Improving Air Quality in Austin

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It’s probably something you’ve heard about in passing, but many people don’t know what it actually is. Ozone is the primary component of smog and it’s formed when the emissions from cars, trucks, and industrial facilities combine and “cook” in the heat of the sun. When ozone levels are high, it can cause health problems, especially for children, the elderly, and those with asthma.

So what can we do about it? That’s what Air Quality Awareness Week (which happened last week) was all about. Since cars are a primary driver of ozone pollution, and Austin has a lot of cars, much of the focus around improving local air quality is tied to reducing gas-powered car use.

Earlier this month, some of the city’s experts gathered to share ideas about the ways that Austinites can help reduce ozone pollution. Here’s a snapshot of what they came up with:

  • Stop driving to work alone! – Commute Solutions is an online tool that helps you find a carpool buddy in your area. It also allows you to log your carpool trips and earn prizes for helping to reduce local air pollution and traffic. You can sign up here>>
  • Sign up for MetroRideShare – Speaking of carpooling, if you’re weary about using your own personal vehicle to carpool, Capital Metro is here to help. Their MetroRideShare program allows groups of 5 to 12 commuters to sign up for a month-to-month lease of a Capital Metro van. Don’t have a group of fellow carpoolers in mind? Call Cap Metro anyway. They might be able to match you up with a team. More info>>
  • Ride the bus for less by encouraging your employer to sign up for Cap Metro’s MetroWorks program – MetroWorks helps employers design benefit packages that include public transit and discounted bus passes.

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