Automobiles are a major source of air pollution, including hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. Traffic on the road accounts for about 40 percent of the pollution that contributes to ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog.
Smog-causing pollution can spell real trouble for children, people who work or exercise outdoors, and people with respiratory diseases. Even the healthiest of us find it harder to breathe on smoggy days.
Improving Air Quality & Reducing Traffic
Through its Rideshare Program, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) works with businesses and educational institutions to promote commuting options, thus reducing the number of vehicles on the road and improving air quality.
As we all know, Americans love to drive. There are more cars, minivans and SUVs being driven more miles on our roads than ever before. In Massachusetts alone, more than 4 million passenger vehicles are driven more than 50 billion miles per year.
Not surprisingly, this adds up to gridlock during rush hour. As a result, it takes longer for commuters to get to work or school and home again. So, Rideshare is about more than cleaner air. It's also about faster, easier commutes.
What does my organization need to do?
The Massachusetts Rideshare Regulation (see Section 7.16 of 310 CMR 7.00 et. seq.: Air Pollution Control file size 4MB ) requires many businesses with 250 or more employees and educational facilities with 1,000 or more students and employees combined to develop plans and set goals for reducing by 25 percent the number of times commuters drive alone to work or school.
As part of this process, your organization needs to:
- Survey current commute patterns
- Identify available commuting options
- Set goals for reducing drive-alone trips
- Offer options and incentives for reducing drive-alone trips
- Review how commute patterns change as a result
By reducing drive-alone trips, your organization will help Massachusetts reduce air pollution, traffic congestion, and spending on road construction and repair projects.
Rideshare can also help boost employee job satisfaction, reduce demand for on-site parking facilities, and produce tax advantages for your organization.
Even if your organization is not subject to the Rideshare Regulation, reducing drive-alone trips and promoting transportation alternatives can help everyone in Massachusetts breathe and travel easier.
For More Information
If your business employs more than 250 people or your educational facility has more than 1,000 students and employees combined, please contact:
MassDEP Rideshare Program
One Winter Street, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
MassRIDES, a service of the Executive Office of Transportation, offers travel options and assistance to employers, commuters and students. Visit Commute.com or call 1-888-4COMMUTE (1-888-426-6688) for carpool, vanpool and other ride matching help.
How can I personally make a difference?
- Take public transportation or carpool whenever possible.
- Drive less by combining several personal errands into one trip.
- Walk or bike. You will prevent air pollution and get some exercise at the same time.