Commute (verb) – to travel some distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis.
Regular. Consistent. Recurring. That’s the morning and afternoon commute we see every day in metro Atlanta, which drives congestion on our roads and leads to frustration among city residents. But the same cycle leads to the same results: take the same commute and you’ll see the same congestion patterns.
But road congestion in metro Atlanta can change and it starts with you. And rather than frustrating, your commute can be rewarding. Literally.
Ready to save yourself from stress and save money? Start with an option to driving alone – biking, carpooling, flexible working, taking transit, vanpooling – then sign up for an incentive program through Georgia Commute Options which will drive some change back into your wallets:
- Gimme Five: New program participants can earn $5 a day — up to $150 — for trying a new commute option other than driving alone.
- $25 Enter to Win: Existing clean commuters are entered to win monthly $25 prizes for logging their commutes.
- Monthly Gas Card: Carpoolers with three or more riders can earn monthly gas cards.
- Vanpool $50 Referral: Individuals can receive $50 for referring a new vanpool rider after that new rider has completed three consecutive months on a vanpool.
- Guaranteed Ride Home: Program participants are promised a guaranteed ride home when unexpected events occur. Participants can receive up to five free rides, by taxi or rental car, to their home or car in case of emergency.
We’re ready to help you drive change towards a better commute. Visit www.GAcommuteoptions.com.
From long drives to work to congested on-site parking, morning and afternoon commutes can be challenging for metro Atlantans. As the region continues to grow and bring more job seekers to the area, the business community must consider other commuting options to alleviate stress, boost work productivity and improve air quality.
To jumpstart this thinking, Georgia Commute Options will launch the inaugural Clear the Deck Challenge, a regional initiative to reduce parking consumption through the promotion of alternatives to driving alone. During the week of May 14th – 18th, participating property managers and employers will challenge their employees to use cleaner commute options such as teleworking, biking, walking or taking transit for at least one day during the week.
During the initiative, property managers and/or employers will monitor parking consumption through their decks and lots to showcase decreases. At the end of the week, Georgia Commute Options will release data to showcase how metro Atlantans rose to the challenge of trying different commuting options and subsequently reduced the need to park at their worksites.
Employees who participate in the Clear the Deck challenge and opt for a different way of commuting to and from work may also be eligible for incentive programs offered by Georgia Commute Options.
You know spring is here when the Atlanta Braves host their home opener. If you’re headed to SunTrust Park March 29th, consider taking advantage of transit to avoid traffic and parking costs. SunTrust Park has three commute options – CobbLinc, MARTA or the new Cumberland Circulator - designed to get Braves fans to the game quickly.
· CobbLinc – Cobb County’s CobbLinc bus departs from the Arts Center MARTA station and travels near SunTrust Park. Just exit the bus at Cobb Parkway and Windy Ridge Road, and walk 10 minutes up Windy Ridge Parkway to the stadium.
· MARTA – Three MARTA stations, Arts Center, Medical Center and Dunwoody, are all about a 15-minute car ride away. A MARTA bus departs from the Midtown MARTA station and travels to the Cumberland Mall Transfer center. From there, connect with the new Cumberland Circulator shuttle to reach the stadium.
· Cumberland Circulator – CobbLinc runs three routes – blue, green and red – that run within the Cumberland area.
Purchase your game tickets, wear your Braves jersey and hop on a transit option to get to the game before the first pitch.
To find other commute options in your area, visit www.GAcommuteoptions.com.
March Madness is underway. And with 64 basketball teams competing for the NCAA Championship, sports fans will be traveling across the country to cheer for their favorite teams. Charlotte and Nashville are slated to host games for rounds one and two and then the south regional final games will take place. As fans travel through Atlanta to get to these cities, there’s a big chance that traffic congestion will increase as a result.
If you’re heading to either south regional final game, consider taking MARTA to one of the stations near Phillips Arena. But if you’re commuting to work around metro Atlanta, especially on the days of the south regional final games (March 22ndand March 24th), multiple transit options around the city can still help you avoid traffic during your commute. Taking transit is a great way to save money for last-minute game tickets.
