Free services to help improve how you get to and from work.

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.

2. Rotate.
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 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:

  • Carpool
  • Vanpool
  • Transit
  • Bike/Walk
  • Telework
  • Compressed Work Weeks

Sample of upcoming projects:

Metro Atlanta:

  • 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

Northeast Georgia:

  • 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)

Northwest Georgia:

  • 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.

More information is available at and Check back for more summer updates throughout the coming weeks here.

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.  

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.

In the mid 1980’s, I was working in downtown Atlanta for a major bank. I left this job after a few years and said to myself, “I’m never working in downtown Atlanta again. The traffic and commute are ridiculous.”

Never say never, because here I am again, working in midtown. So how can my commute be better this time? Well, it just so happens my husband, Jimmy, also works in midtown about 10 minutes away.

Every morning we leave our house at 5 a.m. because he starts work at 5:30 a.m. Since I don’t start until 6:30 a.m., I’m able to take a 30 minute or so nap before driving to my job. In the afternoons, I go back and pick Jimmy up for the ride home. What’s great about this is that we split the driving. I drive in the morning and Jimmy takes over in the afternoon. Occasionally if I don’t feel well, I’ll ask Jimmy if he will drive in, and being the good person and husband that he is, he always agrees.

In the past, we would drive to and from our jobs separately. After arriving home each day, we would give each other 30 minutes or so to “chill” from the drive before discussing our day. Sometimes the drive would be so bad and we would be in such a bad mood that we would take our moods out on each other. That is not the case now.

Now we talk about our day during our ride home together each day and also “vent” if necessary. When we do get home, we are in a good mood and come home to one happy little dog. No matter how bad our day has been, our dog is happy to see us and puts us in an even better mood.

A couple of other positives about carpooling include:

  1. Driving in the HOV lane
  2. Saving money: We save about $300 a month in fuel costs and are able to keep mileage off our second vehicle
  3. Spending time together: We go ahead and “de-stress” from work because we are together
  4. Faster commuting: It makes our drive home seem quicker because we are not alone. It also keeps us off our cell phone because we have each other to talk to.
  5. Catching up on rest: Occasionally, I’m able to take a nap on the way home so I’m recharged when I get home.

One of the best stories I can tell you about our carpooling during the past six and a half years is from our recent January Snow Jam. We all know what a horrible, unnecessary traffic jam we had. We did make it home that night, but it took us thirteen and a half hours to get there. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that my husband was with me and that we had a four wheel drive vehicle. Otherwise, I may have lost my mind to anxiety and we could have been stranded like many others. Luckily I was not stranded and was not alone. Jimmy remained calm, cool and collected. A couple of days later, the director of the company I work for said to me, “You and Jimmy spent thirteen and a half hours together during this drive home and you’re still married?” I laughed and said, “Yes of course, in fact, we are even closer now.” It’s amazing how a stressful situation can make you appreciate each other and bring you closer as a couple.

One of the benefits of “Logging our Commute” each day is my name gets drawn two to three times a year for the monthly $25 gift card. I’ve also been awarded the “25,000 and 50,000 Clean Air Champion” Award.

Starr Camp is a Sr. Accountant for Atlanta Center for Medical Research. Her husband, Jimmy, works as a manager for Overhead Door Company of Atlanta. Starr’s hobbies include photography and scrapbooking. She is a Lifetime member of “Georgia Nature Photographers Association” and serves as their Treasurer and also serves on several of their committees. Jimmy is an avid weekend backpacker and a member of several hiking clubs.

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.

Like most Atlantans, I use to spend a great deal of my life in my automobile. Commuting 36 miles roundtrip for 18 years took its toll on my nerves and my wallet.

Almost ten years ago, I decided to make a major life change and live closer to work. I moved downtown about a mile from my job and ended my car addiction forever. At first I would drive the short distance from my loft to CNN, but then I discovered Georgia Commute Options. In addition to receiving gift cards from The Clean Air Campaign via the Georgia Commute Options program, my employer also offered special incentives to ditch my ride and walk or ride a bike to work. I also got a free gym membership from Turner Broadcasting.

I actually went two years entirely without owning a car and discovered things about myself and the city of Atlanta I would never have learned sitting solo in traffic. I uncovered a growing community of avid cyclists that are determined to improve their health and their wallets by pedaling instead of driving. I unearthed the culture and pulse of our fine city on the seat of my bamboo bicycle. I also enjoy walking or riding my bicycle to my local grocery store and to some of the fine restaurants located downtown.

Letting my car sit idle has given me the freedom that I thought only an overpriced car could provide. The citizens of Atlanta need to break their cycle of addiction to cars and discover a whole world of stressless pollution free commuting.

Carpooling, moving closer to your job, and/or riding a bike or taking mass transportation will not only save you big bucks, but improve your health and frame of mind in the process.

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.

Ever seen the movie “12 Angry Men”?

It’s the story of a jury serving on a homicide trial. At the start, eleven of the jurors vote to find the defendant guilty; only one believes he’s innocent. That juror plants a seed of reasonable doubt. By the end, all 12 believe the defendant innocent, and they acquit him.

In a car-centric city like Atlanta, I sometimes feel like that one juror when discussing MARTA with those who don’t take transit.

Many who are inclined to dismiss MARTA bring up the expected issues, ranging from perceived downsides (safety issues, etc.) to actual downsides (the limited range of existing routes). Their vote is no from the start.

In having these conversations, I like to share my own “conversion process” regarding MARTA.

I was an Atlanta driver for years – idling away in a sea of cars during rush hours – just because I didn’t understand or trust the alternatives. Then a friend – think of him like that one steadfast juror – told me how he used MARTA to make a similar commute. Why not try it a couple times a month?

I did. I found I liked doing crosswords, listening to music, or even taking a light nap better than sitting in traffic. So I tried it some more. Once weekly. Twice weekly. Most of the time...

Then all the time. A year ago, I gave up my car entirely, opting not to do major repairs on my older car since I was riding MARTA daily anyway. I live close enough to the College Park MARTA station to just walk.

A major benefit has been establishing a daily routine, Forrest Gump-like in its simplicity, of walking our 10-year-old son to school. If I got no other benefit from going carless, the memories I’ll have of these walks would be enough.

But wait, there’s more... (Here I go into “lone juror” evangelical mode)

  • I’ve saved enough money to afford some nice vacations and allocate more dollars to 401k.
  • I’m walking about 20 miles a week, so I’m healthier.
  • It feels good to go green.
  • I’ve had conversations with friends on the train that wouldn’t have happened without MARTA – and even gotten re-acquainted with old friends (see this article with that serendipitous story)
  • I’ve eliminated the stress of sitting in traffic.Regarding any safety issues: in my driving days, I had incidents of road-rage directed at me that were far worse than anything I’ve seen in 15 years of riding MARTA. And on MARTA, you can always just change trains at the next stop.

So, if you’re not a MARTA rider - is that enough to switch your vote from “no” to “I’ll try it”? Your verdict is important.

And if you do ride MARTA, are you spreading the word to others? Your outreach is important too. Change the no votes to yes.