Companies everywhere are assessing their sustainability initiatives to combat climate change and seeing a considerable number of additional benefits.
For example, companies that have improved their sustainability game are better positioned to attract employees and investors aligned with similar values. Carbon and greenhouse gases are the main air pollutants responsible for altering our planet’s climate. These harmful emissions are attributable to vehicle use, but making widespread modifications to our daily travel patterns could significantly contribute to combating the crisis.
Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies have been implemented to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the road, help ease and mitigate traffic congestion, and improve regional air quality. To gather insights from our recent article, read Smart Growth: The Future of Sustainable Transportation, to learn more about these strategies and how they’ve enhanced corporate sustainability initiatives.
Atlanta’s Regional Air Quality Goals
In the United States, an area with air quality worse than the standards set forth by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 (P.L. 91-604, Sec. 109) is referred to as a non-attainment area under environmental law. The Atlanta region has a major success story with its recent redesignation, as it’s no longer an air quality non-attainment area.
One contributor to this success story is the commitment from corporations and their employees who utilize TDM practices like carpooling, public transportation, or personalized alternative commuting resources like the GA Commute app. These travel behavior changes have helped to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips by lowering carbon emissions and improving air quality for those living throughout metro Atlanta.
It takes a collective effort from government organizations, local businesses, and their workers to achieve environmental goals like these, making it a true triumph for everyone involved with keeping our air clean and safe to breathe.
Benefits of Improved Regional Air Quality
Improved regional air quality benefits everyone, from individuals to businesses and the environment. There are also quite a few health benefits, with recent studies from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showing that as levels of pollutants decrease, morbidity and mortality associated with air pollution also decrease. This correlation means fewer asthma attacks, allergies, respiratory illnesses, and other diseases caused by unclean air. Along with this comes decreased healthcare costs for residents due to less doctor visits and hospitalizations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), reducing air pollution can also lead to an impressive 25 percent reduction in premature mortality worldwide by 2050.
Improved concentration, alertness, and memory retention come with better air quality, leading to greater employee productivity.
Moving Forward: What Can Be Done and Who Needs to Be Involved?
There are four key areas in which communities and businesses can work together to strengthen our regional air quality while achieving sustainability goals:
- Promoting public transportation systems – This can be achieved through initiatives such as investing in public transit infrastructure and promoting the use of the existing network incentives for commuters such as discounts and rewards can help encourage potential riders to make the switch from driving to taking the bus or train. The GA Commute app makes it easy for travelers to track trips and receive rewards for their existing routes to work!
- Implementing flexwork – Hybrid work schedules and compressed workweeks can reduce traffic congestion and the associated emissions by reducing the need for employees to commute to work every day. This can also lead to cost savings for employees and employers, increased job satisfaction, and an enriched work-life balance. Learn more about our flexwork initiatives here.
- Providing subsidies for transit passes – Distributing transit passes to employees and residents encourages more frequent use of public transportation and reduces emissions from vehicles. Learn how simple it is to set up an employee benefits program here.
- Promoting alternate forms of transportation – Encouraging alternate forms such as cycling, walking, or carpooling can reduce emissions and improve air quality and public health outcomes.
For these efforts to be successful, there needs to be a collaboration between several stakeholders, including employers, employees, city officials, and the community at large, ensuring everyone is incentivized to work together towards a cleaner environment.
We’re Here to Do the Heavy Lifting for You
Air quality is an increasingly critical issue in the Atlanta region, and all of us can help improve our local air quality through simple and effective action.
While individual action matters, Georgia Commute Options continues working hard to raise awareness about the need for people to take part in initiatives that contribute to improved air quality by hosting events such as the Million Air Challenge.
With proper planning and support, it can be easier for these businesses to coordinate greener commute options for their teams. This lack of support makes it challenging for businesses to adopt flexible work hours or provide transit benefits that could motivate employees to leave their cars at home.
Georgia Commute Options provides free, easy-to-use resources that help companies like yours play a key part in reducing air pollution.