What is Smart Commute?
Are you constantly caught in traffic on the way to and from work every day? The average commuting time in the GTA is currently the longest in North America, exceeding an hour and twenty minutes each day.
That is why the Town of Newmarket and York Region partnered with the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce to launch Smart Commute Central York (SCCY) in 2007 to promote sustainable modes of commuting, which include carpooling, transit, biking, walking and teleworking.
In Newmarket, SCCY encourages commuters to explore alternative transportation options by providing public awareness events, commuter information and sharing best practices and policies. Its free ride matching website, CarpoolZone.ca, helps commuters find a carpool partner. SCCY is one of 13 Smart Commute offices as a part of a network that services more than 300 employers with a commuter population of over 700,000 people.
Annual campaigns like Carpool Week, Bike to Work Day, Clean Air Commute and Smart Commute Week encourage commuters to give sustainable commuting options a try. Some employers in the program also provide transit and carpooling incentives as well as end-of-trip facilities like reserved carpool parking spaces, secure bike racks, shower facilities and teleconferencing technology.
Effort, Innovation, and Impressive Results
Since 2007, SCCY has helped to
- Reduce almost 145,000 “drive-alone” trips, equivalent to filling Upper Canada Mall’s parking lot more than 28 times with cars taken off the road.
- Eliminate nearly 8 million vehicle kilometres travelled, equal to almost 200 trips around the world.
- Avoid over 700 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions, about the same amount of CO2 emitted from over 29,000 propane barbeque cylinders.
Southlake Regional Health Centre joined the Smart Commute program in 2007, when 82% of its employees drove to work alone. A recent follow-up survey in 2013 found an 11% drop down to 71% in those who drive alone and carpooling increased by 6%. Southlake is just one example of our many successes.
In 2014, the Town of Newmarket proudly became a first-time recipient of the Gold Workplace Designation from SCCY for demonstrating effort, innovation and success in encouraging employees to choose alternatives to driving alone. This achievement was a result of concerted efforts from Town staff over the past year. The Town of Newmarket is an outstanding example of a workplace that is committed to sustainable commuting and I congratulate Town staff for their efforts.
Transportation continues to be a growing concern throughout the GTA and the Town of Newmarket looks forward to furthering its support and commitment to transforming the way commuters travel to and from work in order to improve our community.