Five Organizations Receive Awards for Taking Big Steps to Improve Air Quality
(Philadelphia, PA) – As warmer weather approaches, so does the onset of ground-level ozone. High levels of ozone pose health risks for everyone, and large segments of the population are considered especially sensitive to air pollution. Fortunately, ozone levels are being monitored and the public can be alerted when levels become unhealthy. The Air Quality Partnership (AQP), a program of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, educates residents about the dangerous effects of ground-level ozone and provides air quality forecasts to the public.
To celebrate local initiatives and best practices to reduce air pollution, five organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region received 2017 Air Quality Partnership Excellence Awards. Each year, public and private institutions are honored for their efforts to improve air quality. They are:
The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Ewing, New Jersey: TCNJ has developed a comprehensive transportation plan to reduce emissions associated with commuting and transportation. Activities include promoting alternative means of getting to and from campus, developing a rideshare phone app, installing electric car charging stations, mapping links to regional bicycle and pedestrian trails, providing bicycle facilities, and implementing distance learning and telecommuting options. A bike rental program will begin next semester.
South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC), Camden, New Jersey: SJPC has been closely working with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to replace older diesel equipment, such as cranes, cargo handling equipment, and forklifts, to reduce emissions from port activities. SJPC is also an active participant in the Camden Collaborative Initiative, an organization whose goal is to improve the environmental conditions in Camden.
Pottstown School District, Pottstown, Pennsylvania: The Pottstown School District initiated a “walking school bus” for students at Rupert Elementary. The walking school bus addresses safety by providing 35 trained volunteers to walk groups of students to the school along three approved routes. This project not only improves air quality by reducing emissions, but encourages exercise and walking as an alternative to driving. In 2016, the program’s second year, more than 50 students signed up for the walking school bus, and they’ve totaled almost 500 miles.
Suburban Transportation Network (TransNet), Blue Bell, Pennsylvania: TransNet reduces emissions from single occupancy vehicles while providing mobility alternatives for local residents through an array of ride options. They include Senior Shared Ride; Upper Merion Rambler; Persons with Disabilities and Medical Assistance Transportation Programs; and last-mile and convenience shuttles for St. Joseph’s University, Montgomery County Community College East and West Campuses, and many other employers and corporate centers.
The University of Pennsylvania (Penn), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Penn reduces emissions from transportation sources through a comprehensive program that includes commuter transit benefits, parking management strategies, electric vehicle charging stations, bicycle facilities, alternative fueled fleet vehicles, and last-mile shuttles and van pools, among other sustainability measures. Penn utilizes a suite of strategies that serves as a best practice for other organizations.
DVRPC and the Air Quality Partnership congratulate these organizations for their outstanding leadership in improving air quality. Air Quality Awareness Week runs from May 1 to May 5 and it marks the start the AQP’s ozone season, which runs through September. As ozone season approaches, clean air programming like these awardees becomes even more critical for our region’s health and wellbeing.
“Businesses, nonprofits, local governments, and individuals all play important roles in reducing air pollution by cutting waste, conserving energy, and making wise transportation choices,” said DVRPC’s Executive Director, Barry Seymour. “Cooperation between people and organizations that care about the air we breathe presents our greatest opportunity to ensure cleaner air for our region.”
To sign up for free air quality alerts and resources, visit the new mobile-friendly website: www.airqualitypartnership.org. Daily air quality forecasts and helpful tips are also available on the website or by calling 1-800-872-7261.
About the Air Quality Partnership The Air Quality Partnership, administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, is a coalition of public and private organizations from New Jersey and Pennsylvania that work collaboratively to educate the public about ways to improve the region’s air quality. On days when air quality is forecast to be unhealthy, the Partnership declares an Air Quality Action Day and asks the public to take voluntary actions to protect their health and reduce pollution levels. For more information, visit www.airqualitypartnership.org.
DVRPC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for a diverse nine-county region in two states: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; and Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Mercer in New Jersey.
DVRPC's vision for the Greater Philadelphia Region is a prosperous, innovative, equitable, resilient, and sustainable region that increases mobility choices by investing in a safe and modern transportation system; that protects and preserves our natural resources while creating healthy communities; and that fosters greater opportunities for all.
DVRPC's mission is to achieve this vision by convening the widest array of partners to inform and facilitate data-driven decision-making. We are engaged across the region, and strive to be leaders and innovators, exploring new ideas and creating best practices.