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Driving Alone is Hurting Georgians’ Health

We’ve all read articles about how long commutes are bad news for health. But those studies have never been Georgia-specific…until now. A recent study ranked Georgia’s healthiest (and unhealthiest) counties, and as it turns out, sitting alone in the car for an hour each day has a pretty disastrous effect on your well-being. Yikes.

In a fascinating turn, it’s not just the sitting that’s making us unhealthy—it’s the “alone” part of “drive alone commute.” Interacting with people is a significant health-improver, and the solo drive to work isn’t cutting it.

Lucky for metro Atlanta, it’s easy to add some human contact to your commute. Carpooling and vanpooling are just what the doctor ordered! Find a ridematch here.

Rockdale Teens Have Ideas for a Better Atlanta

Rockdale County’s awesome crop of high schoolers jumped in to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) youth leadership program and presented ideas for improving metro Atlanta to the ARC board last week. Impressive.

Think your child’s school would be interested in showing kids the value of a clean commute? Get to know our Georgia Commute Schools program!

Don’t Block Intersections — Ever.

Ever misjudged the amount of time you had before a light changed, pulled forward with your line of cars, and suddenly found yourself blocking an intersection at rush hour?

Yeah, you don’t want to be that guy.

And in fact, it’s illegal to be that guy. Georgia law says you can be fined up to $500 for entering an intersection without enough space to clear it.

Check out this new campaign just launched in the north Perimeter area to get the word out about block-free intersections

(Also, remember that one solution to blocked intersections is fewer cars on the road! Learn how to start a carpool or vanpool here.)



Most of us spend at least 30 minutes on the road to work. What can you do to pass the time? Here are ten suggestions:

  1. Read
  2. Text
  3. Tweet
  4. Eat
  5. Make a grocery list
  6. Sleep
  7. Work
  8. Learn a new language
  9. Candy Crush
  10. Car yoga

Those are just ten ideas. But you know what doesn’t have to be on the list? Driving.

Sharing the ride takes your hands off the wheel and frees up your time for anything else you’d like to do. You could spend those 30 minutes staring at brake lights ahead, or you could turn it into free time instead. Ready to get a ride buddy and get your life back? Find one here.

Lesley Carter is a communications specialist and the voice of Georgia Commute Options social media. You can get in touch with Lesley here.



Having a long commute is one thing, but doing it alone is a completely different beast. When you ride alone, you lose money. But more importantly, you lose time — and let’s be real, time is money. If you haven’t noticed, you’re getting your fair share of sitting in, whether you’re already sharing the ride into work on a carpool or riding the bus or train, or if you’re driving solo. All that sitting means more time to get things done. So whether you’re already ridesharing or are thinking about it, here are five fabulous things you can do with all that sitting time:

  1. Find knowledge. Catch up for your book club or branch out to a new, unexplored genre. Some of the books topping the New York Times Best Seller list you might want to check out include The Girl on the Train, The Wright Brothers, and Leaving Time.
  2. Make your menu. Use your Food Network, Pinterest, or AllRecipes app to plan your menu for the week. No more last-minute grocery runs for you!
  3. Stay connected. Haven’t talked to your college roommate in ages? Or do you need to plan who is taking who to the gymnastics meet and soccer game this weekend? Text or email whoever you need to get caught up since you can’t do that behind the wheel.
  4. Go on an adventure. Your commute will fly by with this Twitter throw-back to the interactive “Choose your own Adventure” books.
  5. Netflix. This site accounts for 35% of U.S. internet traffic, so why not hop on board during your commute? They have a slew of original shows as well as all of the oldies but goodies.

Look at all you can do instead of sitting behind the wheel. And we can help get you on the road to an improved and happier commute. Reach out at Info@GaCommuteOptions.com to see what commute mode is right for you.

Jenny Schultz is a Communications Specialist working on the Georgia Commute Options program. When she's not at work, she spends most of her time baking, dancing, and pretending to paint her house. Jenny has a pretty sweet telework space complete with Ikea furniture, a stability ball, and a fantastic view of her backyard.



Looking for easy ways to save money or be less stressed? Why not switching up your commute a bit? A new, cleaner commute can be super fun, save some money, put more dough in your pocket, and help relieve some of your daily stress. And it’s just a mouse click away. Georgia Commute Options can help get your started with a variety of options for clean commuting.

Carpooling

  • If you have a carpool of three people, you can earn a $40 gas card, and if you carpool with four or more people, you can earn a $60 gas card — each month you carpool for 12 months within a 3-year period.
  • Georgia Commute Options provides a free ridematching service to help you find carpool partners. We have thousands in our database looking for the same thing, and some might live or work near you.

