Augusta State University announced a partnership with The Clean Air Campaign on Wednesday to encourage its employees to carpool to work and improve the area’s air quality.
By joining the statewide initiative, ASU employees can receive financial incentives for riding with others, biking or walking to work. Commuters who begin the program can earn $3 a day and a maximum of $100 for logging their commutes online.
The Clean Air Campaign began in 1996 and has worked with about 1,600 employers including Georgia Health Sciences University and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions.
Vehicular traffic causes 37 percent of smog-forming emissions in the Augusta area, said Kenyon Thweatt, the senior employer program manager for The Clean Air Campaign.
“It’s good news because about 40 percent of your air quality issues can be reduced by changing your behavior on the road,” Thweatt said.
Ozone violations have increased in the Augusta area since 2009, when no violations were recorded. In 2010, two violations were issued and three were issued last year, he said.
As a partner employer, ASU receives data from The Clean Air Campaign to help change commuting behaviors. The campaign, a nonprofit organization, studies the number of cars coming and going from campus and develops commuting options.
In Richmond County, 80 percent of commuters drive to work alone and 20 percent have a one-way travel time that exceeds 30 minutes, Thweatt said.
“We’ve become accustomed to driving alone, to have that time alone, to have that flexibility and convenience to being in our own vehicles,” he said.