Businesses large and small can help make a big difference in improving Utah’s air. Employers and employees can start by integrating TravelWise strategies into their travel routine–to and from work and beyond. These strategies include carpooling or vanpooling, using mass transit, using active transportation, teleworking, skipping the trip and trip chaining.
The first step to improving Utah’s air is traveling less. Consider if your office is within walking or biking distance. These active transportation options are both healthy and economical and save time from traffic congestion. For information about Salt Lake City bike routes and safety, visit the Salt Lake City Transportation and GREENbike websites.
Teleworking is another great option for saving fuel, time and money on car maintenance and parking fees. Consider asking your employer for permission to telework on bad air quality days. Benefits for employees include increased flexibility and improved work environment. Benefits for employers include competitive recruiting advantage and decreased overhead. For a full list of benefits, visit travelwise.utah.gov.
The skip the trip strategy entails planning ahead to avoid unnecessary trips. Examples are packing a lunch to work and traveling together to events outside the office. Outside of work, consider planning out meals for the week to make only one trip to the grocery store. It all comes down to making a conscious effort to consolidate trips.
The second step to improving Utah’s air is traveling in a more efficient way. Through carpooling or vanpooling, employees can coordinate schedules with coworkers who live in the same area. It can achieve significant results–think of only driving to work half the time! Consider establishing a driving schedule, meeting place and pick-up time. A perk of carpooling is the ability to drive in the HOV/express lane. Fewer cars on the road also leads to easier traveling.
Taking mass transit helps clear the air by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. With the growing number of transit options in Utah, it has never been more convenient to travel via FrontRunner, TRAX, or UTA bus services. For an easier process, look up routes, fares and service times before you ride at rideutah.com. Riding transit is not only better for the environment, but better for your health as well. Transit users take 30% more steps each day than those who rely on cars (https://travelwise.utah.gov/strategies/public-transit/).
Trip chaining to work entails planning your trips to avoid rush hour traffic and grouping errands together. For example, consider making an errand on your way home from work instead of returning home first. Beating rush hour traffic will help you conserve gas and spend less time on the road. Remember to plan your trips ahead of time to consolidate them into a more efficient process. The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) commuter website is a resource for traffic congestion, accidents and safety.
For more tips on how to drive smarter and help improve Utah’s air quality, visit cleartheairchallenge.org.