Brian Carr

“Meta-what?” you’re probably asking. That’s the battle cry being heard around the state from devoted “Good Morning America” viewers and all of us here at The Clean Air Campaign. We’ve been rooting for our Bronze Level Partner Metametrix, Inc. as five of its employees competed in the morning show’s first ever Carpool Challenge.

Duluth-based Metametrix was one of eight carpooling teams from around the country that competed to lower their commute costs and save the environment. They did it by ditching their solo commute and sharing the ride with co-workers headed in the same direction.

You can track Metametrix’s success here, where they logged their commute and blogged about it all week long.

And if you’re inspired by what your fellow Georgians have been doing in the national media spotlight, why not give carpooling a try yourself? Just a few weeks ago Michael, Kris, Bryant, Eve and Augustin were driving to work alone too, but after reading their blogs, it seems they love their new commute and the instantaneous benefits that come with sharing the ride. RideSmart will even match you with a potential carpool. So give it a try, then come back and leave a message on our blog about your experience.



Brian Carr

Remember when there was no Google and you either knew the Web address or you didn’t? When you gladly paid AOL to hear “You’ve got mail!”? When the piercing sounds of “WEEEEEEE…SHHHHHH” let you know you were successfully connected to the Internet?

Many of you may not remember, but take it from me, we’ve come a long way.

Fortunately, the Internet now provides all the tools you need to manage your commute – and make it as easy and “green” as possible. Here’s a rundown of some that we think are most helpful. If you have others, please add to our list:

Georgia Navigator
Provides real-time traffic conditions in metro Atlanta and across Georgia. If you’re not online, call 511 for traffic conditions.

RideSmart

Find an instant match for a carpool or vanpool partner. More than 30,000 commuters have already signed up.

14th Street Bridge
Stay ahead of the latest road closures, detours and construction updates.

MARTA
Taking transit may be easier than you think. Check out MARTA’s trip planner and rail/bus routes.

A-TRAIN Trip Planner
Let this site map out your car-free commute via transit, foot or bicycle.

Commuter Feed
A free service that lets users post local traffic reports via Twitter or Pownce.

Zipcar
Why drive your gas guzzler to run errands when you can hop in a community car and save the wear and tear?

Gas Buddy
For a good laugh (or cry), view the historical price of a gallon of gas in Georgia.

And of course, CleanAirCampaign.org – doesn’t that go without saying?!



Kevin Green

Today we’re exactly halfway through smog season. How are we doing so far? Good question.

As you may know, the EPA tightened ozone standards earlier this year. As a result, the Atlanta region was expected to have more violations.

So far during smog season, metro Atlanta has registered 16 ozone violations (2 code red, unhealthy for everyone; 14 code orange, unhealthy for sensitive groups). Last year during the same period, we logged 12 ozone violations (2 code red; 10 code orange).

If the standard had not changed, eight of this year’s violations would not have been recorded. So while we have more violations than last year, you could say that we’re having a better year. But the bottom line is that standards changed for a very good reason: to better protect human health. From that perspective, even one violation is one too many.

If you are changing your commuting habits to be more “green,” (or even to save money), rest assured that your hard work is making a difference. Each day in metro Atlanta, your relationship with The Clean Air Campaign is helping to eliminate 1.2 million vehicle miles of travel and keep 600 tons of pollution out of the air. But commuters in the region can do more.

Besides ditching your solo driving habits, there are other simple actions you can take to protect your health:

  1. Sign up to receive Smog Alerts.
  2. Learn how to protect yourself and your family from the negative health effects of bad air.
  3. Encourage others to do the same.

The hottest days of summer are still ahead of us, so please share any tips you have for reducing pollution on Smog Alert days.

And so you know we’re not alone in this fight, take a look at the new Olympic stadium in Beijing. The Christian Science Monitor reports that one reading of particle pollution at the stadium was seven times the World Health Organization’s recommended levels. Being part of the solution is more important than ever in our world. But, without question, being part of the solution must start with us taking action here in Georgia.



Kevin Green

How many meetings have you driven to in the past week? Are you scheduling more conference calls or finding other ways to communicate to stay off the roads (and away from the gas station)? This week the spotlight is on Web conferencing. In two days, we’ve got a free lunch and learn seminar that might offer even more relief to you or your employer. We offer a series of free training seminars annually, but this is the first time we’ve offered this subject.

And if you think it’s just for offices – think again. The Associated Press recently reported on a University of Oklahoma alumnus who will be co-teaching a class from Iraq via Web conference. TV correspondent Mike Boettcher will be embedded with U.S. soldiers in Iraq for 15 months and will teach the “War and Media” class this fall from the front lines. But I digress…

Our July 10 training seminar will be led by Henry E. Liebling, a consultant with 20+ years experience, and promises to teach you the best practices for holding a meeting without ever leaving your office - and how Web conferencing can improve productivity.

We’ve also got two other training seminars that may be of interest later in 2008. On September 4, we’ll be going over the Georgia Telework Tax Credit, and on November 10, we’ll present the “State of the Commute.” But I’ll remind you about those when they get a little closer.

If you can’t join us at DeKalb Technical College on Thursday, check back soon for the session recap. If you are joining us, great. I’ll see you there!



Kevin Green

Welcome to our new blog. We’ll use this forum to address a variety of topics central to our mission of clearing the air and improving traffic; topics we hear about every day, affecting our wallets, our health and our quality of life.

Read any paper or watch any newscast and, chances are, the lead stories cover the subjects The Clean Air Campaign team works on every day: Traffic congestion is causing delays. Gas prices are eating into our budgets. Smog is affecting our health and the health of our children. Georgia’s transportation funds are shrinking while the costs of improvements continue to skyrocket.

Over the coming months, we’ll share our thoughts about how best to address these challenges. We’ll also invite some guest bloggers – employers and commuters – to contribute their thoughts and their success stories. But most importantly, we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

The first thing I’d like to hear about is something that's already on everyone’s mind – gas prices. Analysts predict that gas may hit $5 a gallon in our current economy and may even go as high as $7 a gallon within four years. While we're not there yet, we're certainly on the way. What effect is $4 a gallon gas really having on you? We know it’s making a difference to thousands of people – June was a record month for us, with more than 1,700 people signing up for our incentive program, Cash for Commuters (demand was so high we burnt up a fax machine!).

Are you making changes to your driving habits? What are you doing? If you’re not changing your ways, why not? Have you found any creative ways to improve gas mileage?

We have a few recommendations to get the best MPG possible, but we’re curious to hear more from you. Let us know. Until then, bookmark us and join the conversation. You can also connect to us on MySpace and through our new homepage poll.