November 29, 2007
Media Release

York Region wins Smart Commute Employer of the Year Award

Region's employee programs encourage less driving, more carpooling, biking, transit use
 
NEWMARKET The Regional Municipality of York has been awarded the Smart Commute Employer of the Year for the Central York area, recognizing the Region's commitment to reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality through workplace sustainable transportation initiatives.
 
The award was presented at the first annual Smart Commute awards held in Toronto last week.
 
"York Region is taking a leadership role in commuter strategies that promote conservation and sustainability," said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  "We will continue to implement measures to reduce traffic and ease environmental impact."
 
York Region offers many opportunities for employees to reduce single occupant vehicle trips to work, including:
 Carpoolzone.ca an online community where employees can register for preferred carpool parking spots
 An Emergency Ride Home Policy for staff
 Outdoor bike racks and indoor bike storage facilities
 Transit ticket discounts
 Flex time and Compressed Work Week
 Participation in events such as Bike to Work Day, the World Record Walk and Earth Week
 
As a result of the programs, internal survey statistics show that 29 per cent of staff have made a change to the way they commute to work and the number of employees driving alone to work has dropped by 10 per cent.
 
 "I hope that more businesses throughout our Region get involved with their own workplace Smart Commute programs," said Town of East Gwillimbury Mayor James Young, Chair of the Region's Planning and Development Committee.  "We all stand to benefit from fewer cars on our road and less harmful emissions in our air."
 
Smart Commute helps employers and commuters in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton explore different travel choices, including carpooling, teleworking, transit, cycling, walking or flexible work hours to reduce traffic congestion and to take action on climate change.  Smart Commute currently works with more than 50 employers, including York Region, a partner since 2004.
 
Over the past three years, Smart Commute initiatives have removed the equivalent of 10,000 cars per day from roads and highways and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 17,000 tonnes.
 
Two other employers in York Region also took home a Smart Commute Employer of the Year award last week. The Town of Newmarket and IBM in the Town of Markham both won awards for their commitment to commuter programs.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 

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Media Contact: Kim Sinclair, Communications Specialist, York Region
 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 1209 or Cell: 905 251-6412
 Email: kim.sinclair@york.ca

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