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In December 2011, my resolution was not to make resolutions ever again…save one: to live a life that I love. A life I love is filled with compassion, non-judgment, empathy, humor and kindness to everything that lives.

Now within that broad mindset, I do have one simple rule I have vowed to live by. Some would consider a resolution. I want to be the change(s) that I want to see in the world. I gave some thought to the things in my life that are unpleasant and cannot totally be avoided, and that is where I chose to be the change. I won’t go into the whole list; for the purpose of this blog I will speak to a topic that many metro Atlantans can relate to: the often miserable daily commute.

In the spirit of the Serenity Prayer, let’s apply that loosely to commuting:

Serenity to accept what I cannot change – That’s easy. I’m a single mom who has to work to pay the bills. After my divorce in 2012, I knew I would have to find a better paying job, and I accepted the fact that I would again be driving to Atlanta.

The courage to change what I can – A position came open with the Georgia Commute Options program as part of the Outreach team, and I jumped at the chance. Now I am able to take care of myself and my daughter on my own.  And the best part?  The fact that I get paid to do a job that I love.  I admire the efforts of our team and the generous incentive programs in place to encourage individual commuter behavior change. Our $3 A Day program pays first-time clean commuters up to $100.00 just to try it for 90 days! I am proud that what I do encourages others to join in being the change so many of us would like to see.   

The wisdom to know when I have it better than I ever could have imagined – Ok, so maybe I am back in the car again. It is what it is. But I am afforded the wonderful privilege of teleworking when I do not have to be in the office.  And there are so many winners in this deal.

  1. Georgia Commute Options officially has the world’s most loyal, hardworking employee;
  2. If the weather is inclement to the point of being dangerous, I am not pressured to be on the road, thereby staying out of the way of emergency responders;
  3. I am proof positive that teleworking WORKS, so part of my efforts in 2015 will be to convince more Atlanta area employers to give teleworking serious consideration.

And finally, the wisdom to know the difference – At Georgia Commute Options, we know alternatives to driving alone are not available for all Atlanta drivers. But until public transportation becomes more a part of the culture of this city, please keep in mind that we are here to answer questions, encourage drivers to participate in our incentive programs, and, well…at least consider being the change you want to see. Happy New Year!

Elaine Mayo is an Account Manager for Georgia Commute Options servicing the 85 South and 75 South 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.



Atlanta's newest transportation choice is open for business, and it brings new and exciting commute options to the table. The Atlanta Streetcar runs a 2.7 mile loop from the King Historic District to Centennial Olympic Park. With twelve stops, including a platform right outside the Peachtree Center MARTA Station, the Atlanta Streetcar makes even more of downtown accessible by transit. Plus, the streetcars allow bicycles on board, so going multimodal is even easier!

The big, beautiful, blue cars each hold up to 200 people, which means less traffic congestion downtown! So jump on the system and take a streetcar to your next destination. The office buildings in the Peachtree corridor, Phillips Arena, the Sweet Auburn Curb Market and more are all within walking distance of the alignment. And, during the first three months, the system is totally free!

See more route information and helpful fare info here.

Save money, discover Downtown, and ride Atlanta's newest transit system.

Shayna Pollock is the Project Manager for Transportation and Sustainability at Central Atlanta Progress. She commutes from Reynoldstown to Downtown on her loyal bicycle, affectionately called "the minivan" for its basket capacity. In her free time, she can be found doing yoga, reading, or baking. 



It is really easy to say on December 31st that you are going to go to the gym five days a week or only eat sweets on the weekends, but it’s not always that easy to do. I am the worst at holding myself accountable to something for a month, let alone 365 days a year. This year I am making a resolution that I know I can keep and I have this blog post to keep me honest:

I will use a commute alternative to work 20% of the year.
 
(Since I usually work 5 days a week, that means I’m taking an alternative commute 1 day a week.)

Trying commute alternatives does not mean you have to give up your car and your freedom forever. It is about making small changes that will ultimately make a huge impact. I drive 62 miles round trip to work, or 310 miles each week. Think about the impact I can make on air quality by removing 62 miles from Georgia roadways every week. I even calculated it below using My Commute Impact Report from my commuter profile at GaCommuteOptions.com. The cost savings is amazing. We could use that money to pay off my husband’s truck or put it aside in a savings account for our kid’s college fund.

 

Per Week

Per Year (50 weeks/year)

Round Trip Miles

62

3100

Pounds of Pollution

50.0549

2502.745

Cost Savings

$32.09

$1604.50

Now I need to decide which alternatives make the most sense for me. Luckily my employer supports telework. I have a great office space at home with high-speed internet and I could save a lot of time by not driving into work. But, I am also thinking about finding a carpool partner. Our office is in a multi-tenant office complex, and I bet the ridematching tool could help me. Once my profile is updated, I can set up email reminders to alert me whenever I have new matches in the system. I found six matches on my first try!

The thing is, switching up your commute doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing deal. Maybe you can’t completely replace driving alone with biking, taking transit or carpooling every single day. But what if it wasn’t every day? Could you possibly ride in with a coworker just on Fridays? Take transit on Tuesdays? Dust off that bike and ride it to work twice a month? (That one could also help you with that annual resolution to get fit!)

Think about how small changes could add up to big benefits for you in 2015—then, let us know how we can help.

Allie Velleca is the Georgia Commute Options Program Manager and also services some accounts in the I-75N corridor. 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 glowing reindeer.



Welcome 2015!  And welcome back to work and the daily grind.  Or is it?  Don’t let the post-holiday blues convince you it has to be last year’s old routine.  If you’re looking to shake things up in the New Year, why not start with how you get to work?  Resolutions don’t have to be just good intentions this year — they can become reality if you work them into your daily commute.

Our friends at USA.gov compiled a list of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions.  Not surprisingly, weight loss and plans to get fit are at the top of the list.  On one hand, you can purchase an expensive gym-bership and fight for your turn on an elliptical.  Or, you can slide on your sneakers and walk to work.  Or hop on your Huffy and cycle there!  Either way, you can easily get your cardio in, see the sights and help reduce traffic and pollution.

Maybe you’re no stranger to your fat burning zone.  Congrats; you’re already in tip-top shape.  But is your bank account?  If your finances are the part of your life you have resolved to work out this year, consider commute alternatives.  There’s lots of money to be saved by taking transit or joining a carpool or vanpool as opposed to driving alone.  Carpooling can save you $800 a year, and riding transit can save you almost $1,200 annually. Don’t forget, Georgia Commute Options has cash incentives like $3 A Day, $25 Prizes, and $40-$60 Gas Cards when you choose to switch up your commute. 

And still there are those that want to improve their mental fitness. By taking a carpool, vanpool or transit, you’ll have time to read, nap or get extra work done.  As a passenger, you’ll have the opportunity to reduce stress and invest your time in different interests.  You’ve got 99 problems, but your commute doesn’t have to be one. 

No matter your goal, Time.com wants you to remember that in order to successfully stick to your resolution, you should share your experience with others.  Not only does it hold you accountable, it encourages your friends and family to join in the fun.  Share your commute with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and reap the positive rewards!

Courtney is the Georgia Commute Options Administrative Assistant. You'll hear her friendly voice if you ever give us a call. She's a Pinterest and Netflix junkie, and loves baking and making lists. If you want to get in touch with Courtney, you can email her here.



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