The information in this article comes from www.cleanaircampaign.org
The Clean Air Campaign is a not-for-profit organization that encourages commuters to take action to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion.
The Campaign is funded 80% by the US Dept of Transportation Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds, with 20% matched funding.
The Clean Air Campaign started as a public education effort in 1996 and communicates to metro Atlanta residents through mass advertising, public relations and community outreach that include:
• Smog Alerts announcing forecasts for unhealthy air, based on the Air Quality Index (AQI). When forecasts are made by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, The Clean Air Campaign distributes the alerts to more than 8,000 email addresses, including media outlets, employer Partners, schools, daycare centers, and other registered members. Smog Alerts provide guidance on the health effects of smog exposure and actions people can take to protect themselves.
• A comprehensive Web site (CleanAirCampaign.org) that offers detailed information on air quality and commute alternatives, as well as downloadable tools.
• A toll-free call center (1-877-CLEANAIR) where commuters and employers can obtain information about air quality and transportation alternatives, get personalized assistance from a transportation specialist and get connected to employer service representatives.
• An active speakers bureau and appearances at community events.
• Electronic newsletters for both employer Partners (AirMail) and commuters (AirWaves).
• The Clean Air Campaign also serves as the marketing and promotional arm of the region’s free rideshare service, RideSmart, which is administered by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). Commuters and employers can access RideSmart via The Clean Air Campaign Web site and phone number.
The Campaign offers financial incentives to both employers and commuters who live or work in the metro Atlanta nonattainment area. For employers, these incentives can help defray the costs of implementing commute options programs and encourage commitment from the top. For commuters, the financial incentives encourage trial use of various commute alternatives with the expectation that successful trial use will result in long-term adoption of that alternative.
Commuter Rewards provides financial incentives to commuters who carpool, ride transit, vanpool, telework, bicycle or walk to work. Commuter Rewards includes three programs:
• Cash for Commuters – This program, started in 2002, offers commuters cash to change their commutes. Participants earn $3 for each day they use a qualified commute alternative within a consecutive 90-day period (up to $100). According to a survey of Cash for Commuters participants prepared by the Center for Transportation and the Environment on behalf of the Georgia Department of Transportation, 64 percent of participants continue to use their commute alternative nine to 12 months after completing the program, when this incentive is no longer available to them.
• Commuter Prizes – Commuter Prizes, introduced in 2005, gives metro Atlantans the opportunity to win prizes for their clean commuting habits. Each month, participants are entered into a random drawing for $25 gift cards. Each clean commute earns an entry into the monthly drawing.
• Carpool Rewards – Registered participants who carpool 15 or more days each month receive a monthly gas card for up to 12 months. Three-person carpools receive a $40 gas card per month and carpools with four or more receive $60 per month. Carpool Rewards was introduced in 2005.
Vanpool Incentives – The Clean Air Campaign has offered incentives to offset the costs of vanpooling since 2002. In 2008, more than 100 new vans hit the road - nearly doubling the number established in 2007. There are now approximately 350 vanpools on the road in metro Atlanta.
Commuter Recognition Program – In 2009, The Clean Air Campaign launched a commuter recognition program to acknowledge long-term milestones reached by clean commuters. Clean Air Commuter Champions are recognized for logging 25,000 and 50,000 alternative commutes. All members of this elite group of commuters receive certificates to acknowledge their accomplishment and letters of congratulations – mailed directly to the commuters and their supervisors – highlighting their contributions to improving the region’s air quality, traffic and quality of life.
Each year, increased use of commute alternatives in the Atlanta region yields:
• 42 million car trips eliminated from metro Atlanta roadways
• 1800 tons of pollutants NOT released into our air
• An estimated $400 million in reduced fuel, maintenance and repair costs for commuters
• An estimated $30 million of savings in health related costs as a result of improved air quality
• Savings for employers from improved employee morale, productivity and job satisfaction and reduced recruitment and retention costs
In sum, each dollar invested in the promotion of commute alternatives yields an annual return of $191; almost a 200-to-1 return on investment.*
* The analysis above was derived by quantifying the annual benefits of dollars spent by The Clean Air Campaign, the region’s transportation management associations (TMAs) and RideSmart service as identified in the “2004 Voluntary Mobile Emissions Program Assessment” by the Center for Transportation and the Environment (2005). This analysis is a conservative estimate of savings.
Other US cities have similar schemes, e.g., www.sparetheair.org in the San Francisco Bay Area.