topping off the tank (PDF) creates harmful emissions and wastes money. Gasoline vapors are harmful to breathe, contribute to ground-level ozone formation and are a source of toxic air pollutants. Evaporation from spillage of gas from overfilling can occur, contributing to the air pollution problem.
Planning routes: avoiding peak traffic periods, combining errands, and eliminating backtracking will save gas, prevent vehicle wear and tear, and save time.
Alternative work schedules provide flexibility for employers and employees alike while reducing commuter traffic and business operating costs thereby creating a positive situation for everyone.
Not everyone wants to work full-time or in a traditional 9-to-5 job. Whether they are working parents, retirees, students, or anyone else, many people would like to build more personal time into their work lives.
Alternative work schedules allow employees to work as much as they want while providing flexibility as to days and hours.
Flextime - This means that employees are allowed some flexibility when it comes to their starting and stopping times. For example, rather than all employees working 8 to 4:30, some might work 7:30 to 4, and others 9 to 5:30. Typically there is a core set of hours that employees need to be at work. Employees are then allowed to adjust the start and end times of their eight-hour days based on these core hours.
Compressed Workweek (CWW) - This means that employees work fewer but longer days, such as four 10-hour days each week (4/40), or 8 days at 9-hour days with one 8-hour day that includes one extra day off every two weeks (9/80). Eliminates two or four days per month that the employee would not be driving into his/her work location.
Staggered Shifts - This means that shifts are staggered to reduce the number of employees arriving and leaving a worksite at one time. For example, some shifts may be 8 to 4:30, others 8:30 to 5, and others 9 to 5:30. This has a similar effect on traffic as flextime but does not give individual employees as much control over their schedules.
Job Sharing - Job sharing is a flexible work option where two employees share the same position. Job sharers can be jointly responsible for one entire position or they can handle separate functions of the same job. Hours can be shared by overlapping times, split shifts, or working in different locations at the same time.
The benefit of job sharing is that it provides balance and flexibility. In many cases, the job sharers share the responsibilities of a full-time job while salary and benefits are prorated.
In addition, by allowing job sharing, companies can increase their existing labor pool and improve the efficiency of their operations by having skilled professionals available who can fill in during busy times without overtime pay.
BENEFITS TO ALTERNATIVE WORK SCHEDULES
Companies that offer alternative work schedules report less absenteeism, fewer late employees, and less use of sick time. Flextime programs, in which employees are given the option of adjusting their arrival and departure times, are proven ways to reduce congestion at peak travel times. Compressed work schedules can eliminate commuting altogether one day a week for many employees.
Advantages of alternative work schedules:
- Employees travel to and from work with less stress during off-peak hours
- Employee retention
- Less use of leave time due to greater flexibility in planning personal and medical appointments
- Increases employee morale
- Employees can choose to work during their most productive hours (flextime)
- Reduces spot congestion at work site entrances/exits
- Changes can be implemented company-wide or by department
- Vehicle reduction on the highways
- Increased coverage for companies that communicate across time zones or whose customers require extended hours
Carpooling is when people share a ride in a vehicle together to a planned destination. Carpooling saves fuel and reduces air pollution and travel costs. This form of transportation is defined as having two or more people in the vehicle.
HOW CARPOOLING WORKS
Carpools share commute expenses. There are two basic types of carpool arrangements:
- The participants use one car owned by one driver. The driver calculates his or her operating costs for the daily commute, then divides them by the number of riders to determine how much each rider should contribute. The riders and driver agree to a periodic (daily, weekly, monthly) payment plan.
- Alternatively, the participants can rotate car use and drivers so that each person's vehicle and time is shared equally. No money is exchanged in this arrangement.
SIMPLE WAYS TO CARPOOL
- Share a ride to work with someone that lives close to your home.
- Trade-off providing rides to friends' and families' children while taking your own children to school or after-school activities.
- If you cannot carpool every day to work, try carpooling just one day per week. It can still save miles on your car and keep some money in your pocket.
FIND LOCAL CARPOOLS OR START YOUR OWN
Telework, or telecommuting, means working at home or closer to home. With teleworking, employees work at home one or more days per week. Communication is accomplished by phone, fax, modem, and teleconferencing. Nationwide, more than 20 million workers are going to work simply by picking up the phone or turning on their computers.
The employee's home provides a good alternative because it allows the worker to be more productive with fewer distractions and allows greater concentration with longer periods of uninterrupted work time. This workplace alternative pays real dividends for area businesses and their employees while reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, increasing the area's economic vitality, and bolstering the overall quality of life.
While telecommuting is not for everyone, there is no question that in today's internet age, most workers expect to be able to do it at least part of each week or month. So, for employers who seek to recruit and retain good employees, you'd do well to be flexible enough to allow telecommuting whenever possible.
Even if you prefer your employees not to do it full-time, it should be an option for circumstances such as these:
- An employee with a minor illness, such as a cold, would be better off working at home.
- A deadline is pressing, and the employee can be more productive working at home.
- Weather, traffic conditions, or personal appointments make it smart for an employee to work at home for a day or more.
- An employee with a disability is better served by being able to work from home.
- High Pollution Advisory days would be an ideal time to allow employees to work from home to reduce the number of vehicles on our roads.
