#Commuter Benefits

How Sustainable Transportation Can Positively Impact the Future

February 01, 2024

Transportation to and from work provides numerous possibilities to minimize environmental impact.

In an increasingly eco-conscious age, the choices available to your workforce should steer towards sustainable transportation systems that decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), despite progress in air quality improvement, 85 million people nationwide still live in counties with harmful pollution levels thanks to high levels of urban mobility.

Sustainable transportation infrastructure is the way forward for future generations to reduce their environmental footprint.

What Is the Most Sustainable Form of Transportation?

Besides hiking and bicycle riding, trains remain one of the greenest and most environmentally safe travel methods.

Trains emit between 70 to 80% less greenhouse emissionsthan automobiles and airplanes.

Whether diesel or electric-powered, trains emit66 to 75% fewer carbon emissions compared to planes and cars.

What Are Examples of Sustainable Transportation?

Walking, biking, public transportation, carpooling, ride-sharing, alternative fuel vehicles, electric vehicles, and electric trucks all provide a great example of sustainable forms of transportation.

What Are the Goals of Sustainable Transportation?

The main goals of sustainable transportation are to help reduce traffic congestion, enhance the lives of urban residents, lower outdoor air pollution, and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and the use and reliance on fossil fuels, improving urban air quality.

What Is the Impact of Air Pollution?

Air pollution is currently one of the top threats to global health, surpassed only by high blood pressure, poor diet, and the use of tobacco.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates air pollution kills 7 million people worldwideevery year, a death toll much higher than previously estimated.

Fuel oils, emissions from vehicles, natural gas to heat homes, and by-products of power generation and manufacturingare the primary sources of man-made air pollution.

WHO data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants above WHO guideline limits.

What Are the Benefits of Sustainable Transportation?

One of the major benefits of greener transportation systems is the reduction in environmental footprints and levels of pollutants.

Public transportation systems are the leading source of promoting sustainability in transit, especially in dense urban areas.

Train and bus systems are safer, more accessible, and better suited for transporting large groups of people.

These types of vehicles not only reduce the emissions per passenger mile compared to single vehicles, but they also reduce the amount of vehicles on the highway.

1. It Reduces Carbon Footprint

The modes of transportation such as walking or cycling don’t produce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, waste electricity, or emit pollutants like noise or air pollution.

The public can reduce congestion in traffic which results in less pollution per person mile.

2. It Creates Safer Transportation

Sustainable public transportation has many advantages over private transportation and is much more comfortable and relaxing when it comes time to travel around a city.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to drive around these areas, and you have much less likelihood of being injured when using public transportation systems.

3. It Lowers Congestion Levels

The sustainable transportation system eliminates bottlenecks due to the low number of private and business vehicles.

Even within larger metropolitan areas, it’s easier to get there. Open roads and other places are important in preserving natural ecosystems.

4. It Promotes Health and Well-Being

Reduced emissions can help promote good health. Many people live in regions where pollutant levels are exceeding legal boundaries.

If more passengers took public transportation, the pollution levels would dramatically decline, allowing residents in these areas to breathe easier and live longer.

Study results indicate a high percentage of people living in walkable communities have longer life expectancies.

Active walking and cycling daily instead of driving to work can improve your health and wellness naturally.

5. It Reduces the Reliance on Fossil Fuels

With fuel costs skyrocketing, gas across the nation saw an all-time high of $5.02 per gallon on June 14, 2022, with households shelling out $5,000 per year on gasoline, according to Yardeni Research.

The EV Sales Tracker from EVadoption estimates 1.2 million battery-electric vehicles and another 190,000 plug-in hybrids were sold in 2023, a total of 1.36 million vehicles, representing EVs’ highest-ever share of new-car sales.

Year over year, electric vehicle sales have increased by about 40%.

The public is embracing sustainable vehicles, and sustainable infrastructure is doing nothing but increasing.

The number of electric charging ports has doubled in the last 3 years, making it easier to have this type of vehicle.

Benefits of Increasing Sustainable Commuters

Sustainable mobility improves air quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Pollutants from many transportation sources aggravate respiratory disease, contribute to property damage, and influence acid rain.

A sustainable transportation system can help reduce the threat of climate change and decrease toxic air pollution.

50 Years of Urbanization and Growing Transport Needs

On September 7, 1972, the United Nations Environment Conference (the Stockholm Conference) began.

It was convened to monitor the state of the environment, inform policymaking with science-backed information, and coordinate responses to the world’s environmental challenges.

This was the beginning of an ongoing conversation between developing countries and industrialized nations on the many correlations between economic growth, a rise in air and water pollution, and people’s health and well-being.

With the current world population at over 8 billion as of Friday, January 12, 2024, and almost 65% of the population residing in urban areas today, it’s more important than ever for countries to pay attention to the levels of pollutants and improve urban air quality.

