Have you ever added up how long you spend commuting to work in a car? Today is Earth Day, and to honor the occasion, I urge you to take a minute to calculate your commute and look at it over the course of the year. You will probably be shocked.

Most employees are driving alone and spending up to nine days on average commuting per year. I personally spend eight hours a week, so if you do the math, that's over two weeks (ugg) I could spend working or on vacation. Carpool people, I got to write this column during my commute becuase I carpool.

Recently I was at the Grounded Summit where Governor Jerry Brown was the keynote discussing Climate Change. He hammered home that simple behavior changes are as important as complex climate solutions. He went on a rant about how much he loves carpools. He told a story about how he carpooled all through law school. "And guess what, I made those folks I carpooled with judges when we got elected, so there is mutual benefit," he said.

The commute is a crisis affecting all of our communities.  Increasing amounts of people live in locations without access to transit. Our dependence on cars is leading to more air pollution, which is creating a health crisis. 

Point is, we're all suffering from the effects of a bad commute. How do we fix this? With collaboration from public and private sectors to invest in shared mobility, and by prioritizing shared mobility, we can reduce traffic and pollution for cities, all while improving business margins for companies.

The private sector holds the key to shifting how we commute to work.  And most of all, it will save them money and increase employee retention. Many businesses don't realize it but the commute is impacting their margins. According to CNBC, 23 percent of people quit because of their commute. How do you feel after you sit in traffic? It makes people unproductive and can damage the employee experience, and even their health.

Employers have the ability to survey their employee population to discover how they commute, and uncover the ways it impacts their workforce. This will allow them to discover how the commute is creating hurdles for their company and build effective commuter solutions. The app Scoop, founded by brothers Jon & Rob Sadow, helps employers manage successful carpooling programs for their workforce between employees.

We're at a point where we need swift action that invests in shared solutions for our current commute crisis. Public and private sectors hold the keys to making lasting changes that benefit our longevity and they will make more money. So share a ride, make a friend, and save the environment on Earth Day.

Published on: Apr 22, 2019
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