The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

King County recognized as Pioneer for Van Pool program

ews from King County Transportation
Release date: May 31, 2002

King County honored as Commuter Choice Pioneer
King County Metro Transit's leading-edge work to get commuters out of their cars and into buses, carpools and vanpools through Commute Partnerships was recognized once again this month, when U.S. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta named King County one of 11 national Commuter Choice Pioneers.

"I am pleased that Secretary Mineta has recognized our work in forming partnerships with King County employers," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "By working together, King County employers and Metro are improving the choices available for commuters to get to work, and are playing an important role in reducing the overall impact of congestion and protecting the environment."

Mary Peters and Bill Roach

Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters (left) presents the Commuter Choice Pioneer Award to Metro Transit's Bill Roach, a pioneer in his own right.
[enlarged view: 58K]

Commuter Choice is a partnership between government and business, designed to help employers create customized solutions to the commuting challenges their employees face. King County was recognized for three programs in particular:

* The award-winning Commute Partnerships Program, which leverages funds from public, private and other partners to implement effective commute trip reduction programs for employers, property managers, and other clients. The Partnership has been shown to reduce single-occupant vehicle commuting from eight to 40 percent at participating work sites. King County’s funds leverage six dollars from partners for every public dollar invested.

* The Metro Vanpool program, which is the largest such public program in the nation. King County’s 700 vanpools carry more than 6,000 riders daily in a nine-county region. In one year, a single vanpool saves about 8,000 gallons of gasoline, and eliminates more than 100,000 vehicle miles. The fleet recovers about 75 percent of its costs through rider fares.

* The Jobs Access welfare-to-work program, which provides transportation services for employment, job search, training, and childcare to low-income and welfare populations. The program serves more than 430 employment, job training, and child care sites and has trained 200 welfare-to-work case managers as transportation coordinators for their clients. The Jobs Access program has had a remarkable success in recruiting 12 public and non-profit partners, and serves as a national model.

In presentations at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, DC, on May 14, 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. The Washington State Department of Transportation was also recognized for its work with employers through the State Commute Trip Reduction Law. The 11 honorees were selected from a field of over 450 organizations across the nation that work on commute issues.

Accepting the award on May 14 from the FHA’s Peters was Metro Transit's Bill Roach. After flying him out for the ceremony in Washington, D.C., federal officials asked Roach to advise them on how to shape a national program that would replicate some of the successes he's helped create here in the Puget Sound region.

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. 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

The other nine Commuter Choice pioneers recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation were:

* 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 Auth

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