For those who want to avoid traffic completely on game-day but still get work accomplished, consider a flexible working arrangement through Georgia Commute Options FlexWork program:
- Compressed work week or Flex time - If you can’t change how you get to work, try changing when you get to work. Adjusting the time you come in and leave the office can dramatically improve your commute. By driving during off-peak times, you can avoid sitting in traffic and get to work a lot faster.
- Telework - Want to skip traffic entirely? Ask your employer about a telework arrangement, even its temporary. Telework is most effective as a part of a permanent program, but situational telework can help employers manage disruptions to improve business continuity. Employers who dip their toes in the telework waters might find that their employees are happier and more productive. Per the 2017 Flex Jobs and Global Workplace Analytics study, 77% of those who reported working remotely at least a few times per month had greater productivity while working offsite.
Avoid the madness. Try a new commute option instead. To find an option that works for you, visit http://bit.ly/2pIvOO9.
Finding a carpool partner is a lot like entering into a new relationship: it starts with compatibility. And while finding a carpool partner can be stressful, we’re here to help. Here are three tips to consider when finding your ride match:
- Honesty - Do you consistently work late or have early-morning meetings? Be honest about your weekly schedule to determine if carpooling together will work for you.
- Accountability – Gas, parking and wear and tear on your car add up. Decide if you want to split a set amount of money each week to cover these expenses, or if another way of splitting the costs is right for you. And there’s good news! Georgia Commute Options pays up to $60 in gas cards for new carpools.
- Personality – Some prefer country music. Others prefer pop. And some folks are chatty while others would rather ease into the morning with coffee and minimal conversation. Get a feel for your potential carpool partner by asking what they like to do in their free time or what kind of music they listen to. It’ll help determine if that commute will be the quickest 30 minutes you’ve ever spent in the car.
Ready to find your carpool partner? Visit www.GAcommuteoptions.com.
Winter weather can freeze Atlanta businesses’ productivity. And since winter isn't over yet, there's the possibility winter weather will strike again.
Instead of wasting another business day, Georgia Commute Options has tips to help metro Atlantans telework. Here are a few reasons why businesses should encourage teleworking for winter weather days:
- Safety: By keeping drivers off icy roads, you are not only keeping your employees safe but all drivers.
- Productivity: Telecommuting drives up employee efficiency. Forbes reports that two-thirds of managers see an increase in overall productivity from their remote employees.
- Health & Wellness: Allowing employees to work from home makes them healthier. In a 2014 study, 80% of remote workers reported higher morale and 82% reported lower stress levels. Working remotely also removes cars from the road, improving air quality for our lungs and the environment.
- Cost-savings: Studies show that unscheduled absences cost employers $1,800 per employee per year. That adds up to $300 billion per year for U.S. companies. The American Management Association found that organizations that implement a telework program saw a 63% reduction in unscheduled absences.
- Test for the future: Allowing employees to work from home during weather advisories lets employers test drive teleworking. If employers see positive results, GCO has worksite advisors who can help employers create a permanent teleworking program.
And, here are some tips for employees who may be new to teleworking:
- Set up your environment: Find a quiet space where you can focus. Experts say your workspace should NOT be at your kitchen table or in your bedroom. Ideally you have a comfortable desk and chair set up.
- Establish office hours: Create a schedule that delineates when you are “at work” and when you are off the clock. Establishing office hours helps separate your work life from your home life.
- Be reachable: Check in with your manager and co-workers at least once a day. Not only does it let them know you are available, it fosters healthy working relationship with your team.
- Move around: FEMA suggests standing for your calls and taking necessary breaks helps you stay focused and productive while working remotely.
Learn about all the benefits of teleworking before the next winter storm strikes. http://bit.ly/2rATPIx
After pedaling across the finish line of Biketober, Atlanta’s Annual Bike Challenge, you might be wondering where our collective two-wheeled endeavors took us.
From the BeltLine to Path400, bike lanes to cul-de-sacs, Biketober results exceeded expectations. Participation in this year’s challenge increased 31 percent, with a total of 1,762 riders. These riders logged nearly 30,000 trips during the challenge – a 49 percent increase from the previous year.
