Fresh thinking aims to reduce harmful emissions and relieve congestion
NEWMARKET – York Regional Council has approved implementation of Smart Commute York Region, a group of programs and policies to encourage Regional employees to use alternate modes of transportation instead of driving alone to work.
"York Regional Council is proud to take leadership in reducing car emissions, improving air quality and encouraging active and healthy lifestyles," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch. "We are looking internally to provide our employees with alternate transportation options that will free up parking spaces and take cars off our roads."
Reducing the number of single occupant vehicles to and from the workplace is consistent with the Region's Vision 2026 goals. It is also consistent with the goals of the Region's Corporate Clean Air Task Force, which is committed to improving outdoor air quality and reducing green house gas emissions through actions such as reducing the use of automobiles and reducing energy consumption in the home.
"Smart Commute York Region demonstrates the Region's commitment to improving air quality as well as the health and productivity of employees," said Town of East Gwillimbury Mayor Jamie Young, Chair of the Region's Planning and Economic Development Committee. "This showcases the Region's leadership role in aggressively pursuing ways to manage travel demand."
To encourage carpooling, the use of public transit and alternate modes of travel such as walking and cycling to work, Regional Council approved a comprehensive, three-year plan for employee travel options that include initiatives such as parking management, transit incentives and carpooling.
The Smart Commute program includes the following initiatives:
• Carpool Zone – web-based carpool ride-matching to help employees find matches for carpooling to and from work
• Preferential Parking – for those who carpool
• Emergency Ride Home Program – for employees who use transit, walk, cycle or carpool to work
• Bike Racks – installation of bike racks and incentives for employees that cycle to work
While these programs will be available initially to employees working at the Administrative Centre in Newmarket, they also will be expanded to include staff working in other Regional facilities.
The Region also offers its employees a 50-per cent discount on York Region Transit/Viva tickets, in addition to compressed work week opportunities and flexible work hours, all of which contribute to reduce work-related single occupant vehicle trips.
The Smart Commute Program is the new name for the Employee Trip Reduction Program that was approved in October, 2005.
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Media Contact: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications, York Region
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