I consider myself to be a healthy person. I’m also an environmentally conscious person. I care about the world we live in and I try to make choices that will help reduce my pollution contribution. Unfortunately, one of the choices that I lean towards, riding MARTA, makes me very, very ill.
Hi, my name is Beth Ament, and I get car sick. I also get…MARTA sick. It’s unfortunate because I love MARTA. I like making the choice to not drive and avoiding adding to traffic congestion in Atlanta. Unfortunately choosing to ride MARTA also makes me nauseous but to be fair, so does my husband’s driving.
My car sickness started about five years ago. At first, I thought it was just my husband’s spirited driving. He tends be a very deliberate driver and also prefers to take the most winding and twisting route from point A to point B. It was not until I took the train to work from the Edgewood Station to Five Points Station, and in the 7 minute ride I almost threw up three times that I realized that I had a problem. The motion sickness, or kinetosis, was debilitating. I felt dizzy, tired and nauseous. It was not a pleasant commute.
I was not willing to give up MARTA because in my mind, the pros still outweighed the cons. Taking the train for me was more convenient, cheaper, healthier, and it supported my passion for taking responsibility for our Earth. Thus, I needed to find a solution to my motion sickness dilemma so that I would stop showing up to work with a slightly green complexion and short temper. I get grumpy when I feel sick. Part of finding the solution was to first learn about what causes car sickness.
Through my extensive research (I Googled “car sickness”), I discovered that motion sickness is actually your body sensing a discrepancy between what you see and what you feel. The conflict (sitting still in a car vs. actually moving) triggers the production of a neurotransmitter that your body thinks is a signal of hallucinogenic poisoning. Your body then tries to rid itself of this which makes you feel all of the horrible side effects.
Once I armed myself with the knowledge of why the sickness occurred, I was then able to put together a plan. Below are some tips that I’ve found through reading and personal experimentation on preventing MARTA sickness along with car, sea, or air sickness:
- Don’t talk about it. The first rule of preventing motion sickness is you do not talk about preventing motion sickness.
- Close your eyes. When you don’t see anything it prevents the conflict that occurs when your body thinks you are still but you are actually moving.
- Get fresh air. There is no scientific reason behind why this helps but trust me, it does. When I ride MARTA I make sure that I sit or stand by the door so that when it opens I get some outside air. In a car you can roll the window down.
- Face forward. It helps to sit in the direction that your vehicle is moving. If you are in a car, try to sit in the front seat. If you are riding on the train, pick a seat or stand in the direction of the movement.
- Try acupressure. Apply gentle pressure on your forearm, between the two tendons, about an inch back from your wrist joint. This should temporary delay nausea until you are out of your vehicle or at your next MARTA station.
- Breathe. With your eyes closed, take deep breaths and focus your attention on the inhale and exhale.
I’ve found that incorporating all of these tips helped me rejuvenate my relationship with MARTA. Don’t let motion sickness prevent you from all of the benefits of carpooling or riding transit. As a special bonus, it will also enhance your relationship with any spirited drivers you share the ride with.
Beth is a Project Manager for Georgia Commute Options and helps lead the Outreach Team. She is proud to have a job that she believes in and is passionate about improving the air quality in Georgia. Beth’s commute involves a combination of carpooling and teleworking. She is a certified yoga teacher and enjoys hiking with her husband, John (who loves taking MARTA to work) and her daughter, Penelope (who enjoys carpooling to daycare) and her dog, Fenwick Island (who does not commute currently but is looking for work – he needs a job)
Looking to connect with Beth? Get in touch with her here.
I think we can all agree that we look forward to summer for the easier commute, amazing weather, and vacation. My best friend flew me to Boston to take the city with her and her 15-month old son. Once I arrived at the airport, I made a pact with myself to use as many commute alternatives as possible while I was there. Since I had done no prior research of how to get around, I had to wing it. I also learned some valuable lessons along the way making it easier to use commute alternatives to and from work.
