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EPA Tool Helps States Show Air Quality Improvements from Commuter Programs

Release Date: 10/28/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: John Millett, 202-564-4355 /

(10/28/05) With new guidance from EPA, state and local air pollution control agencies can demonstrate air quality improvements from commuter programs that encourage carpooling, public transit or other commuting alternatives that cut emissions by reducing the number of cars on the road. EPA released its guidance document to use in determining pollution reductions for their State Implementation Plans (SIPs) and transportation conformity determinations required by the Clean Air Act.

EPA is also releasing its updated COMMUTER Model, which is a software tool for estimating the benefits of these programs, such as changes in vehicle miles traveled, emissions, and fuel consumption.

Programs like EPA's Best Workplaces for Commuters cut the number of vehicles on the roads, leading to reductions in air pollution. Best Workplaces for Commuters is a partnership program between EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation, and private and public-sector employers throughout the country. Transportation planners use these types of reductions in SIP and conformity determinations. Areas that are do not meet federal standards for particulate matter and ozone may be eligible to use these credits as they demonstrate how they will meet EPA's national air quality standards.

Many tools are available for quantifying the effectiveness of voluntary emission control measures. One of them is the newly revised COMMUTER Model. The model will allow planners to calculate their emission credits by including information such as number of employees, trip length, local travel information, vehicle fleet mix, and season. The model can also be used to forecast changes in emissions, vehicle miles traveled, and volume and value of fuel saved.

The document "Guidance for Quantifying and Using Emission Reductions from Best Workplaces for Commuter Programs in State Implementation Plans and Transportation Conformity Determinations," as well as the COMMUTER model and user manuals are available at: Information about Best Workplaces for Commuters can be found at: