The Clean Air Campaign and local transportation management associations offer financial incentives to both employers and commuters who live or work in Georgia. For employers, these incentives can help defray the costs of implementing commute options programs and encourage commitment from the top. For commuters, the financial incentives encourage trial use of various commute alternatives with the expectation that successful trial use will result in long-term adoption of that alternative. More than 85,000 Georgia commuters have participated in these programs since inception.
Commuter Rewards provides financial incentives to commuters who carpool, ride transit, vanpool, telework, bicycle or walk to work. Commuter Rewards includes three programs:
Vanpool Incentives – The Clean Air Campaign has offered incentives to offset the costs of vanpooling since 2002. In 2008, more than 100 new vans hit the road - nearly doubling the number established in 2007. There are now approximately 350 vanpools on the road in metro Atlanta.
Commuter Recognition Program - In 2009, The Clean Air Campaign launched a commuter recognition program to acknowledge long-term milestones reached by clean commuters. Clean Air Commuter Champions are recognized for logging 25,000 and 50,000 alternative commutes. All members of this elite group of commuters receive certificates to acknowledge their accomplishment and letters of congratulations – mailed directly to the commuters and their supervisors – highlighting their contributions to improving the region’s air quality, traffic and quality of life.
Easier employee recruitment and higher retention – Research shows that employees view commute options as benefits, and employers who offer them can win the war for talent. A better regional image also attracts more new businesses and a diverse and highly qualified workforce.
Tax benefits – The Clean Air Campaign assists employers in setting up and running programs that may yield federal tax benefits through the Commuter Choice program. Employees can use up to $230 per month in pre-tax income to pay for vanpool and transit expenses, resulting in tax savings for both the employer and the employee.
Reduced parking and office space costs – Teleworking and flexible work arrangements offer opportunities for sharing space or placing workers at remote locations. Many other commute options also save on the need for parking spaces.
Increased employee morale and less absenteeism – Participation in employer-based programs has been shown to enhance teamwork and increase pride among employees. Workers with less stress also have less absenteeism, and improved air quality results in substantial health benefits.
Recognition and rewards – Employer Partners and their programs are regularly featured in news stories across the region and country. They also have the opportunity to receive publicity through the annual PACE Awards. The PACE Awards recognize the best commute options programs in metro Atlanta. Previous winners are a “who’s who” of employers, including Turner Broadcasting System, Georgia Power, Georgia-Pacific, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. Notable leaders including Governor Sonny Perdue and Mayor Shirley Franklin have delivered the PACE Awards keynote address. The PACE Awards have been held annually since 2000.