Individual Actions You can Take to Improve Air Quality
Take mass transit. Even if you do it just once or twice a week, you'll reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and save money. It costs roughly between 49 cents and 76 cents per mile (depending on car size and type) to own and operate a vehicle. There are many mutual employer, employee, and community benefits of why transit makes sense. Check with your employer to see if they offer any alternative transportation incentives such as free or low-cost bus passes or tickets.
Share a ride or vanpool. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) offers a program called "Rideshare". RIDESHARE serves individual commuters who drive, ride, or bike, as well as employers to help improve air quality, reduce congestion, and provide ‘green’ alternative commuting options and programs. The program uses a computer database to match people with similar origins and destinations. Call "Rideshare" at 1-800-455-POOL to learn more or visit Southeast Wisconsin's RIDESHARE program.
The Department of Administration's State Vanpool program provides alternate transportation for state and non-state employees commuting to Madison from outside communities (including Milwaukee). Participants can join a group that is already established or, if there are enough interested people, they can form a new vanpool. Riders enjoy low rates, comfortable vans, and the benefit of convenient pick-up and drop-off locations. If interested, contact the Vanpool Office: 1-800-884-VANS or visit Vanpool Rideshare Program.
Have fun! Ride your bike or walk instead of driving. It's a great way to travel and it can help you and the air get into condition. Vehicles on the road create more than 25% of all air pollution nationwide.
Telecommute or work from home if possible, especially during ozone season. Check with your employer to see what your options are.
Avoid rush hours and listen to the traffic report before you go. Congested conditions with their slow speeds and stop-and-go movement increase air pollution and expose drivers to higher ozone and carbon monoxide levels. Start work early and leave early (or late) if you can to avoid congestion.
Consider working a compressed workweek. Work four 10-hour days and take the fifth day off as flextime. This will eliminate one day of commuting and will probably enable you to travel during less peak hours when you do go to and from work. Talk to your employer about considering this option.
Cancel or reschedule meetings as teleconferences during an Air Quality Advisory.
Turn off your computer, copy machines and office lights at night. Power used by lights and machines comes from power plants that contribute to air contamination.
Bring your lunch to work. Save gas and avoid being on the road by packing yourself a bag lunch. Another good idea is to arrange a lunch delivery for yourself and a group of coworkers on an ozone action day to keep the cars on the road to a minimum.
Combine your work-related errands into one trip. Vehicles don't reach their maximum operating efficiency until they have been driven for at least 2 miles- so more trips mean more emissions created by the poor performance of catalytic converters during the early part of each trip. When you first start a car after it has been sitting for more than an hour, it pollutes up to five times more than when the engine's warm!
Delay fueling your vehicle until evening hours. Refueling during the evening can prevent gas fumes from baking in the sun and creating ozone. And that can help keep the air clean.