- How to get from the airport to the hotel? The hotel website said to use the Back Bay Logan Express. I wasn’t sure if this would get me close to my friend’s hotel, so what did I do? I called the hotel concierge for confirmation. You can always rely on locals to know how to get around. Like hotels, your employer’s intranet or monthly newsletter can educate you on the options available at your worksite and Georgia Commute Options reps can assist with custom trip planning.
As soon as I arrived, we hit the pavement and started walking to find lunch.
- Seems silly to advise you to wear comfortable shoes when you are using walking as a form of transportation, but someone missed the memo when they packed sandals for this trip. Luckily we had a stroller where I could have stored an extra change of shoes, but commuters going to work can also bring a backpack or extra bag to store heels or dress shoes.
With a limited amount of time on our last day, we asked the trusty concierge for a recommendation for how to spend the last two hours of my trip before heading to the airport. She immediately suggested the North End, which is easily accessed by the subway.
- No one will judge you for carrying around a map. Yes, you can try and memorize every direction and landmark, but why not use the color-coded highlighted map the concierge provides you to guarantee 100% success? In Atlanta, there are lots of apps to help you navigate the transit system and an even greater blog post by my pal, Emily.
Take the opportunity to get out and about on your last bit of summer vacation. Trying an alternative to driving alone can allow you to see our city in a brand new light. And we’re always here if you need some help.
Allie Velleca is an Account Manager for the 75N corridor including Cumberland, Marietta, and Kennesaw. When she is isn’t at work, she is teaching dance, paper crafting, or filming Snapchats of her two greyhounds, Charlie and Larry. If you are trying to find Allie at the Georgia Commute Options office, just look for the desk with Atomic Fireballs, washi tape, and a dinosaur.
You can email Allie here.
I’m not the most technologically proficient person, but I do have an extreme dependency on one of the most helpful and amazing technologies to grace mankind: the smart phone. With the omnipotent power of the internet in our pockets, we can find both the cutest puppy video and directions to dinner. But like all powers, we must wield it responsibly and with care—like learning which bike routes are the safest in Atlanta and how much extra time you have to curl your hair in the morning.
Metro Atlantans are constantly moving, whether we’re heading to a new restaurant, riding our bikes on the BeltLine, walking to our bocce league game, or our commute to and from work. Our smart phones can help us get from here to there, with a couple puppy videos in between.
- MARTA On the Go: Ever wanted to know exactly how long you should wait for a MARTA bus or train? Thanks to the real-time tracking on this app, you can see what street a bus is currently on and whether or not it is on time. I live only a block from my MARTA bus stop so I am able to check the app when I am getting ready in the mornings and decide when I should dash out.
- Cycle Atlanta: A project between the City of Atlanta and Georgia Tech, Cycle Atlanta allows you track your bicycle routes. A little nervous about giving biking to work a try? Ride on the weekends and test which roads you like. Cycle Atlanta allows you to easily report problem areas (obstructed bike lanes, pot holes, etc.), so that the city can improve bike infrastructure.
- 511 Georgia: Oh, Atlanta traffic. You have burned me so many times. My carpool partner and I need to make it home, but was there an accident? Which exit should I take? The 511 Georgia app can show which areas are slow moving, ongoing construction and traffic accidents. The app even updates every two minutes!
- Human: I thought I would try this new app after I read about the addiction involved when health meets technology by David Sedaris. Human encourages you to try alternative modes of transportation and then tracks and maps how much of each mode you do. An easy way to reach your fitness goals would be by trying biking or walking to work.
- Google Maps: Google Maps is a great resource for helping you find MARTA connections and bike routes. Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn’t have all the transit options available yet. If you are looking to ride transit to work, contact Georgia Commute Options and we can help you learn about your options.
Now you have the ability to use the power of the smart phone for good. With these apps you can reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality through a commute alternative! Onward!
