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Posts tagged with Georgia transportation

The calendar says this is the time of year when many of us will look inward and reflect on life as we know it.  It’s the ideal time to look back on the year that was, take inventory of the pluses and minuses and chart a course for the year ahead.  The net result for many of us is that we find something we want to change about ourselves or our surroundings. 

Polls indicate we seldom stray from the big four resolutions: exercise more, save more money, spend more time with family, enjoy life more.  But everyone knows it’s hard to do “more.”  According to a research project out of the UK, only 12% of us make good on our resolutions.  What if we have it all wrong?  Maybe some of our resolutions should actually be framed around doing less.

When it comes to sustainability, addition by subtraction sometimes yields better results.   The Clean Air Campaign suggests these ideas to make less mean more in 2012:

Drive less. 
Every mile you’re not driving alone keeps a pound of pollution out of the air we breathe, puts 47 cents back in your pocket and gives you the opportunity to use your travel time to do the things you enjoy.

Make fewer excuses about why you can’t do it.
One in four vehicle trips covers less than a mile in distance.  There’s a whole network of options out there if you look around.  Push outside your comfort zone.  Walk or bicycle, and prove to yourself that you can get there.  Take the bus, and prove to yourself that you can read the route map.  Leave your car at home and prove to yourself that you don’t need it as a crutch while you’re at your workplace.  If you need a ride home, we’ve got your back

Pay less attention to the conventional wisdom of transportation policy. 
The model for transportation funding, which relies heavily on the motor fuel tax, could use some updating.  Georgians will go to the polls in 2012 to vote on a different funding model (referred to as a T-SPLOST) that could yield tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure improvements over the next decade – money we would not otherwise get from the motor fuel tax – by leveraging an additional penny sales tax.  Worth reading about so you can form your opinion and make you voice heard.

We want to hear from you.
What is your clean commute resolution? Leave a comment on this blog for the chance to win a $20 Simon Mall gift card.

The last visible signs of Atlanta’s “Big Chill” are melting away today.  And as employers finish thawing out their operations from the deep freeze, the staggering totals of a lost week of productivity are staring the region in the face: the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University reports the business community lost an estimated $300 million last week.  That has many employers asking the question, “What could we have done differently to keep our business moving?

At the same time, some employers stared down the icy mess and didn’t blink.  For them, the capacity to telework made the circumstances of last week “business as usual.”  Shaw Industries kept the wheels moving with a business continuity plan that included telework and had this to say:

"Having a teleworking program in place at Shaw is one of the ways we are able to help ensure the safety and well-being of our associates during extreme winter weather conditions like those we experienced this week. In addition to those associates who routinely telework as part of their normal schedule, we also asked all managerial and administrative associates in the affected areas to telework this week until they could safely get to their offices. While we temporarily closed or delayed shifts at several of our manufacturing facilities, having a telework program and the associated technology in place meant that some of our associates were also able to conduct business as usual this week from the warmth and safety of their own homes."

-- Paul Richard, Vice President Human Resources, Shaw Industries Group, Inc.

One thing we all learned last week is that the notion of preparedness is relative.  There’s only so much we can control.  The rest is about making the best of a given situation.  And from a productivity lens, that’s what telework allowed many of us to do when we couldn’t get out of our neighborhoods.

So, to the region’s employers that are searching for ways to shore up their business continuity plans, The Clean Air Campaign has lots of relevant ideas to help you get started.

The big question many news outlets are asking on Day Three of this January snow storm is, "How much is this storm going to cost Georgia businesses in lost productivity?" 

Across Metro Atlanta, media reports are still showing that many business operations remain idle as of Wednesday, as workers encounter impassible roads and limited transit access.

AJC is reporting MARTA has established limited bus service on Wednesday, and rail service is running on weekend hours ... but Gwinnett County Transit is still offline.  Same story with Cobb County Transit. 

Where's the finish line?  According to 90.1 WABE-FM, warmer temps are coming for the weekend.  Until then, continue to be careful out there!  If you have to venture out on the roads, check GDOT's Georgia NaviGAtor tool online or dial 511 for up-to-date road conditions. 

