In February, participants in Utah’s Clear the Air Challenge eliminated 89,076 trips, saved 1.43 million miles and $423,388, and burned 2.12 million calories, according to the initiative’s website.
Michelle Brown encourages state employees to continue the trend by using public transit, biking, and telecommuting when possible. These transportation options were the focus of a three-month social media campaign the Utah Transportation Department (UDOT) launched, Brown, state coordinator of resource stewardship for the Utah Department of Administrative Services (DAS) told the Legislature’s Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee on June 20.
The campaign led to a 2000 percent increase in visitors to the TravelWise website (https://travelwise.utah.gov), a majority of whom had never visited the site before.
“Transportation continues to be a key best practice,” Brown explained when introducing successful DAS programs. She said the Telematics Program is a voluntary pilot program that encourages drivers to set operating parameters, which in turn increase fuel efficiency and safety and reduce the need for maintenance. In the first year of the program, unnecessary idling was prevented, miles per gallon increased, and aggressive driving and accident costs decreased. Brown said the program is environmentally conscious, improves air quality, and is financially responsible and viable. It also aligns with Gov. Gary Herbert’s Idle Reduction Executive Order.
Another success story comes from the Division of Fleet Operations. It supplemented its fleet with 632 Tier 3 vehicles in the past fiscal year. Tier 3 vehicles emit 80 percent less volatile organic nitrous oxide. Additionally, Fleet Operations expanded the electrical vehicle (EV) infrastructure. The state contracted five new EV vendors, allowing for expansion and installment of EV chargers at three state facilities (Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Governor’s Office of Energy Development, and the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) at Cal Rampton).
Brown noted that state agencies are being recognized for their continued efforts to engage in public outreach. The Division of Fleet Operations was awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Energy and Environment for its 15 percent decrease in emissions from fleet vehicles. UDOT was recognized as UCAIR’s 2018 Community Partner for optimizing mobility, reducing energy, and improving air quality through the TravelWise Program.
Members of the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee, were pleased with Utah state agencies’ actions. Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, praised Brown for her hard work, and asked whether DAS could accomplish more with additional staff. Brown explained she has the help of 42 stewardship liaisons representing each state agency to help the department achieve its goals, but extra hands are always appreciated.
The Utah Public Employees’ Association encourages members to be aware and participate in activities that help keep Utah air clean.