Emily Estes is an Outreach Manager with Georgia Commute Options for Dekalb County, Rockdale County and the Airport area. Emily enjoys hot sauce, yoga, and discovering new parts of Atlanta. On any given weekend, you can find her at the Freedom Farmers' Market, walking or biking the Atlanta BeltLine, or enjoying a popsicle on her porch. Emily utilizes commute alternatives in all forms of her life, from carpooling to work to carpooling to her weekly bocce matches.
Want to connect with Emily? Email her here.
Anyone can share the ride to work, but the very best carpoolers go the extra mile. How many items on this list can you check off?
1. Plan for preferences.
Have strong feelings about radio stations? Smoking? Eating? Talking? Don’t wait for something to get under your skin—talk them out before you’ve logged the first mile. Our free ridematching tool even lets you set your preferences before getting matched.
If you’re sharing driving duties, make a schedule and stick to it.
3. Watch the money.
Chipping in for expenses? Determine ahead of time who’s paying, when, and how much.
4. Keep it clean.
Riders, don’t muck up your driver’s car. Drivers, don’t make your riders step over your gym clothes and old Filet o’Fish wrappers. Make a “clean car” policy and stick to it.
5. Avoid side trips.
Don’t make your riders come along on your errands. Stick to your carpool’s purpose of getting to and from work.
6. Watch the clock.
Don’t make your carpool buddies late; honor the departure schedule. Agree on how long the rest of the carpool has to wait for you before driving on.
7. Have a backup plan.
The unexpected happens, so prepare for how to pass info along to your carpool buddies. Establish a chain of communication for when emergencies occur. And if you can't make your carpool home because of overtime or a family emergency, you have access to the free Guaranteed Ride Home program.
8. Drive safely.
You’ve got human cargo now; take care of it. Don’t speed, take your eyes off the road or text from behind the wheel (it’s illegal anyway).
9. Get covered.
Find out how your riders are covered by your car insurance. (Many insurance providers offer reduced rates for carpoolers!)
10. Clear the air.
You’re sharing a small enclosed space, so do your part to keep it pleasant. Brush those teeth. Wash those clothes. Don’t overdo it with the cologne or perfume.
11. Compromise, cooperate.
Sometimes sharing the ride means shifting your personal habits a bit—like holding off on that first cigarette until you get to work, or eating breakfast earlier instead of en route. Be sensitive to what bothers your ride mates.
Georgia Commute Options can help you find carpool partners near you — and we’ll pay you up to $100 just for trying it out! Save money, save time, save stress — all by sharing the ride. Go to GaCommuteOptions.com to start now.
Elaine Mayo is an Outreach Manager for Georgia Commute Options servicing the Cumberland and 75N areas. She knows long commutes can be hard on the mind, body, and family as she used to have a 90-minute one-way commute. As a yoga teacher and runner, she feels extremely connected to our planet and believes Georgia Commute Options efforts start with each of us as individuals. Elaine is looking to make our region a healthier place for her, her daughter, and future generations.
Looking to get in touch with Elaine? Email her here.
1. That extra hour of sleep in the AM.
Sure, you’d rather be in gridlocked traffic, trying desperately to merge over onto 285 (insert sarcasm here). But instead, you’re lying in your comfortable bed dreaming of tropical vacations and resorts for an extra 60 minutes instead. This is an experience privileged only to those who are able to work from home, and you know how valuable this experience is.
2. The art of to-do lists (and to-do lists FOR your to-do lists)
You are proactive. Your managers believe in results, and you deliver those. In order to oblige, you write tasks daily for completion. As a teleworker, you know how to get those to-do’s to-done.
3. Extra Income
As a teleworker, you spend less money on commuting daily to work because you aren’t using as much gas or putting wear and tear on your car. You have more money to save and spend exactly how YOU like. If you want to use that money you saved by working from home to backpack across Asia, you feel completely encouraged and free to do so.
4. Trouble-shooting for dummies
Sure, when you work from home you still have access to IT, but you’ve mastered the art of hard re-sets, upsets, and wiping and swiping to reboot. You may have never fancied yourself a technologically savvy person, but you have certainly taught yourself a very useful thing or to when working remotely.
