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Smart Commute Upper Valley

Hundreds Save Money and Protect the Environment

by Aaron Brown, January 26, 2012

Smart Commuting in Norwich, VT. Photo credit: Stephanie Carter

The Smart Commute program has helped major workplaces and their employees save money and protect the environment. In 2011, commuters at participating employers saved over $1.3 million, reduced their gasoline use by 300 thousand gallons, avoided burning 3,000 tons of carbon (that’s equal to saving 26 acres of forest!) and kept more money in the local economy. How? By carpooling, riding the bus, biking, and walking.

Vital Communities and the Upper Valley Trails Alliance have managed the project to date, consulting workplaces on personalized approaches to their transportation challenges. Building on this success, the organizations plan to expand the project to 50 additional workplaces in the coming year and continue to strengthen commuting options in the Upper Valley.

How does Smart Commute work? Vital Communities fields surveys at workplaces to figure out what obstacles they face, what motivates people who already “smart commute,” and what incentives their workplace could offer to inspire them to make new choices. They then sit down with workplace leaders and figure out a set of strategies that work for their bottom lines and for their employees.

Smart Commute “opened our associates’ eyes to how many miles they commute a week and how carpooling even one day a week makes a difference,” says Stacey Chiocchio of Hypertherm. The company saw its drive-alone rate decrease by 5% in the first year, and now offers an attractive daily benefit for smart commuting.

The local non-profits look forward to helping more workplaces reduce their environmental footprint and support their employees during times of volatile gas prices. Participating organizations have ranged in size, from 10 to thousands of employees.

If you’re interested in getting your organization involved, contact:  uvtma@vitalcommunities.org

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