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Technology Today - Traffic Pollution Reduction Programme in Colorado

Technology Today

For years, states across the US have struggled with rising air pollution and poor air quality due to CO2 emissions from transportation. Colorado's Department of Public Health & Environment is looking at innovative solutions to address this problem head on.

Colorado Employees Traffic Reduction Programme

Anyone who has lived in Colorado knows that cities along the Front Range, located on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, suffer from some of the worst ground level ozone levels in the country and transportation is its largest contributor. To help combat this, the Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, established an Employee Traffic Reduction Programme (ETRP). 

Originally proposed as a mandatory program under their larger transportation greenhouse gas reduction rule package for 2021, the program will now be explored as a voluntary one available to businesses. The premise is to reduce the rate of single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) commuting to work and move towards the use of cleaner vehicles. Companies with 100-plus employees at one worksite within the Colorado Ozone Non-attainment Area will be encouraged to develop a customised traffic reduction plan specifically tailored to their needs, as well as the needs of their employees.

Implications for Commuters

The ETRP is not a ban on commuting nor a way to penalise commuters for their commuting habits. Rather, it is a plan that would be developed, implemented and monitored by employers to offer company employees comparable solutions to SOV commuting. A few examples outside of the regular realm of encouraging micro-mobility (walking/biking to work) and utilising public transportation include - implementing flexible work schedules (eg,, four 10-hour days), offering work from home opportunities, and arranging employee shuttles to and from the work site. 

The benefits of this proposed plan, aside from air pollution control, could include reduced traffic for Colorado commuters and increased employment opportunities to those who struggle to accommodate a traditional work schedule.

Implications for Design Practices

Although this programme targets businesses rather than their buildings or sites, there may be indirect effects that programs like these would have on site and building design practices. For companies such as Galloway that provide planning, architecture, and civil engineering services, the ETRP could encourage design teams to evaluate projects with new requirements in mind. 

Designs may include increased areas for electric vehicle parking and charging stations, creating more prioritized parking for green vehicles, and building access pathways to public transportation in planning when applicable. Well-designed pedestrian walkways will be at the forefront of adapting these spaces to encourage alternate commuting habits. Plans may also call for an increased number of bike racks, bike lockers to ensure bicycles are stored securely, and locker rooms for employees to refresh after their commute. 

Colorado's ETRP has significant overlap with the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programme, which also includes strategies to reduce SOVs and utilize existing infrastructure. Across the nation, more cities are creating programs to help reduce carbon emissions, encouraging firms to look for creative solutions that will help address the ever growing needs of clients' facilities. 

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