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153 Employers Qualify for Fifth Annual List of New England’s Best Workplaces for Commuters


EPA’s New England office has released the fifth annual list of New England’s Best Workplaces for Commuters. The list recognizes leading, innovative employers committed to improving their communities by reducing traffic congestion and air pollution and improving the health and quality of life for thousands of commuters in the region.

In total, 153 employers representing 222,843 employees qualified for the list, which consists of large and small organizations throughout New England, and represents a wide array of industries including technology, healthcare, and transportation. In addition, the 2007 list recognizes the Upper Valley New Hampshire/Vermont Best Workplaces for Commuters District, providing commuter benefits meeting EPA’s National Standard of Excellence to all commuters in Enfield, Canaan, Hanover, and Lebanon, N.H., as well as to commuters in Norwich and Hartford, Vt.

This year, the University of Maine, Orono, became the first employer in Maine to join the list. Other new employers being added to the New England’s Best Workplaces for Commuters list include:
- Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Conn.
- Boston Scientific, Natick, Mass.
- Metabolix Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
- U.S. Government Accounting Office, Boston, Mass.
- The Bioengineering Group, Salem, Mass.
- Seaport Companies, Boston, Mass.
- Sasaki Associates, Watertown, Mass.
- S E A Consultants Inc., Cambridge, Mass.

In New England, cars and trucks contribute more than half the nitrogen oxide emissions, a key ingredient in the formation of ozone smog. In the Boston Metropolitan area alone, commuters waste approximately 62.5 million gallons of fuel each year simply by idling in traffic jams. New England’s Best Workplaces for Commuters recognizes those employers who are doing their part to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. Together, these employers have reduced annual emissions in New England by nearly 108,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 95 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOC), more than 200 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), and 1,850 tons of carbon monoxide (CO). This is equivalent to removing more than 20,000 cars from the road, and will save New England commuters more than 12.2 million gallons of gasoline every year.

“These companies and organizations are stepping up to the plate and demonstrating their commitment to improving air quality in our region through innovative commuter benefit programs,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA New England. “They are not only doing their part to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, but they are also gaining a competitive advantage by offering employees’ an important benefit which broadens their commuting options.”

The University of Maine, Orono, provides its employees with a number of commuter benefits, including free and preferred parking for carpools and vanpools, secure bicycle parking, showers, and lockers, and flexible work schedules. The University also encourages employees and student to utilize the Bangor Area Transportation system (BAT) with a full bus subsidy for both employees and students. In addition, the University supports a Green Bike Program to promote bicycling on and around campus, and offers their employees a Guaranteed Ride Home in case of an emergency.

“As a state university, it is important that we demonstrate leadership with regard to environmentally-friendly practices,” said Robert A. Kennedy, President, University of Maine. “Our students and employees have embraced the challenges and opportunities related to finding ways to reduce carbon emissions and gain efficiencies in our day-to-day operations. I am proud of their creativity and initiative, and we all look forward to continuing to find new ways to be better stewards of our precious environment.”

In addition to providing employees with alternative commuting incentives, the University of Maine has taken significant steps toward increasing energy efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint by modernizing their fleet through a number of efforts, including: the addition of nine new hybrid vehicles in their university fleet, promoting teleconferencing to reduce travel and save energy, improved control of heating and ventilation systems in academic buildings for increased efficiency, installation of electric timers to replace light switches, and the installation of energy efficient lightbulbs in over 800 resident rooms.

To qualify as one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters, employers must provide:
- At least one primary commuter benefit, such as a monthly transit/vanpool pass subsidy, cash in lieu of free parking, or a significant telework program;
- At least three supporting commuter benefits, such as carpool incentives, lockers/showers for bikers or walkers, incentives for living near work, or onsite amenities such as day care or dry cleaning;
- A central point of contact for commuter information who actively promote commuter benefits; and,
- Access to an Emergency/Guaranteed Ride Home program.

About the Best Workplaces for Commuters
Best Workplace for Commuters is an innovative partnership that distinguishes and provides national recognition to employers who offer their employees superior commuter benefits. These benefits help reduce air pollution, alleviate traffic congestion, and save fuel. They can also help employers save on taxes, reduce the need for parking facilities, and meet government trip reduction goals.

As of October 1, Best Workplaces for Commuters will no longer be administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency. EPA is pleased to join with the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida to announce that CUTR, with support from its National Center for Transit Research, will assume responsibility for national management of the program.


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