This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 15, 2002

EPA Recognizes Nearly 300 Commuter Choice Leaders

Companies that encourage alternatives to solo commuting in a car - alternatives like public transit, compressed work schedules, and carpooling or vanpooling - help their workers save energy while reducing traffic and the air pollution it generates. In recognition of these benefits, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation sponsor the Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative, a business-government partnership to encourage smart alternatives to the everyday commute. On May 14th, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman joined Mary Peters, Federal Highway Administrator, in recognizing the nearly 300 companies participating in the partnership. See the EPA press release.

Such alternatives appear to be working: according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the use of public transportation in the United States grew twice as fast as car use in 2001. Public transportation ridership increased 2 percent to a record 9.5 billion rides in 2001. APTA attributed much of the growth to cities that were investing in transit system expansions, such as Los Angeles, Denver, and Washington, D.C. See the APTA press release.

Las Vegas, Nevada, may soon join those cities: the gambling town is embarking on the largest monorail system in the United States. With funding coming entirely from the private sector, the Las Vegas Monorail will run along the east side of the Las Vegas Strip, linking seven stations over four miles. A fleet of nine 4-car trains is expected to begin operating in early 2004. The system is expected to carry 19 million passengers in its first year of operation. See the Las Vegas Monorail Company Web site.