5. Your Friendly IT-er
You may have taught yourself a lot, but still aren't a professional. So, you luckily have memorized Angie/Carl/Josh/Sarah’s phone number and have a good banter/dialogue established with them. You also know their exact schedule in a non-creepy, stalker-ish way…just in case your computer crashes.
6. Pets’ napping patterns
It’s true – you know these by heart. Because even though telework is NOT a substitute for child or dependent care, your furry friends share your home workplace. They may even keep you company in your home office as you work; enabling you to grow even closer to your fur babies. Also, inadvertently making you their favorite human ever.
7. Increased Productivity
Without every co-worker stopping by your desk five times a day to ask your opinion on “XYZ project,” you find yourself free to focus on tasks and work at hand. You have the ability to assess projects distraction-free and are able to knock them out more effectively and efficiently. You get things done!
8. Time Management
Because you are trusted and tasked to work remotely and independently, you know how to delegate time to certain projects. You are able to meet deadlines because you have mastered the art of balance.
9. Workplace Happiness. Seriously.
You have the ability to work without boundaries. You aren’t stressed about getting in the car at time A in order to walk in the door by time B. You aren’t stressed from awful traffic, exceeding this month’s budget for gas money, or office drama. You are free to set your own pace, to work as efficiently as you please with less interruptions, and you feel more confident and productive as a human (and worker) because of it. Cue happy dance.
Want to learn more about teleworking? Whether you're an employer or an employee, we have the resources to get you started.
Lettie Ongie is an Account Manager who works with Government Agencies to share Georgia Commute Options. She enjoys teleworking from Roswell, trying new restaurants/pretending to be a foodie, strong coffee, and everything ATL. She’s an avid blogger and social media enthusiast who spends her free time sharing embarrassing amounts of pictures of her family on all available outlets.
Want to get in touch with Lettie? Email her here.
A lineup of summer roadway development is launching soon, meaning closed lanes and crowded roads. How can you avoid the gridlock? Georgia Commute Options can help.
Every commuter sharing the ride equals one less car on the highway. And there are more options than you think:
- Compressed Work Weeks
Sample of upcoming projects:
- City of Atlanta roadway improvements and midtown water/sewer line replacement
- Highway 400 construction
- I-75 overpass construction in Cobb County
- I-285 interchange with Atlanta Road rebuild in WestSide Perimeter project
- I-285 replacement/repair in both directions between Paces Ferry and Camp Creek Parkway
- I-20 resurfacing between Douglasville and Villa Rica
- I-20 bridge/overpass work both ways between Downtown Connector and the Chattahoochee River
- SR 316 intersection improvements in Gwinnett County
- SR 347 widening in Hall County
- SR 20 widening in Gwinnett and Forsyth Counties
- SR 284/Clarks Bridge Rd pedestrian tunnel construction in Hall County (a detour of this route will be in place until July 26)
- SR 20 widening in Bartow County
East Central Georgia:
- I-20 bridge reconstruction in Newton County
West Central Georgia:
- I-75 restriping activities in Bibb, Crawford and Peach Counties
- I-75 interchange reconstruction at Jodeco Road in Henry County
- I-85 pipeline work in Coweta County
- SR 155 intersection improvements in Henry County
For real-time construction updates, call 511 — a free phone service that provides real-time travel information statewide and allows callers to report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Lesley Carter is a communications specialist and the voice of Georgia Commute Options social media. As a car-free Atlantan, she knows how to get creative when getting from A to B — and she’s eager to help other commuters discover their non-driving potential. Lesley’s previous credits include ad copywriting, editing, blogging and youth outreach.
Picture a 50-year old man with disheveled helmet hair, a worn-out t-shirt, black bike shorts, a small rearview mirror clipped to his gold rimmed glasses and a big grin spread across his face from one ear to the other. That’s my dad and how he appeared each day around 5:45 pm. Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, my only tangible perception of my dad’s work was seeing him leave in the morning and return home in the afternoon.
