BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 24, 2005 – Virginia Tech has been selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as a Silver Level award winner in the nation's "Best Workplaces for Commuters" initiative.
Best Workplaces for Commuters is a voluntary partnership program established by the EPA and DOT to publicly recognize employers whose commuter benefits reach the "National Standard of Excellence.”
Virginia Tech's award at the Silver Level involved meeting at least four of seven criteria designated for the Bronze Level and at least three of nine criteria at the Silver Level. Virginia Tech offers commuting options and support services such as the faculty/staff carpool program, subsidized Blacksburg Transit fares, carpool matching, and a Commuter Alternatives Program designed for employees and commuting students who don't purchase a Virginia Tech parking permit.
The university's efforts not only help the environment, it also saves money. The programs reduce commuting costs not only for employees, but also for all commuters by taking cars off the road and reducing traffic congestion. The production of ground-level ozone, the major component of smog, is reduced as well.
According to Margo Oge, EPA director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, the effects of incentive programs like Best Workplaces for Commuters can be dramatic. "If just half of all U.S. employees were covered under these commuter benefits," said Oge, "traffic and air pollution could be cut by the equivalent of taking 15 million cars off the road every year, saving American workers about $12 billion in fuel costs. That's both cleaner air and real savings for families."
Virginia Tech is one of some 50 colleges and universities that have earned the Best Workplaces for Commuters designation. "We are proud of this commitment to our employees and to the environment," said Steve Mouras, director of Virginia Tech's Office of Transportation. "This program demonstrates that efficient parking and transportation services, and a clean environment, are not mutually exclusive."
For more information about Virginia Tech's alternative transportation program, go to the Virginia Tech Office of Transportation web site at http://www.ot.vt.edu, or call Debby Freed at (540) 231-1737. To learn more about the federal government's Best Workplaces for Commuters initiative, visit http://www.bwc.gov.