The efforts of more than 170 Massachusetts businesses, colleges, and universities, who promote active, healthy, and sustainable commute options were celebrated today for helping Massachusetts to reduce traffic congestion, to promote healthy lifestyles, and benefit the environment. The Massachusetts Excellence in Commuter Options (ECO) Awards ceremony took place at historic Fenway Park and brought together businesses from across the state that provide innovative programs and resources to encourage employees to travel by public transit, carpools, vanpools, bicycling or walking.
“The Massachusetts employers recognized today are helping the Commonwealth by encouraging more environmentally friendly commuting options that will enhance our communities by providing a healthier and cleaner environment,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO, Stephanie Pollack. “Within the past calendar year, Massachusetts employers saw an increase of over 7,000 commuters participating in commuter options programs, resulting in a reduction of over 11,000 tons of emissions from entering our air.”
Massachusetts is regarded nationally as an innovator in promoting shared use of infrastructure on roadways across the Commonwealth. MassDOT has established numerous policies that emphasize consideration for all modes of travel when designing roadways. These policies include a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the transportation sector.
MassCommute hosted the ECO Awards in collaboration with MassRIDES, the statewide travel options program and MassDOT. MassRIDES and MassCommute actively support employers across the Commonwealth in their work to reduce drive-alone trips to work sites while encouraging employees to travel by public transit, carpools, vanpools, bicycling, and walking – or avoid commuting altogether by encouraging telework opportunities. Together, MassRIDES and MassCommute have over 700 employer partners and member organizations that support green and healthy transportation options.
The awards ceremony at Fenway Park celebrated the efforts of over 170 MassRIDES partners and MassCommute TMA (Transportation Management Associations) members. Nine employers were recognized for outstanding accomplishments, including:
Leadership in Commuter Options
• University of Massachusetts Lowell: Bicycle
• Takeda: Walk
• Harvard University: Transit
• MassMutual Financial Life Insurance Company: Vanpool
• Staples: Carpool
Leadership in Commuter Engagement
• Boston Children’s Hospital: Employer Transportation Coordinator
• Hanscom Air Force Base
Leadership in Innovation
• Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
The ECO Awards Ceremony is presented with sponsorships from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Eastern Bank, Edenred, vRide, NuRide, AECOM, Enterprise, Tufts Health Plan, TransAction Associates, 128 Business Council, and the Charles River Transportation Management Association. The generous support of these sponsors allows for greater recognition of sustainable transportation efforts throughout the Commonwealth.
Employers recognized at the fifth annual ECO Awards support GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative of MassDOT. Within its GreenDOT initiative, MassDOT and the MBTA have worked to dramatically reduce bus exhaust emissions by modernizing the MBTA bus fleet with the addition of Compressed Natural Gas, Electric Trolley, Dual Mode and Emissions Controlled Diesel buses. The MBTA is also undertaking the first locomotive retrofit project in the nation, testing a diesel oxidation catalyst on one commuter train. GreenDOT calls for MassDOT to incorporate sustainability into all of its activities, from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation. The GreenDOT policy initiative includes greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2008. This law requires an economy-wide 2020 emissions reduction mandate of 25 percent, the first step toward a required 80 percent reduction by 2050. The transportation sector generates more than one-third of the total greenhouse gas emissions produced in Massachusetts.
*This post has been adapted from the MassDOT blog