My dad, Carl Egetter, spent 34 years of his professional career riding his bike to work. Sitting at the dinner table we rarely heard of his work in the aerospace industry. I’m not sure if it was because it was boring, difficult for us to understand, or classified “top-secret” information. It was most likely a mixture of the three. But what we did hear about was his exciting 11 mile (22 miles round trip!) adventure on exciting avenues like Hurt Road and Windy Hill Road. One time he even found a $20 bill! There were also the usual canine characters along the route like “Tough Guy,” a miniature dachshund mutt of some sort who in his little doggy brain believed himself to be a Tyrannosaurus rex and always kept my dad far from his lawn with his vicious demeanor.
Now that I’m a professional myself, I ride my bike to work and create my own adventures each day. My commute is much shorter (2 miles) and I can wear my work clothes and look—sorry dad—a little less dorky as I ride down Peachtree Street. I look forward to setting a similar example for my family and community as I continue to choose my bicycle as my primary means of transportation for years to come.
David Egetter has been riding his bicycle for over a year on his commute from Atlanta’s Midtown Neighborhood to Downtown Atlanta where he is an ecologist at the Environmental Protection Agency.
David’s father, Carl Egetter, can be found almost every day on the Silver Comet Trail enjoying his retirement … on his bicycle.
When people at work or around my neighborhood see me on my bike or toting my pannier, they frequently ask about my commuting experience. It probably makes sense that bike commuting provokes a reaction, given the fact that we bikers are few compared to our motor-borne brethren. But lots of folks seem to see biking as difficult, wildly adventurous, maybe foolhardy. These perceptions might have gained strength this winter, since we’ve had a bit of cold and occasionally sloppy weather. Sometimes people assume that I have a hard-core interest in cycling as an avocation. But I am no more a “serious cyclist” than I am a professional badminton player; I simply happen to get to and from work by bike. And even temperatures in the teens and twenties don’t demand superhuman resilience from a bundled rider.
I am sometimes discouraged by these interactions because they indicate that people think it takes a lot to commute by bike. Perhaps one of the best things we can do to increase our numbers is to demonstrate that getting on a bike and going to work is more straightforward than it might seem. This would seem especially true for people who have short commutes like mine (only three and a half miles).
Once I disabuse people of misconceptions about bike commuting—reasons not to do it—I find arguments for hopping on a bike easy at hand. For years before arriving in Atlanta, I commuted half an hour by car. And though I did not suffer through egregious traffic, I labored under a guilty preoccupation with my expanding carbon footprint and stiffness from an hour of imposed lethargy. I gloomily totted up my weekly mileage every time I stopped at a gas station. And I disliked arriving at work in a torpor and spending time getting myself engaged in work. Now, I take satisfaction in monitoring the tons of carbon I have not emitted, listed for me at my commute log. And I get to the office with my blood circulating vigorously, thoroughly awake. (Even if it’s bearable, the cold does have its effects.)
Happily, across only three years of bike commuting, I’ve noticed an increase in two-wheeled companions. And fewer car drivers seem perplexed about how to deal with us. The more of us there are on bikes, the easier it is for others to imagine joining us.
Thomas D. Rogers is associate professor of History at Emory University.
I was first offered the opportunity to telework full-time 10 years ago. I jumped at the chance and never looked back. At that time, I lived in Lawrenceville and commuted to Alpharetta. I was thrilled at the prospect of reclaiming countless hours consumed by the daily trek through the gridlock of the metro area’s northern suburbs. With the additional incentive of savings in gas money, I had all the motivation I needed to be a successful home-based teleworker.
In the ensuing decade, I’ve come to appreciate many of the smaller, unexpected benefits of telework. In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite things about working from home:
- Comfort and control of my environment. I’ve never been the work in pajamas type. My weekday morning routine still includes taking a shower and getting dressed in real clothes. But, every day is a casual day and I never wear shoes. On beautiful spring and fall days, I open my office window. When I’m not on a conference call, I’m enjoying my own iTunes playlist or Pandora station while I work.