In addition to enjoying a less stressful commute, participants in Biketober helped reduce congestion and emissions across the region, something we all stand to benefit from. We also awarded more than 20 prizes to participants! Take a look at everything riders won this year:
$600 towards a bike or bike gear from a bike shop of your choice
Winner: Currie Cole Smith - Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. - Team Kimley-Horn
$500 towards a bike of your choice
Winner: Joseph Gardner –The Biking Dead
Uuni Pizza Oven
Winner: Tom Rasmussen – Bikefriendlyatl
$100 gift card for Vespertine NYC apparel
Winner: Tim Ehlbeck – Team Daimler Bikers North America
2 x T2 Helmet from Torch
Winner: Daniel Pastrich – Team Monkey Business
Winner: Candice Thiessen
Men's or Women's apparel set from Patagonia
Winner: Sean Sanders - Morgan Stanley – Atlanta
Winner: Alice Grossman - Georgia Tech CEE Transpo
Two tickets to ANY show at Dad's Garage
Winner: Linda Rathje – Team Stevens & Wilkinson
Two tickets to Mission: Escape Atlanta
Winner: Robyn Stoddard - high consequence commuters
Gift Card to the new Georgia Beer Garden
Winner: Nathan Woodruff - Council of State and Territorial – Epidemiologists
4 x $25 gift cards from Midway Pub
Winner: Alex Fite Wassilak - TSW Planners
Winner: Dave G - Manifest Speed
Winner: Kat Meagley - Just Keep Spinning
Winner: Scott Palmer - Bike Roswell! Board 2017
Passes to Atlanta Rocks! Indoor Climbing Gym
Winner: Angela Speeth - Lord Aeck Sargent-1
4 x Free Flight Coupons to the new Monday Night Brewing Garage
Winner: Sarah Kuester - CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
Winner: Aung Aung - Georgia State University - Adair Park
Winner: Yeou Jih - City of Atlanta Resilient - Road Warriors
Winner: Yolonda Freeman - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
4 x all-inclusive tickets to any Family Series Show at the Center for Puppetry Arts
Winner: Joel Webber - FullStorians
Winner: Jeevan Kumar Makam - RCEC team
Winner: Christian DiCenso - Delta Air Lines Cycling Club
Winner: Tenisio Seanima - For Alice
1 x free week (5 days Monday through Friday) of Good Measure Meals (valued at $120.00)
Winner: Pearl Caplan - CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
Southwest Airlines Certificates (valued at $150.00 each)
Winner: Jennifer Leavey - Georgia Tech Sci Riders
Many thanks go to our generous sponsors for enlivening the competition by making these prizes possible. And to all who participated, thank you for making Biketober 2017 a huge success. We hope you all join us again next year!
- The Georgia Commute Options Team
With additional shoppers on the road, commuting around the holidays can be tough. To make your commute easier during the busy shopping season and beyond, you can try an alternative commute like carpooling, vanpooling, taking transit or biking. If you are indeed thinking about making the switch to a new form of commuting, or you’re looking for a holiday gift for your favorite commuter, check out these suggestions for “must have” commute accessories to add to your wish list this holiday season:
- Noise cancelling, Bluetooth Headphones or earbuds – Listening to music, a podcast or audio book is one of the best ways to unwind before the day starts. Cutting out the chords gives you more freedom and flexibility.
- Tablet, e-reader or book – Many avid readers find their commutes among the best times to squeeze in a few pages. Think of all the reading you can get done while your friends are white knuckling their commutes.
- Backpack, messenger bag or laptop bag – Having a productive commute means bringing your work with you. Stay organized and mobile with a new bag this year.
- Portable batteries/Power Bank – Nothing is worse than being in the middle of a playlist with most of your commute to go and your phone dies. It’s always good to have a backup for those times you can’t plug in.
- Water bottle or travel mug – Whether your choice is water or coffee – we all have to stay hydrated (and awake), right?
- Compact umbrella – The weather can be sporadic this time of year. So having a lightweight umbrella on-hand at all times is essential.
