The County of Los Angeles is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. This week, the Board passed a motion making it easier for County employees to lessen their use of single occupancy vehicles in favor of greener methods of travel such as biking or public transportation.

A review by the County’s Chief Sustainability Officer shows that approximately 15% of motor vehicle trips taken by County employees are less than 10 miles roundtrip and 5% are less than 5 miles! Many of these trips, such as those for meetings and site visits, can easily be converted to other modes of transportation such as transit, shared-ride service, and bicycle. Factoring in finding parking in expensive areas and that famous Los Angeles traffic, not only are these alternative methods of travel better for the environment, they have the potential to save employees and the County itself valuable time and money.

As the largest public employer in the Los Angeles County region, the County of Los Angeles employs over 108,000 full-time employees. A motion co-authored this week by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Supervisor Hilda Solis outlines several ways the county can encourage the use of biking and transit as an alternative to traveling by car. For example, the motion allows for changes to the Mileage Authorization & Reimbursement System (MARS), allowing employees to submit reimbursement requests for transit, bicycle, rideshare, and other trips just as easily as such employees today enter their automobile mileage and parking reimbursement requests. It also proposes creating a program that allows employees to check out a Metro transit pass (TAP card) that would be usable on over 20 transit systems in Los Angeles, as well as the Metro Bike Share program.

“The County has championed many environmentally friendly policies and programs, from the creation of the Chief Sustainability Office to supporting state legislation requiring ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “With this motion, we are making sure that our internal policies reflect those environmentally conscious values as well.”

In addition to reducing the County’s motor vehicle emissions, this motion also encourages County employees to choose active, healthy transportation options during work hours. Going green is truly a win-win!