United States              Air and Radiation         EPA420-F-00-043
                   Environmental Protection                           October 2000
                   Agency

                   Office of Transportation and Air Quality
&EPA       Program
                   Announcement
                    EPA's Commuter Choice
                    Leadership Initiative
                   The Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative is part of an effort to
                   redefine the meaning of the "comprehensive employee benefits
                   package" so it includes a Commuter Choice benefits package. The
                   Commuter Choice benefits package helps American workers get to and
                   from work in ways that cut air pollution and global warming pollution,
                   improve public health, increase worker productivity, and reduce
                   expenses and taxes for employers and employees.
                   Background
                   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is partnering with
                   leading U.S. companies, the U.S. Department of Transportation (Federal
                   Highway and Federal Transit Administrations), and state and local
                   government to cut air pollution and improve public health through the
                   new Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative. Some of the commuting
                   options promoted through the Commuter Choice Leader Initiative in-
                   clude parking space cashout (i.e., trading an employer provided parking
                   space for the cash equivalent), transit fare subsidies, telecommuting,
                   compressed work schedules, flexible work schedules, carpools,
                   vanpools, biking to work, walking to work, and others.

                   The Commuter Choice benefits package is a flexible combination of
                   commuting benefits tailored to a particular company, its employees, and
                   the community. Many employees working for Commuter Choice Leaders
                   enjoy a reduced tax burden due to recent changes in the federal tax code.
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What companies are involved?
The following companies Commuter Choice Leaders deserve special
recognition for leading the effort to provide Commuter Choice benefits
packages to their employees: Calvert Group, Geico, Intel, Kaiser
Permanente, Nike, Pitney Bowes, and Walt Disney Company. Each of
these companies has already made significant progress in providing
commuter options and services to their employees. All have committed
voluntarily to offer what we are calling the Commuter Choice benefits
package.
What states, local government, and other
organizations are involved?
The State of Georgia, the State of Maryland, and the City of Fort Worth,
Texas are providing their employees with a Commuter Choice benefits
package and for providing more commuting options and services to
their citizens. These local and state governments are providing the
support and infrastructure necessary to develop and maintain diverse
commuting options for their citizens.
What's in it for workers?
Employees working for Commuter Choice Leaders enjoy a range of new
commuting options and services that will make it easier, faster, safer,
and cheaper to get to and from work. Many employees will benefit from
a reduced tax burden due to recent changes in the federal tax code.
Workers taking advantage of the Commuter Choice benefits package get
the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to improving public
health and environmental quality through a reduction in automobile
emissions.
What's in it for employers?
Commuter Choice Leaders have a whole new category of benefits to
offer their employees: the Commuter Choice benefits.

   Improved ability to recruit and retain employees who value alterna-
    tives to the long, costly, and stressful commutes to and from work.
    This will distinguish these employers in this tight job market and
    increase the base of potential employees.

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   Improved employee productivity due to 1) reductions in commute-
    related stress, and 2) increases in healthy activities such as walking
    and biking.

   Reduced employer tax burden due to recent changes in the tax code
    targeting green commuting.

   Reduced employee tax burden also due to recent changes in the tax
    code.

   Reduced facility costs such as employee parking.

   Improved brand image due to public recognition provided by the
    U.S. EPA and our many partners (U.S. Department of Transporta-
    tion, state governments, city governments, trade associations,
    professional associations, non-profit organizations).

   Improved community relations due to reductions in traffic, air
    pollution, and parking spillover into residential areas.

EPA provides technical expertise,  tools, materials, and other resources to
Commuter Choice Leaders to help them manage the Commuter Choice
benefits package.
What's in it for the environment?
The Commuter Choice Leader Initiative will reduce air pollution and
global warming pollution. This translates into improved public health
and environmental quality. If half of all U.S. employers offered a Com-
muter Choice benefits package like the Commuter Choice Leaders
recognized today are committing to:

   air pollution of 30 million commuters would be eliminated

   air pollution would be cut by the equivalent of taking 15 million
    cars off the road (for commuting and other trips) (out of 125 million
    cars as of 1997)

   commuting-related trips would be cut by 15 billion each year (out
    of about 50 billion commuting-related trips each year in the U.S.)

   commuting related miles driven would be reduced by 150 billion
    each year (out of about 640 billion miles of commuting per year in
    the U.S.)

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What's in it for the communities?
Communities that are home to Commuter Choice Leaders and employ-
ees enjoy improved air quality, reduced traffic, and less "stressed-out"
workers. In addition, these communities will gain the reputation for
being business-friendly due to reductions in traffic congestion.
How does this differ from the Commuter Choice
initiatives already in place?
EPA, with support from the U.S. Department of Transportation, is
partnering directly with employers (Commuter Choice Leaders) to help
them offer new commuter benefits and services. We are working directly
with human resources professionals, in addition to transportation coordi-
nators and environmental affairs professionals. We are asking employers
to report their progress to the EPA so we will know what works, what
doesn't, and how to improve. The U.S. EPA has committed to recogniz-
ing those employers that have done a good job in providing a Commuter
Choice benefits package to their employees.

EPA is attempting to redefine the meaning of the comprehensive em-
ployee benefits package so that includes a commuter benefits package.
We will do all that it can to make it extremely easy for U.S. Employers
to offer a Commuter Choice benefits package.

In addition, EPA is enlisting the help of communications and marketing
experts who will help us ensure that American workers get every oppor-
tunity to learn about and advantage of a Commuter Choice benefits
package.
What is the Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative
Agreement and the Commuter Choice benefits
package?
Commuter Choice Leaders have committed to several conditions in
order to qualify:

   Appoint a commuter coordinator.
   Centralize and simplify all employee commuter information (e.g.
    on an internal web site).
   Regularly inform employees of their commuting benefits.
   Offer employees at least one core commuting benefit (e.g., transit

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    fare subsidies, telecommuting).
   Offer employees at least three other commuting benefits.
   Report their progress to the U.S. EPA.

EPA has committed to helping the Commuter Choice Leaders and their
employees in the following ways:

   Appoint a contact/account manager for each Leader.
   Provide public recognition to Leaders for their efforts in reducing
    stress, traffic, costs, and pollution.
   Inform future, potential employees of the commuting benefits of
    working for Leaders.
   Develop and provide assessment tools that help Leaders determine
    which commuting benefits and commuting information would
    provide the greatest value.
   Develop and provide communications tools that help Leaders
    centralize and simplify commuter information and help Leaders
    inform employees about those benefits.
   Develop and provide analytical tools to help Leaders calculate
    assess the impact of their commuter benefits package.
   Help Leaders identify companies, non-profit organizations, and
    other government entities that offer commuting-related products and
    services that contribute to employee commuter benefits.
   Host conferences and produce materials to help Leaders share
    commuter benefit information.
   Limit the number of Leaders so each  gets a significant voice  and
    attention during the leadership phase.
   Help the Leaders share their success with other employers that may
    want to offer a Commuter Choice benefits package once the Leader-
    ship phase has completed.
How can I get more information?
You can access documents on the Commuter Choice Program electroni-
cally on the Office of Transportation and Air Quality Web site at:

    http://www.epa.gov/otaq/traq

For further information on the Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative,
please contact Stephen Offutt (202-564-9266) or Stephen Sylvan (202-
564-2223).

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