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A new 'commuting toolkit' aims to reduce transportation emissions

metro buses
Michael E. Keating/WVXU

A local climate change organization is asking employers to offer commuting benefits like Metro and RedBike passes and on-site electric vehicle charging stations.

The Cincinnati 2030 District is a partnership between businesses, developers and building managers for 321 buildings. Director Elizabeth Rojas says they’re now offering a Commuting Toolkit for employers.

"We were hearing from people that they didn't know really where to begin if they were going to start to modify behavior or modify workplace policy strategies for reducing emissions," Rojas said.

The 2030 District conducted a commuter survey in late 2021, partnering with the OKI Regional Council of Governments. They learned about 53% of commuting trips taken to participating employers were by car with only one occupant; about 38% of trips were employees working from home.

People driving to work alone accounted for 92% of miles traveled, compared to about 76% nationally.

The 2030 District includes 321 buildings throughout greater Cincinnati, mostly concentrated in the city. The goal is to reduce transportation emissions and energy and water consumption at least 50% by the year 2030.

A new report shows progress in all three areas through the end of 2021:

  • 31.5% reduction in energy consumption in all participating buildings
  • 31.1% reduction in water consumption in all participating buildings
  • 20.8% reduction in transportation emissions (measured in emissions per commuter)

Reductions in energy and water use are way ahead of schedule, and Rojas says it's not entirely clear why.

"Is it because people are making improvements? We have heard anecdotally, yes, that people are making improvements," Rojas said. "We also wonder how many people are not working in their offices right now. So over the next couple of years, we'll see a little bit more evidence, but the fact that we have this jumpstart is a great place to be."

Short-term goals are to reduce transportation emissions at least 25% by 2025, and to reduce energy and water consumption at least 35% by 2025.

Corrected: January 5, 2023 at 4:44 PM EST
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that 38% of trips in the commuting survey were by carpool or vanpool. It has been updated to say that 38% of such trips were employees working from home.
Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.