The market forces of supply and demand are slugging it out while metro Atlanta motorists watch the fuel gauge with trepidation. The fuel shortage brought on by Hurricane Ike more than two weeks ago is squeezing commuters and employers alike. And it may still be another two weeks before the situation improves. It's a helpless feeling as commuters wait in long lines at the pump and employers wonder if their employees will make it to work.
Fortunately, The Clean Air Campaign and its partners in the region can connect you with resources to help you cope with the fuel shortage.
1. Share the ride with other commuters who live and work near you to save gas. RideSmart, the region's carpool ridematching service, can give you an instant match list of potential carpool partners. When you receive your match list, a simple phone call is all it takes to broker the deal.
2. If your job is conducive to telework, talk to your boss about working from home for a couple of weeks until the gas shortage abates. Approach it as a business continuity arrangement, so your boss understands that you're trying to keep your workload moving forward.
3. If it's available near you, ride a bus or train to and from work. Click here for links to all the major transit providers operating in the region, like the GRTA Xpress Bus, Cobb County Transit, MARTA and others.
1. Consider allowing your employees to shift their work schedules so they can avoid rush hour traffic and fill up. Another option would be temporarily instituting a compressed work schedule in which employees work four 10-hour days and take the fifth day off to avoid commuting.
2. Encourage your employees to brown bag their lunches to avoid driving over the lunch hour. Use the opportunity to set up a lunch and learn mini-series at your worksite and have company leadership come in and speak on topics related to your organization's mission.
3. Put your business continuity plan into effect now. If you have drafted a plan that includes a contingency for employees that are unable to travel to your worksite, use it for the next two weeks. If nothing else, the gas shortage makes a good proving ground for the effectiveness of your continuity plan.
This latest chapter in the Great Gas Crunch of 2008 underscores the importance of alternatives to driving alone and driving at all. This year's sharp increase in enrollment in The Clean Air Campaign's incentive programs (up three times over last year) -- and the spike in new employer Partners (double last year's effort) -- is a sign that changes to our driving culture can be made to stick.
So, what has this latest wrinkle done to change your commuting habits? Do you foresee the need to burn a vacation day if you can't get to work? Have any employers come up with creative solutions to keep their operations moving forward? Let us know what you're doing.
After having been spellbound during China's blockbuster Olympic presentation in August, most of us have moved on. However, I can't help but notice the unmistakable similarity between Atlanta and Beijing in each host city's post-Olympic experience.
In 1996 (The Clean Air Campaign's first year in existence) as in 2008, both cities wrestled with air quality and traffic challenges. Measures implemented to reduce traffic congestion and alleviate air pollution reached employers, commuters and industry. And guess what? They worked.
When the Olympics were in town, Atlanta roads were surprisingly navigable. Many employers allowed members of their workforces to telecommute – it sounded so futuristic then – in order to ease anticipated gridlock. The number of ozone days dipped dramatically in what is considered the peak of smog season. One study even found the number of asthma-related ER visits declined. These findings were a glimpse into what was possible as The Clean Air Campaign began its mission to improve quality of life in the region.
A similar phenomenon is taking root half a world away. With the conclusion of the Paralympic Games in Beijing this week, residents are actually clamoring for a continuation of the stringent policies that city enacted. The measure that got the most attention was a mandate banning cars from driving on odd- or even-numbered days based on license plate numbers.
What would that be like if we chose to do that here?
One recent news story quotes a 48-year-old Beijing resident who declares, "The air hasn't been this clean since I was a child. The government needs to keep it this way."
Great quote. But does the responsibility fall squarely on policymakers to create change like this, or should we all be working toward it? Post a reply and let readers know your stance.