- Reduced stress and increased energy. As a natural introvert, the virtual work environment is a good fit for my personality. Until I began working from home, I didn’t realize how much energy I was expending in daily social interactions at the office. Don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy network of friends and family and I’m in no danger of becoming a hermit. I do enjoy and appreciate my co-workers, but for me, it’s just as effective and much less stressful to interact with my professional colleagues primarily by telephone, email, instant messaging and desktop sharing technology.
- Work-life balance: the little things. I can put a load of laundry in the washer and grab a healthy snack from my kitchen in the same time it would have taken me to walk to the office break room and buy junk food from the vending machine. I never lose a half-day of work waiting for the cable installer, furniture delivery truck or plumber. If I finish my workday at 5 p.m., by 5:05 p.m. I can be in the kitchen starting dinner, on my way to work out, or winding down with a beverage while catching up on social media.
- Increased productivity. Even the busy times when my workload requires that I put in extra hours are less stressful and more efficient as a teleworker. There is no need to stay at the office late or lug a laptop and a stack of papers back and forth from my office to home. I can walk away from my desk, eat dinner with my family, and return to my home office for a few late-night or week-end hours when the email onslaught has slowed down and I can actually get some work done.
Not only does telework make my life easier, it benefits my employer– in real estate savings, employee retention, and the aforementioned increased productivity. And then there are the environmental benefits of eliminating the emissions of a 10-year daily auto commute! Telework may not be right for every job or personality type, but for me it’s been a win-win-win proposition all the way.
After a rough winter, Georgians are finally enjoying their first stretch of warm weather, opening their windows and starting some spring cleaning. This week, Georgia Commute Options partners are encouraging Georgia residents to not only tidy up their closets but also spring clean their commute trips. Follow the stories of real commuters on our blog as they describe their experiences.
Prior to joining my vanpool, I remember the frustration of time spent in traffic. I was often maneuvering through traffic to pass cars thinking this would save time, but that did not help. I tried alternate routes, but it took the same amount of time. Finally, I heard from a co-worker about the vanpool offered at work and I immediately signed up.
The cost of driving alone has kept going up consistently because of rising gas prices and maintenance costs. Every time I take my car for a repair, the bill is never less than a hundred dollars. This is money I am now able to save. I am also able to keep my car for a longer period of time. This is realized savings of thousands of dollars each year. Because I don’t have to pay for gas each week, I now save for vacations, have more for my kid’s college tuition and have additional savings for retirement.
Taking the vanpool has also allowed me to meet new people. There are currently 14 people on our roster, and I’ve enjoyed the relationships we have built with each other. We have become a vanpool family.
Recently during the snow storm in Atlanta, we became victim of the circumstances like so many other commuters did. Although we left work at around 1 p.m. thinking we could get home in an hour, that did not happen. It actually took us more than an hour just to get on I-75 North, which was only a mile from our building. Due to several accidents on the highway, it took us nine hours to just get to our vanpool location. After talking with other commuters, we quickly realized that we were fortunate to even get home. The credit goes to our experienced driver, who knew how to drive on icy roads. I cannot even imagine if I was not part of the vanpool that day. Having ten people together gave us courage and made the time go faster. Although it was a long commute, there is no doubt it would have felt much longer without them.
Taking the vanpool allows me to be more relaxed at work and home. It is a good feeling to wake up every day and not have to be stressed about driving to work. During the van ride in the morning, I check email, converse with others and even catch up on more sleep. When I’m riding the van home, I can read a book, converse with others and even catch up on some more sleep. I am also less tired, so I’m able to take my kids to their after school activities, and I have enough energy to play outdoor sports in the evening.
Not once have I regretted taking vanpool since I started. I would recommend a vanpool to anyone who is currently driving alone.