A great alternative to driving alone.
If your employees are looking to reduce stress and finally enjoy their commute, a vanpool may be for them. Vanpooling provides transportation for groups of 7 to 15 commuters. The commuters share a ride in a comfortable van driven by one of the vanpool riders (frequently a coworker). The vanpool driver may sometimes ride for free since it is the driver's responsibility to ensure the smooth functioning of the vanpool. But in other cases, the driver volunteers to pay to help reduce the cost per rider. Passengers share the cost of operating the van by paying a monthly fare. The fare covers fuel and the balance of the lease after all subsidies have been applied. Most vanpools are subsidized by their employers based on one of the following:
- Percentage of lease
- The flat amount each month
- Per occupied seat
The monthly fares are based on round-trip mileage. The farther you must travel, the more you save. Since costs are shared equally, the more riders in your vanpool, the less you pay, and the monthly savings can really add up.
There are three different vanpool arrangements:
Vehicles are owned and operated by a for-profit vendor. An operating agreement with the vendor covers maintenance, insurance, and administration. Marketing and fee collection are the group's responsibility. This type of vanpool is usually the most expensive.
The least expensive vanpooling option for employees usually is employer-sponsored vans. Employers purchase or lease the vans and arrange for maintenance, insurance, and administration. Fares may be collected, or the employer may subsidize the cost. Employers may also market the program and help organize the groups. Participation is often limited to employees of one company.
An owner-operated vanpool is owned by one or more of the group's members, sometimes via a corporation, which protects the owners from personal liability. The owner (s) arrange for maintenance, insurance, and billing.
WHY YOU SHOULD OFFER A VANPOOLING PROGRAM
With clean air regulations, the cost of fuel, the cost of food, and the ongoing reduction in the real estate market, companies are looking for ways to reduce the number of trips their employees make to the workplace. A vanpool program can help you meet your trip-reduction goals. Just one van on the road takes as many as 14 cars off the road-the same results as up to seven carpools.
Vanpooling is also extremely popular among employees. In fact, 96% of people who have tried vanpooling say that it is their preferred way to commute. You can bet that once you get a vanpool on the road, it's likely to stay up and running for many years.
Cost can vary depending on the type of vanpooling program you choose to offer, whether you buy or lease vans, how much of the cost of vanpooling you plan to subsidize for employees, and the size of vehicles you choose in your fleet, among other factors.
Pricing is established by the lessee.
- Enterprise - 480-785-4308
- Valley Metro - 623-931-5427
People are willing to work farther from home if they know they don't have to drive every day, so your company can recruit workers from a wider geographic area.
ORIGINATING A VANPOOL
Walking is our most basic and natural form of transportation. It's a relaxing and enjoyable way to improve your health and experience your community. Walking and bicycling are both great ways to improve our air quality.
Start a Walking School Bus in Your Community!: A How-to Guide from the U S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
Walking is the least expensive, yet the most beneficial mode of transportation. Walking is an easy form of exercise that can help combat the rapid increase in obesity among both adults and children due to our sedentary lifestyles. The repetitive motion of walking calms the body and eases stress.
For information on the benefits to your health, see the Arizona Department of Health Services.
In addition to providing benefits in terms of personal health and pleasure, walking also protects the environment-no emissions from a vehicle tailpipe, no fossil fuel consumption, no emissions of "greenhouse gases" that contribute to global climate change. Walking can play an important role in improving our air quality.
Even short motor vehicle trips are a significant source of emissions due to the "cold start" problem. There's a high rate of emissions during the first few miles of driving because the catalytic converter does not function well when a car is first started. Walking for short trips helps to reduce these "cold start" vehicle emissions.
Bikes are a very environmentally friendly means of transportation-no tailpipe emissions, no evaporative emissions, no emissions from gasoline pumping or oil refining, and zero carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.
Bicycling also means less water pollution (many people don't realize that motor vehicles are a significant source of water pollution as well as air pollution). And, bikes are quiet, so they don't contribute to noise pollution.
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF CYCLING
Fewer people cycle per capita in the U.S. than in many other parts of the world, and the U.S. is a leader in petroleum consumption. These high levels of consumption are leading to many negative effects on the environment, such as increased emissions of harmful gases including:
- Carbon Dioxide
- Carbon Monoxide
- Nitrous Oxide
- Volatile Organic Compounds
These emissions are believed to be causing warming through the "greenhouse effect", depletion of the ozone layer, and a reduction in general air quality. Vehicles also cause noise pollution.
BICYCLING / PEDESTRIAN RESOURCES
- Arizona Bicycle and Pedestrian Program: Tips and Resources
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Pedestrian Safety Tips
- AZ Department of Transportation Share the Road
- The League of American Bicyclists
- BikeGuard - a free bike registry for bike tags to help with the return of a bike if lost or stolen.
- Arizona Trail: Mountain Biking
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- Maricopa Association of Governments: Active Transportation
US Bicycle Route System Info
The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a developing national network of bicycle routes that connect urban to suburban and rural areas using existing roads and shared paths.
- US Bike Route 90 - Map (PDF)
- Presentation on U.S. Bike Route 90 by Arizona Department of Transportation (2016) (PDF)