The UN Environment Programme report calls for all nations to accelerate economy-wide, low-carbon development transformations.

Countries with a greater capacity and responsibility for emissions will need to take more ambitious action and support developing nations as they pursue low-emissions development growth.

UN Environment Programme Executive (UNEP) Director, Inger Andersen, called upon everyone to work together to address air pollution and promote clean air:

“Air cannot be contained by human boundaries. Dirty air in one city or country becomes dirty air in another.”

Less Pollution and Improved Air Quality

Currently, more than a quarter of all transportation fuel is still powered by petroleum. The average passenger vehicle produces about 411 grams of CO2 per mile driven.

Public modes of transport are less harmful to humans than private vehicles and reduce CO2.

Public transportation moves people to and from work while emitting fewer greenhouse gases than private cars.

It boils down to simple efficiency: cars carry one or two people at a time, a bus can carry 50 or more, and a train can carry hundreds.

7 Reasons Companies Should Choose Edenred’s Commuter Benefits

1. Edenred’s Commuter Benefits Are a Pre-Tax Powerhouse

They offer feature-rich and hassle-free solutions, whether you need to comply with a local ordinance or just want to make commuting less costly for your team and the environment.

Commuter benefits help employees pay for their daily commute via public transit (bus, train, subway, ferry) or vanpool by using pre-tax earnings—up to $315/month for transit and $315/month for qualified parking.

A payroll deduction of pre-tax commuting dollars allows employers to save on payroll taxes, too:

  • Cut employee out-of-pocket commuting costs through optional employer contributions.
  • Set aside commuting funds for employees with pre-tax deductions.
  • Support green commuting initiatives and missions.
  • Reduce employer payroll taxes.

For commuters traveling only 20 miles each day for work, switching from single-car occupancy to public transit results in a reduction of 4,800 pounds of CO2 emissions annually.

2. Micromobility Add-Ons

Accessed via the same system and the same card, Edenred’s Commuter Benefits and Micromobility add-ons offer more choices for the daily commute.

Employees can access even more commuting benefits post-tax, whether they choose to hop on a scooter for an appointment down the block or use an alternative, sustainable ride to cover the final mile.

  • Offers more commuting choices and additional green-commuting options.
  • Gives your brand a lasting environmental impact.
  • Can include a selection of bike sharing, bike shops, e-scooters, e-mopeds, and corporate shuttles.

3. Commuter Benefits May Be Required

U.S. employers in the following urban areas are required to provide commuter benefits to their teams:

  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle
  • New Jersey (statewide)
  • New York City
  • Washington, DC
  • Los Angeles
  • Berkley & Richmond, CA
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Chicago

Learn how to start a commuter benefits program to comply with your city or region’s commuter benefits ordinance.

4. Improved Communal Health and Equity

Sustainable transportation is shown to have positive health impacts.

When air pollution is reduced, less money is wasted on the health sector, which then reduces the economic burden on the region and the health system. It’s a snowball effect.

Sustainability in transportation encourages people to walk to work and cycle.

Another important aspect of this greener form of urban transportation is the socio-economic factors including equality, which is aimed at sustainable transportation.

Bikes are far less expensive than cars.

5. Sustainable Transportation Creates a Safer Environment

Using public transportation is 10 times safer compared to driving on a highway. Moreover, commuters can reduce their risk of collisions by up to 90% by switching to public transportation.

Accidents occur at highway intersections and cause over 1.4 million deaths each year in children and adults between ages 6 and 24.

In addition, nearly 1 billion Americans suffer injuries and disabilities in traffic crashes. Safer mobility is a key element to sustainable mobility.

6. Sustainable Mobility Promotes Economic Development

Sustainable modes of transportation have numerous advantages for economic purposes.

If cities build a successful public transit system and people use it regularly, it can save the citizens a lot of money, estimates are put at upwards of$10,000 per year, per household.

Other studies show a significant increase in commercial activity and its associated profit in areas where motorized traffic is forbidden, and access is available to pedestrians and bicycles only.

People flock to these areas, increasing revenue for the businesses located therein.

7. More Job Opportunities Are Created

As transportation options evolve, cities are going to need extra support to help.

There’s an expected increase in the demand at the metro stations as well as in electrical charging stations. Sustainable transportation could create 24 million jobs globallyby 2030.

The development and ongoing maintenance of sustainable transportation systems create all types of jobs, from construction work to the need for technicians and engineers.

A well-implemented transportation project can generate jobs and boost the local economy.

Sustainable transportation also focuses on utilizing advanced technologies and skill sets, providing work across many fields like designers and innovators.

How Edenred Can Help

The simple act of getting to and from work has a massive impact on the world we live in.

It’s easy to take an environmentally positive step forward when it comes to commuting, setting your company and your brand as a major driving force for change.

There’s no time to waste. The climate crisis is real.

If you’re ready to learn how you can make some easy changes, book a meeting with Edenred today.

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