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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Contact: Lori Irving
Telephone: 202-366-0660
FHWA 19-02

U.S. Transportation Department Recognizes Commuter Choice Pioneers

In conjunction with National Transportation Week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today commended 11 publicly supported agencies from eight states and Washington, DC, as pioneers in providing choices for commuters in dealing with congestion and the challenge of getting to work.

In presentations at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, DC, today, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters joined EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman in recognizing public and private sector organizations for expanding choices available to commuters.

"I am pleased to recognize these pioneer agencies that are helping to expand the choices for commuters," Secretary Mineta said. "By improving the choices available for commuters to get to work, they are playing an important role in reducing the overall impact of congestion and protecting the environment."

Commuter Choice programs are intended to help reduce traffic congestion and enable employees to get to work more efficiently. Traffic congestion cost Americans $78 billion in 1999 according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). On the average during 1999, Americans spent 36 hours stuck in traffic. Since 1970, the country's population increased by 38 percent and highway travel during that same time period grew by 148 percent.

"Everyone wins with Commuter Choice," Administrator Peters said. "America wins, because reducing the number of cars on the road reduces traffic congestion, improves air quality and conserves energy. Individual travelers win because they can choose to use alternate forms of transportation."

"Commuter Choice employers represent the best of environmental cooperation, showing that a healthy balance sheet and healthy environment can go hand in hand. I hope that their leadership encourages others to take advantage of this extraordinary partnership opportunity," Administrator Whitman said. "These efforts will ensure that the ride to work - and a clean environment - will be smoother for generations to come."

Commuter Choice is a partnership between government and business, designed to help employers create customized solutions to the commuting challenges their employees face.

Commuter Choice also can involve communities working with residents, schools working with students and even developers working with future tenants to provide and promote choices for travelers.

The 11 Commuter Choice pioneers recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation are the following:

  • King County Department of Transportation, Seattle
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • CARAVAN for Commuters, Inc., Boston
  • The Rideshare Company, Windsor, CT
  • RIDES for Bay Area Commuters, Oakland, CA
  • Metro Commuter Services, St. Paul, MN
  • TMA Group, Franklin, TN
  • Ride Arrangers Program, Denver Regional Council of Governments
  • Valley Metro, Phoenix, AZ
  • Commuter Connections, Metropolitan Washington (DC) Area Council of Governments
  • Washington (DC) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Peters said that these public agencies have led the way on Commuter Choice through transit and vanpool benefits, consolidated ownership of vanpool fleets, guaranteed ride programs, telecommuting, ride matching services, alternative work arrangements, parking programs, bike and walk initiatives and commute trip reduction laws and ordinances. Several are providing real time traveler information and services at employment sites.

Additional information about the Commuter Choice initiative is on the Internet at www.commuterchoice.gov and www.commuterchoice.com.

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