Green Chamber of the South

Much has changed since that first Earth Day in 1970 when Senator Nelson led the first Earth Day demonstration. That first Earth Day led to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA and laws and regulations that came in the following years made business accountable for polluting, harming human health and the environment, by handing businesses the bill. Businesses now had to comply to avoid huge fines and penalties.

As we mark Earth Day of 2010, the shift to sustainability in business is based on a different premise. Thought leaders and innovators in business today are taking the route of responsible capitalism, becoming accountable not to government, not to shareholders, but to the larger community of stakeholders in the business or corporation. The consumer pull or demand for responsibility is leading the charge. It is no accident that branding and PR are at the forefront. On a national level, Conferences like Sustainable Brands are more popular than ever with almost every major US corporations attending. Locally, companies like Coke, Cox, Interface and others are making huge efforts for their sustainability initiatives to be seen and heard.

Recognizing the importance of telling your green story and leading by example, the Green Chamber of the South gives companies the opportunity to do this regularly. On April 14 we will hold a seminar on Social Media and how to leverage it in the context of sustainability and green business, and in May we will hold a seminar on finding and telling your green story, all that in addition to our regular Green Wednesdays networking lunches, programs with local chambers TAG and many more. Please check our website for more details.

Ofra Tessler is president and co-founder of The Green Chamber of the South, serving green businesses throughout the Southeast. The Chamber connects green businesses, clean technology companies and corporations with sustainability programs to share best practices learn and grow. It offers businesses exposure, networking opportunities, projects, workshops and seminars. The Green Chamber of the South provides sustainable businesses in the Southeast with a strong organization, guidance, and ample opportunities for collaboration and growth. For more information: or

Earth Day is observed on April 22, 2010.

Greetings and happy spring! We've put on our gardening gloves and dug deep for this edition of Merging Lanes with one goal: to plant thoughts of sustainable transportation in your mind. So, what's going in Georgia? Lots:

HB 1218 - Transportation Funding in Georgia
It came in like a lion. Will it go out like a lamb? The state transportation funding bill (HB 1218) that was introduced early in the legislative session has reached a critical point in the calendar, where it must move from the House to the Senate or be put on the shelf. The Transportation Investment Act of 2010 still has many details that need to be worked out, such as whether counties can opt out of the "regional" arrangement and how projects will be approved. In 2008, a different version of a transportation funding bill missed by three votes at the end of the session. In 2009, competing versions of transportation planning and funding bills could not be reconciled before the session ended. What are the odds that another legislative session will come and go without action on transportation funding? And for Georgia commuters and employers, what is the cost of another year of status quo?

Lane ends 2000 feet.

Friday is Ride MARTA Day
A grassroots movement is gaining momentum to build citizen support for MARTA as the transit agency comes to grips with a funding shortfall that is likely to result in service cuts by the start of summer that could affect thousands of patrons. "Ride MARTA Day" is coming up this Friday. If you can hop on a bus or ride the train to work this Friday, consider showing your support for MARTA.

Lane ends 1000 feet.

Actions Speak Loud
It's an understatement to say he leads by example in his role at The Clean Air Campaign. Hats off to Mark Telling, The Clean Air Campaign's Director of Finance since 2002, who just earned recognition as a Clean Air Commuter Champion.

He makes it look easy. Because it is. Preferred commuting modes? GRTA Xpress and telework. When asked why he does it, the predicted answer we thought we'd get from the seasoned finance professional would be savings on commute costs. But Mark says his motivation is simply to avoid the stress of driving alone in traffic. Mark's efforts at clean commuting have kept 25,000 pounds of pollution out of the air we breathe. Congrats!

Lane ends 500 feet.

Bumper Sticker Moment of Zen
When you're languishing in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the least the driver in front of you can do is give you something to ponder.

Thanks, biodiesel guy, for doing your part. Got any good pics of bumper stickers with traffic or sustainability messages that gave you a chuckle, or maybe sparked an epiphany? Send them our way and we'll share them in this space.


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