Traffic Congestion and Poor Air Quality Affecting Your Business? Consider Vanpooling!


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Vanpooling as it can help building owners and residential/commercial developments and transportation management associations.

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Traffic Congestion and Poor Air Quality Affecting Your Business? Consider Vanpooling!

  1. 1. OfficeCommercial.comsponsored by:Home Contact Site MapSUBSCRIBE TODAYAtlanta Chicagoland Dallas Houston Southern California Monday, March 10, 2008Article SearchGo!Advanced SearchFEATURESWhats New!GENERALHomeAbout UsContact UsSite MapPRINTMAGAZINESAdvertiseSubscribeONLINEMAGAZINESArticle SearchAtlantaChicagolandDallasHoustonSouthern CaliforniaNEWSLETTERSign UpUnsubscribeExclusivesSubmit EditorialSPONSORSBecome a SponsorView SponsorsCOMPANYBackOfficeAtlanta Office & Commercial Real Estate MagazineVolume VI Fall 2003E-mail this article.View printer-friendly version.Traffic Congestion and Poor AirQuality Affecting Your Business?Consider Vanpooling!David J. HarrisonManager for the Atlanta Customer Service CenterVPSI, Inc.Wednesday, December 10, 2003We have all read the headlines telling us that Atlanta will soon be downgradedby the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) from our current“serious” to a “severe” category because of worsening air quality. A recentAtlanta Journal/Constitution article headlined “Severe rating for air qualitycould be costly to business.”Traffic congestion in the region has gotten progressively worse. As a propertymanager, you don’t need to read about THAT; we all experience it every dayeither by sitting in traffic ourselves or by hearing about it from existingtenants. Worse still, you hear about it from prospective tenants. Many nationalcompanies now are deliberating whether they even want to relocate to Atlantabecause of the growing traffic problem here.At the end of the day, no matter how the issues of air quality and trafficcongestion are analyzed, the single largest contributor to the problem is thenumber of Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) commuters in the region. Simplyput, we need to reduce the number of cars on our roads, and reduce thenumber of vehicles traveling to, from and through your properties. The trick isto reduce the number of vehicles WITHOUT reducing the number of PEOPLE inyour building(s) and do it in a way that serves both your and their bestinterests.A number of solutions are available, including public mass transit,telecommuting, walking and the like. Many of these modes have severelimitations. A bus or train can only serve people who work or live near itsroute, and it takes years to plan, fund and implement expansions. There aresimilar issues related to adding routes or changing existing ones.Telecommuting is effective, but requires infrastructure and doesn’t work wellwhen the job requires face-to-face contact with customers or must beperformed at a particular location. Walking is a healthy alternative, butphysical distance from the destination precludes this mode as a primarycommute choice for most of us. One transportation solution that can beimplemented quickly, operates flexibly, and is extremely cost-effective isvanpooling.Think of a vanpool as a carpool on steroids. Instead of one person to a vehicleas is the case most often, or two to three people per vehicle as most carpoolsADVERTISENOW!Reach the owners,managers, andcontractors, ofcommercial officebuildings across thenation with one adand one phonecall.Page 1 of your number one source for everything commercial real estate!3/10/2008
  2. 2. are, a vanpool typically accommodates between six to 15 people in a singlevehicle. “Sounds good,” you think, “but I don’t have the time, staff, or budgetto set up a program, organize it and run it.” Not a problem. The solution? In aword: MetroVanPool.MetroVanPool operates 140 routes in the Atlanta area and is the Atlanta tradename for VPSI, a 26-year-old rideshare management company operating some3,600 routes in the United States and over 60 in Europe through a network of46 customer service centers. VPSI was recently recognized by the EPA inWashington with its 2002 Clean Air Excellence Award for providing 30,000commuters daily with a way to improve air quality while minimizing trafficcongestion.If you are concerned about the ever-growing problems of traffic congestionand air pollution and how it may impact your business as a property manageror developer, MetroVanPool stands ready to work with you at no cost to findways we can help you deal with these issues.MetroVanPool provides a turnkey commuter service. From the standpoint ofcustomer convenience, it is the nearest thing to driving your own car to work.As our slogan says, it’s neighbors riding with neighbors. We provide thevehicles, together with insurance, maintenance and back-up service; helprecruit passengers and volunteer drivers; broker and match groups of six tofifteen people with similar home locations, work locations and work schedules;and often assist groups in locating places to gather on the way in to work sothey have a place to leave their cars. MetroVanPool actively works with anumber of partners in the metro area to facilitate this process including:All of the eight Transportation Management Associations (TMAs), most ofwhich provide vanpool fare support, empty seat subsidies and otherincentives. Many of you serve as Board Members on these organizationsand/or the Community Improvement District (CID) Boards that helpsupport them.The Clean Air Campaign (CAC) has sponsored vanpool fare incentiveprograms and continues to actively work with us and area employers topromote and implement vanpool options.The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) has entered intoan agreement with VPSI and makes available a fare support rebate tovanpool groups that report their passenger