reThink Honored with 2012 Clean Air Award
Posted on: May 29, 2012 in Air Quality & Environment
ORLANDO, FL – In Central Florida, 82 percent of people drive to and from work alone every day, contributing to traffic congestion and air pollution. reThink, a commuter assistance program sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), is committed to reducing congestion and saving commuters money through transportation alternatives. Because decreasing the number of drive-alone vehicles on the roads is essential to improving air quality, the Central Florida Clean Air Team – a coalition launched by MetroPlan Orlando – is recognizing reThink’s efforts to help people find better and cleaner ways to get to work with the 2012 Clean Air Award.
“One of reThink’s goals is to improve air quality, so we’re honored to receive this recognition from the Clean Air Team,” said reThink Program Manager Courtney Miller. “When you consider that the average Central Florida commuter wastes 38 hours stuck in traffic each year, it’s easy to see why we’re interested in making the most of our existing transportation system. reThink is essential to helping commuters learn about travel options and getting people to share a ride helps improve traffic flow for the entire community.”
Commuters interested in carpooling or vanpooling can benefit from reThink’s free ride-matching services and Emergency Ride Home program. Additionally, reThink helps employers establish programs to reduce employee commute trips and take advantage of tax benefits. All these services are easily available by visiting rethinkyourcommute.com [insert link to reThink website] or by calling 1-866-610-RIDE (7433).
Encouraging the use of alternative modes of transportation and work strategies helps reduce all forms of air emissions. A recent study conducted by the University of Central Florida stated commuter assistance programs like reThink can avert more than 208 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and 2 tons of Nitrogen Dioxide (NOx) each year, both of which contribute to ozone pollution.
“Maintaining good air quality is necessary for the health of the community and to ensure we don’t lose out on federal funds for transportation projects. It’s just the right thing to do,” said MetroPlan Orlando Executive Director Harry Barley. “As Central Florida’s transportation system continues to mature, reThink’s work will become more important to maintaining the efficiency of the overall system.”
The Clean Air Team, a volunteer coalition of government, businesses, and citizens, works to improve air quality in Central Florida through outreach and education. Each year, the team presents a deserving business or organization with the Clean Air Award to coincide with May as Clean Air Month. Judging is based on innovation and uniqueness, the direct or indirect effort to reduce emissions, providing a model for others to follow, and sustainability. Previous winners include LYNX’s Biodiesel Blending Facility, Orange County’s Orange To Green Program, Progress Energy Florida’s Solar Panels at Waterford Elementary School and the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
The 2012 Clean Air Award will be presented to reThink on Wednesday, May 30 at 9 a.m., in conjunction with FDOT’s Quarterly Transit Meeting at the FDOT Urban Office located at 133 S. Semoran Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32807.
About the Central Florida Clean Air Team
The Central Florida Clean Air Team is a partnership of government, business organizations, and individuals all working together to improve air quality in our community. The group encourages everyone to do their part by developing and practicing clean air habits. The Team is a partnership of MetroPlan Orlando, the region’s transportation planning organization. Get more information here or call (407) 481-5672.