Vanpooling

  • Vanpooling allows you to ride in a van along with 7-15 other clean commuters.
  • Referring a new vanpool rider earns you $50 after the new rider has completed three consecutive months in a vanpool. And you can refer as many new riders as you want, for as long as you are vanpooling.

Transit

  • When you take transit to work and log your trips online, you are entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift card each month.
  • Several employers offer discounted transit passes or help you purchase them with pre-tax dollars. Check with your HR department to see if you qualify.

Telework

  • Many employers allow you to work from home, which can increase your productivity and reduce your stress levels.
  • When you log your telework days with Georgia Commute Options, you are entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift card each month. 1 in 10 win!

Compressed Work Week

  • Some employees work a Compressed Work Week, which means compressing a full 40 hours into fewer than five days, giving you at least one less day to commute to and from work.

Bike/Walk

  • Fit in your workout as part of your commute, enjoy an emissions-free trip, and avoid sitting in traffic.
  • When you log those trips, even if it’s just part of the way, you are entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift card each month.

If you couldn’t tell, Georgia Commute Options is here to help you save money and earn even more. For more information on all of the incentive programs available to metro Atlanta commuters, click here.

Victoria is the Junior Communications Specialist for the Georgia Commute Options team - helping out with writing, editing, and maintaining all our important deadline schedules. She's a big fan of carpooling and Reese's. Want to get in touch with Victoria? Click here.



Did you know research shows that a frustrating commute to work can have a significant effect on your health? Long distance commuters have decreased cardiorespiratory fitness and higher blood pressure. February marks American Heart Month, and there is no better time to establish heart healthy habits than now.  According to the American Heart Association, lowering stress and increasing physical activity are two ways to a healthier heart. The good news is that choosing a commute alternative, such as carpooling or riding transit, can help with both! Becoming a clean commuter even once or twice a week, can reduce your stress and improve your outlook. 

Registering with Georgia Commute Options can help you find a vanpool or carpool partner– you save money and can share the drive.  Sharing the ride can help you get to work less stressed and home quicker in the HOV lane.

Physical activity is also an important part of overall good health. The average transit rider walks 95 minutes a week, giving them a head start on the goal of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. Want another way to combine your commute and exercise? Many choose to bike part of the way to work, saving time at the gym and improving their cardiovascular health.

I’m lucky -- my employer offers the option to telework 1-2 days a week. Teleworking lowers my stress, as I do not have to fight the rush hour commute. It also allows me to find time in my day for a workout, whether during my lunch break or during what would be my long commute home. An added bonus to taking a commute alternative: you can log your commute with Georgia Commute Options and be entered into the monthly $25 prize drawing.

In honor of American Heart Month, make a commitment to a healthier you by trying a commute alternative.

Alexandra is an Outreach Manager for Georgia Commute Options and works with our commuters in Norcross and Johns Creek. If you need help finding an alternative to driving alone to your work site in those areas, she’s your girl! She’s also an Atlanta native who knows her way around town. Fun fact about Alexandra: She, her grandmother, and her dad all went to the same elementary school. Need to get in touch with her? Email her at AlexandraO@GaCommuteOptions.com.



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.  



Vanpoolooza 2013 has continued to be a success at the open house events Downtown and in Buckhead.

The Downtown event was held by representatives from Central Atlanta Progress, The Clean Air Campaign, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, V-Ride and Douglas County Rideshare at the Georgia Freight Depot.

Both current and prospective riders came to learn about the benefits of vanpooling and met with vanpool providers to get more people to join their van or start a new vanpool.

The Buckhead Open House was this morning at Two Alliance Center. Star94 helped get the party started with games and prizes and representatives from BATMA and The Clean Air Campaign helped the current and prospective vanpoolers get in touch with the right vanpool providers.

There's just one more Vanpoolooza Open House left so if you're interested in joining or starting a vanpool, or want to add some additional riders to your current vanpool, check out what's in store at the last event.



The Vanpoolooza open house events kicked off this afternoon at the Cumberland location. Representatives from The Clean Air Campaign, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, V-Ride and Douglas County Rideshare were on hand to recognize dedicated vanpoolers and tell newcomers about free services to get started on a vanpool.

The current vanpoolers and prospective vanpoolers were kept entertaining by Star94 reps who kept the party alive with music, games, and raffled off concert tickets, restaurant gift cards, and fun goodies for those who attended.

 

If you are you interested in learning more about vanpooling or want to add new riders to your current vanpool, as well as compete in contests to win prizes, check out our other vanpool open houses:

Downtown Open House: Thursday, May 30 at 12:00 pm
Buckhead Open House: Wednesday, June 5 at 12:00 pm
Emory/VA Open House: Wednesday, June 12 at 12:00 pm

Have fun and enjoy!



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