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EPA and Regional Transportation Coalition Launch 2004 Campaign to Ease Commutes and Reduce Air Pollution

Release Date: 05/06/04
Contact Information: Contact: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1008

For Immediate Release: May 6, 2004; Release # 04-05-02

BOSTON - The US Environmental Protection Agency and a coalition of environmental and transportation organizations today launched the 2004 "Best Workplaces for Commuters" campaign aimed at recognizing the growing number of employers across New England who are promoting alternatives for commuters who are ready to get out of their cars.

In just the past year, the number of New England companies and organizations offering strong commuter benefit packages has nearly tripled from 33 to 91, Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office, announced today at a conference of the New England Chapter of the Association for Commuter Transportation at the World Trade Center. The companies, which employ approximately 133,000 people, are helping to boost commuter traffic on buses, trains, ferry boats, bicycles and other modes of transportation.

"Through transit subsidies, biking incentives and other offerings, these companies are spurring thousands of New England workers to leave their cars at home in favor of alternative commuting modes. And that is leading to twin benefits of improved air quality and reduced traffic congestion,” Varney said, noting that the employees with commuter benefits are eight times more likely to use transit than those without them.

The Best Workplaces for Commuters campaign began last year, when EPA joined forces with a dozen leading New England government and business organizations all dedicated to reducing traffic, improving air quality and cutting global warming emissions while helping to make commuting less stressful and costly.

At the Association for Commuter Transportation's conference at Boston’s World Trade Center today, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a coalition partner, unveiled a program to place 150 large advertisements on MBTA buses and subways. The ads urge employees and employers to get their organizations involved with the Best Workplaces for Commuters campaign.

"Ridesharing and mass transit use are crucial elements of the robust smart growth strategy advanced by the Romney Administration," said James Stergios, Undersecretary for Policy in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. "They help reduce congestion and they support continued economic development in our existing urban centers. We applaud the private sector companies that are working with us to make Massachusetts grow-and grow smarter."

Air pollution from cars contributes to ground-level ozone pollution, also known as smog. Last summer, a relatively cool one, New England experienced 17 days when air quality was unhealthy due to high smog levels. This pollution affects everyone, but some people are particularly sensitive to it, including children and adults who are active outdoors and people with respiratory diseases such as asthma. Exposure to elevated ozone levels can cause serious breathing problems and aggravate asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases.

Asthma rates in New England are significantly higher than in the rest of the country. All six of the New England states have childhood asthma rates above 10 percent. According to a January 2004 study by the New England Asthma Regional Council, nearly one of every five households with children in the region had at least one child diagnosed with asthma. Overall, more than 400,000 children in New England – 12.3 percent – suffered from asthma at some point in their childhoods, according to the study.

“Traffic congestion costs the Boston area nearly $1.6 billion a year,” Varney added. “The average Boston peak commuter spends 58 hours a year stuck in traffic and the average Boston household spends 20 percent of its income on transportation – more than it does on food.”

Although the number of employers involved in the Best Workplaces for Commuters campaign has grown substantially in the past year, EPA hopes more employers will join the effort to give commuters options and reduce air pollution. Qualifying employers who sign up by July 13 will be part of a list that will be publicized in August.

At today’s conference, Yale University was honored with an award for "Outstanding Public Service in the Private Sector" for meeting community-based transportation needs. "Yale invests in its workforce and its hometown through the Yale Homebuyer Program that has given grants to 605 employees to purchase homes in urban neighborhoods adjacent to campus. Having more people live in the city means more people who can bike or walk to work," said Michael Morand, associate vice president of Yale University, one of New England's Best Workplaces for Commuters.

To be eligible for the program, Best Workplaces for Commuters must offer their employees at least one major commuter benefit such as $30 per month in transit passes, vanpool subsidies or cash instead of subsidized parking spaces. Additionally, they must offer three other commuter benefits such as carpool matching, bike lockers, compressed work schedules and membership in a transportation management association (TMA).

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers a comprehensive transit system and a statewide commuter transportation organization to more than one million daily commuters. In addition, it is one of a handful of states in the country with a statewide ride-sharing rule, which requires all large employers to develop and implement a strategy to reduce single occupancy commuting among their employees. A list of the New England Best Workplaces for Commuters is enclosed.

For more info about the program, visit

New England’s Best Workplaces for CommutersSM
ADD Inc, Cambridge, MA
Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., Cambridge, MA
Alkermes, Inc., Cambridge, MA
Alternatives for Community & Environment, Roxbury, MA
Applied Geographics, Inc., Boston, MA
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA
Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston, MA
Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA
Cabot Corporation, Boston, MA
The Cadmus Group, Inc., Watertown, MA
Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Cambridge, MA
CambridgeSide Galleria, Cambridge, MA
Charles River Transportation Management Association, Cambridge, MA
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
EMC Corporation, Hopkinton, MA
ERG, Inc., Boston, MA
Genzyme Corporation, Cambridge, MA
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
MASCO, Inc., Boston, MA
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Boston, MA
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Mellon Financial, Everett, MA
Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cambridge, MA
Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, Greenfield, MA
Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research, Inc., Cambridge, MA
Novell, Waltham, MA
NSTAR, Westwood, MA
Route 128 Business Council, Waltham, MA
Shriners Burns Hospital, Boston, MA
Simmons College, Boston, MA
Smith, Segal & Sowalsky, Boston, MA
Sun Microsystems-Burlington, Burlington, MA
U.S. Department of Energy, Boston, MA
U.S. EPA New England, Boston, MA
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Verizon, Massachusetts, Boston, MA
Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, MA
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA
Wainwright Bank, Boston, MA
World Trade Center Boston/Seaport Hotel, Boston, MA
Wyeth BioPharma, Andover, MA

Best Workplaces for Commuters at Logan Airport, Boston, MA
Atlantic Coast Airlines
BAA Boston, Inc.
Beacon Beers Joint Venture
Delta Air Lines
Federal Aviation Authority
FedEx Aircraft Maintenance and Boston Ramp
Flatiron Structures
Hilton Boston Logan Airport
HMS Host
Hudson General
Logan Health Center
O’Brien Kreitzberg
Parsons Brinckerhoff
Signature Flight Support
Traveler’s Aid
US Airways
Westfield Concession Management

Bayer Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, West Haven, CT
Hospital of Saint Raphael, New Haven, CT
Hyperion Solutions, Stamford, CT
MetroPool, Inc., Stamford, CT
Nestle Waters North America, Greenwich, CT
Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT
PanAmSat Corporation, Wilton, CT
People’s Bank, Bridgeport, CT
Pitney Bowes Inc., Stamford, CT
Preferred Tool & Die, Shelton, CT
Proton Energy Systems, Wallingford, CT
Purdue Pharma L.P., Stamford, CT
Rideworks of Greater New Haven, New Haven, CT
SACIA, The Business Council, Stamford, CT
South Western Regional Planning Agency, Stamford, CT
The Rideshare Company, Windsor, CT
Time Warner Cable, Stamford, CT
Yale University, New Haven, CT

New Hampshire
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH
Rockingham Planning Commission, Exeter, NH

Rhode Island
Grow Smart Rhode Island, Providence, RI
Rhode Island Housing, Providence, RI

Chittenden Bank, Burlington, VT
Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, VT
Rural Community Transportation, St. Johnsbury, VT
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Related Information:
Best Workplaces for Commuters
Ozone/Smog Web Site