Thanks to a new partnership between Fort McPherson and The Clean Air Campaign, going green can get people some "green."

To help alleviate pollution in the area, the two groups are funding a campaign to increase the amount of people using alternative methods to commute to work.

Those who participate can earn $3 a day, up to $100 over three months.

"In metro Atlanta, half of all smog-forming emissions come from the tailpipes of cars and trucks," said Melissa Smither, CAC employer program manager.

"On top of that, the average daily roundtrip commute in the region covers 40 miles, creating traffic congestion that ranks among the nation's worst."

These two factors created a problem that needed to be addressed, leading to the creation of CAC, a private, non-profit organization that operates exclusively in Georgia, in 1996 by a union of government, business, civic, health, environmental and educational organizations, Smither said.

Since its inception, the campaign has been looking for new partners in its mission, leading the CAC to the gates of Fort McPherson.

Working with a large employer like Fort McPherson greatly reduces the environmental footprint of the area, Smither said.

Owen Nuttall, chief of the Base Realignment and Closure environmental office, said reducing the carbon footprint of Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem is a major issue. People can reduce their carbon emissions by carpooling, vanpooling, riding transit, bicycling or walking, Smither said.

Anyone who makes this change can go to the Web site www.commuterrewards.com to register for money and prizes, assuming they've met additional eligibility requirements including: having never been accepted into the program, currently driving alone to work, working one or more weekdays, having not used a clean commute for more than three days of the past 30 days, and having not regularly commuted by carpool, vanpool, transit, bike, walk, or telework in the past two years.

While new commuters can earn money for making the switch, those already utilizing an alternate transportation method can also earn incentives.

These individuals can visit Web site www.logyourcommute.com/FortMcPherson to begin a transportation log of their travels, Smither said. Once registered, commuters can update their log daily, entering themselves for a chance to win $25 gift cards.

"The more you log your clean commutes, the greater your chances of winning monthly drawings of $25," Smither said, adding carpools with three or more people can also earn monthly gas cards from the site.

The site also helps people find potential carpool or vanpool partners. Smither said current response to the Web site has been great, with 153 employees signing up in the past two months. Smither added she was also impressed with the effects of the partnership.

"Fort McPherson and The Clean Air Campaign are already working annually to eliminate 314,023 miles of travel from Georgia roads, keep 157 tons of pollution out of the air we breathe and save Fort McPherson personnel $157,012 on commuting costs," she said.

Still, Smither said there is always more work to be done and would like to see more personnel at Fort McPherson choose alternatives to driving alone.

Besides keeping pollution out of the air and becoming eligible to win prizes, alternate commuters save money on gas and car expenses, she added.

For times when emergencies pop up, there are programs such as "Guaranteed Ride Home" to help get an individual home.

Overall, Smither said involvement in the partnership helps the environment and commuters.

For more information, visit the Web sites www.logyourcommute.com/fortmcpherson, www.commuterrewards.com/Cash-for-Commuters, or www.CleanAirCampaign.org.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16