- Waterproof Phone Case: Always being on the go can be tough on those essential accessories. Keep your phone protected with a durable, waterproof case (it’s just one less thing to stress about).
Of course, the best gift of all is a new stress-free commute. Check out all your clean commute options at www.GAcommuteoptions.com.
Easier commutes. More exercise. Time with friends. Metro Atlantans had a range of reasons for participating in this year’s Biketober: 2017 Atlanta Bike Challenge. For Decatur resident, Dave Mathews, it was to raise awareness for safer roads in honor of fallen bikers.
For more than two years, Dave has participated in the annual bike challenge with colleagues who support Bike Friendly Atlanta (BFA), a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for cyclists struck and killed by a vehicle. “Ghost bikes” are memorials created by the organization to represent fallen cyclists.
The 2017 Atlanta Bike Challenge began Oct. 1 and after a few days, Dave’s team was at capacity, so a second team formed. Ranging from professional bikers to novice athletes, the team members woke up each workday of October to ride and log their miles throughout the metro area.
“Our organization travels throughout the Southeast in hopes of promoting our cause and creating a safer environment for all cyclists,” said Dave. “We’re always open to new challenges and welcomed the opportunity to participate again in this year’s Atlanta Bike Challenge.”
As a professional tennis player, Dave uses biking as cross-training. And along with other colleagues on his team, Dave will bike about 4 to 5 days a week. While the activity levels range, Dave insists that no interested rider is left behind regardless of skill level.
“Some members of the team ride about 1,300 to 1,400 miles a month as part of their commute,” said Dave. “But whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or a casual rider, speed won’t dampen my enthusiasm to bike each morning.
Whether you choose to bike for exercise or time with friends, consider biking as a clean commute option to help reduce traffic while making it a bit easier for everyone to breathe!
Whether or not you are participating in the Atlanta Bike Challenge with the explicit goal of getting healthier, here are some helpful tips to keep you moving through Biketober!
- Drink lots of cool water. When cycling, drink before you get thirsty. Sip on the water and electrolyte drinks, even if it’s not hot outside on those hot days.
- Take breaks. This sounds like common sense, but it is important.
- Dress appropriately.
- Hydrate and replenish after each and every bike ride.
- Check the weather: Determine what type of gear and clothing you should pack for your ride. Remember that bike lights will always make you more visible in the rain
- Wear a helmet.
- Ditch the headphones. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings when riding. Listening to headphones will block out ambient traffic noise. Consider a small portable stereo if you want to listen to music.
Pack a Snack
- Powered by the Peel: Bananas are snacks ready to roll; they are famous for their potassium and contain carbohydrates that may enhance your muscles' abilities to use the fuel efficiently.
- Peanut Butter Jelly Time: PB&J's are perfect pocket fuel. The bread and jam (or honey) provide carbohydrates and the peanut butter offers protein and fats. Allergic to peanuts? Try almond butter if you can tolerate tree nuts or sunflower butter if not. Swap a tortilla for bread to prevent having a squashed sandwich. Cut your sandwich into quarters and have one piece at 15- to 20-minute increments.
- Trail Mix: Dried fruits and nuts are a concentrated source of carbohydrates. Dried apricots, prunes and raisins have the added benefit of potassium. Mix your favorite fruits with nuts and seeds to keep your body supplied with energy, vitamin E and magnesium. If you have a heavy sweat rate, you may want to choose salted nuts and seeds.
- Water Works: In general, if you're planning to bike for an hour or less, water is the best way to stay hydrated and to prevent drinking the calories you just burned. If you're going to be rolling for more than an hour, have a heavy sweat rate or the weather is exceptionally hot, consider having two bottles with you — one for water and one for a sports drink. You may purchase a sports drink for the sake of convenience, but making your own with black or green iced tea, a splash of juice, some sugar and a pinch of salt is easy and provides an added antioxidant boost. Take sips of fluid often to maintain hydration and alternate between the two drinks if packing both.
Track your progress at ATLBikeChallenge.com and make sure to celebrate the strides your making.