counts and mileage on amonthly basis as part of the National Transit Database (NTD). This inturn helps to increase the funding available to the region to support anarray of transportation initiatives.Commute Connections, the service provided through the AtlantaRegional Commission via their 1-800-RIDE-FIND number, has activelyworked with us to assist in the applicant-matching process. VPSI, inturn, has shared all of our applicant data with the region since thedatabase was created.We would like to add YOU to the list of organizations we work with and toexplore with you and other building owner/managers and employers the stepswe can take to reduce the number of SOVs in and around the properties youmanage, while at the same time providing an added benefit to your tenantsand your employees. BOMA’s Traffic and Transportation Committee hassupported this idea.One approach that has proven effective as a tool to reduce the number of SOVcommuters has been the implementation of Commuter Choice programs byemployers. “Commuter Choice” is a term that refers to both an array ofTransportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies to promote alternativesto single occupancy vehicle commuting and to certain tax incentives availableunder the Internal Revenue Tax code of “Qualified Transportation FringeBenefit Allowances.” Among the significant benefits such programs makeavailable to employees and companies that offer these programs is the abilityPage 2 of your number one source for everything commercial real estate!3/10/2008
  3. 3. to provide a benefit of up to $100 per month per commuter, without any taxliability to the recipient. In the case of a payroll deduction program using theemployee’s own funds, this can be as a pretax deduction — effectively loweringthe cost of the commute by the employee’s marginal tax rate.This type of program can be promoted to your tenants through a joint effort onthe part of the building manager, MetroVanPool staff, and (in many cases) thelocal TMA director to plan an approach to a few “key” tenants, describe theproblem, and explain how such a program benefits BOTH the employer ANDthe employee.The bottom line: MetroVanPool will work with you and your tenant populationto reduce the number of vehicles you need to accommodate at the work sitesyou manage. This benefits:The commuters — By saving them the cost of the wear and tear on theirpersonal cars, as well as the stress of commuting solo and dealing withthe traffic daily. The cost to the riders is significantly less than the costto own and operate a car as these expenses are SHARED in a vanpool.These expenses can be further reduced through Commuter Choiceprograms and the support of TMAs and the Clean Air Campaign whereavailable.The volunteer drivers — Again, through saving them the cost of the wearand tear on their personal cars. In addition, the primary volunteer drivertypically rides FREE in exchange for driving. All drivers have theopportunity for personal use of the van during the day, as well asevenings, weekends and holidays.The employer — Vanpooling serves to increase the available work forcethrough eliminating a car as a prerequisite for employment. Over aquarter-century of experience has taught us that vanpool riders tend tohave lower absenteeism and a significantly better “on-time” rate thanthose who commute by themselves.Building owners and property managers — Vanpooling serves as a wayto significantly reduce the total number of vehicles accessing a property.This serves to lower congestion in and around the properties. Such aservice also constitutes a significant enhancement of amenities availableto tenants in properties with these programs in place. This is a tool tohelp secure new tenants and retain existing ones.The region as a whole — We ALL benefit through reductions in SOVcommutes — through a reduction in traffic congestion, and with it, aconcurrent reduction in the amount of pollution in our atmosphere. Thisultimately helps improve our overall air quality and quality of life.For more information, please visit the company’s Website J. Harrison currently serves as manager for the Atlanta CustomerService Center of VPSI. In this capacity he has full P&L responsibility for allVPSI operations in Georgia, including the Atlanta-based MetroVanPoolprogram.Currently the MetroVanPool program encompasses a fleet of 150 vansoperating 130 routes serving 26 counties in the Metro Atlanta area. This fleetgenerated over 1.9 million revenue miles in 2001. A long-time advocate ofpublic/private partnerships in transportation, Harrison has managed contractoperations with both Cobb County (Georgia) and the South Carolina-basedLower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG) for the Savannah River Site(SRS).His government activities also include work with the Birmingham RegionalPlanning Commission (BRPC) in Alabama, the Atlanta Regional Commission(ARC), the Partnership for a Smog Free Georgia (PSG), the Georgia RegionalPage 3 of your number one source for everything commercial real estate!3/10/2008
  4. 4. Transportation Authority (GRTA), the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional TransitAuthority (MARTA), and the State Transportation Implementation Program(STIP) Planning Review Committee of the Georgia Department ofTransportation.Mr. Harrison holds a bachelor of arts degree with a major in political scienceand minors in management, computer science and art history from DePaulUniversity of Chicago. While there, he was elected to Pi Gamma Mu(International Honor Society in the Social Sciences) and Blue Key (NationalUniversity Service Leaders Honor Society).Click here to read about BOMA Atlanta.E-mail this article.View printer-friendly version.© 2003 All rights reserved.Home | Advertise | About | Contact | Site MapWeb Design by Frisco Internet TechnologiesPage 4 of your number one source for everything commercial real estate!3/10/2008