University of Pittsburgh
August 24, 2005

University of Pittsburgh Receives Best Workplaces for Commuters Designation

Pitt one of only two universities in Pennsylvania to receive recognition
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh was designated one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

The BWC recognizes employers that offer environmentally friendly commuter benefits. Pitt was applauded for, among other things, its shuttle service for faculty, staff, and students to adjacent neighborhoods and fare-free access to Allegheny County's mass transportation system. Both services are accessed using the University ID card.

Penn State University was the only other college in Pennsylvania to receive the BWC designation.

"The University is appreciative of the recognition received from the EPA and DOT. It's great that the quality services we provide our students, faculty, and staff also have positive effects for the region related to the environment and transportation demand," said Joe Phillips, assistant vice chancellor for business. "In addition to the University's efforts, credit for this honor also goes to our committed partners at the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Port Authority of Allegheny County, and Lenzner Tour and Travel."

Pitt offers an array of benefits that help commuters, including carpool parking discounts, free ride-matching for carpools and vanpools, Guaranteed Ride Home program when registered "poolers" have an emergency, six free parking passes per year for each registered van- or carpooler, and free bicycle registration and bike parking. The University also works closely with CommuteInfo, the regional ridesharing provider, to encourage alternative commuting methods. CommuteInfo provides ridesharing information to a 10 county region in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

According to Margo Oge, EPA director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, the effects of incentive programs like Best Workplaces for Commuters can be dramatic.

"If just half of all U.S. employees were covered under these commuter benefits," said Oge, "traffic and air pollution could be cut by the equivalent of taking 15 million cars off the road every year, saving American workers about $12 billion in fuel costs. That's both cleaner air and real savings for families."

BWC is a public-private partnership developed by the EPA and DOT. EPA and DOT have established a voluntary National Standard of Excellence for employer-provided commuter benefits. The program challenges employers across the country to meet these standards.