Thousands of vehicles drive through Arlington daily, and greater Washington, DC commuters experience traffic as a part of their everyday lives. For many drivers, upwards of 70 hours a year are spent sitting in traffic, costing a lot of money and emitting pollution that we all breathe. Ozone is one of Arlington’s most significant pollutants – each year, cars and trucks account for 30-40% of ozone-causing pollutants that generate greenhouse gas emissions and cause air pollution.
Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,600 pounds per year. Why not ditch the car and try riding your bike to work?
Bike on good air quality days. Bicycles are the ultimate clean-air (zero emissions and zero carbon dioxide) form of sustainable transportation. Regional air quality organization Clean Air Partners offers AirAlerts to help notify the public when there is an expected unhealthy air quality day OR better yet, informs the public when air quality reaches an unhealthy level (Code Orange or Red) in real-time. Users can have AirAlerts sent directly to their email or use the Clean Air Partners Air Quality App for on-the-go information.
Biking to work has significant health and environmental benefits; it can minimize the effects of the sedentary lifestyle most office workers lead, and can prevent millions of pounds of CO2 emissions. In the US, reducing air pollution by about 35% on any day could save about 4,000 lives a year. Though biking is a great way to commute, on Code Orange or Red air quality days, bikers should use public transit or telework. That pollution can cause respiratory distress on those who suffer from respiratory or pulmonary conditions – even athletes need to be careful.
Teleworking is easier than you think and not only benefits employees, but employers as well:
- You can stay at home and still get the job DONE.
- Reducing overall commute effort and time can inspire employees to create a better product.
- It helps avoid commute stress and increases productivity by flexibility.
- Teleworking allows for employees and employers to reduce their overhead (e.g. diminish parking, office space needs, eliminate unscheduled absences) making it easier on everyone’s bottom line.
- It Improves work/life balance which increases employee retention, and an overall increase in work satisfaction.
Should I bike or telecommute?
CODE GREEN: Get on your bike. Riding a bike on short trips will save gas and help protect the air.
CODE YELLOW: Bike Less. Air quality is acceptable but this could cause health concerns for sensitive groups (such as athletes and those who spend a lot of time outside). Travel to work on quieter routes with less traffic, away from tailpipe emissions.
CODE ORANGE: Limit biking and other physical outdoor activity. Carpool to work a few days, or even one day a week when the air is unhealthy to breathe. If possible, wait to ride your bike at dusk.
CODE RED: Put away the bike. Take public transit or telecommute and limit strenuous outdoor activity when their air is unhealthy to breathe. Everyone is sensitive to this level of poor air quality and should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion.
CODE PURPLE: Don’t even think about it. Take public transit or telecommute to reduce your contribution to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Everyone, especially sensitive groups, should avoid any physical outdoor activities as pollution levels are very unhealthy.
Less traffic congestion equals less air pollution; creating a happier, healthy Arlington. Clean Air Partners would like to thank individuals who already bike to work and telecommute in Arlington for contributing to an overall improvement in our community’s air quality and environment.
Make sure you check out CleanAirPartners.net to sign-up for AirAlerts!
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