Call-n-Ride for cleaner air

Batavia Pace Call-n-Ride offers a direct shuttle between Fermilab and the Geneva Metra train station five times a day. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Have you always wanted to live closer to Chicago but not suffer the headache of taking the Eisenhower every morning on your way to the lab? Or maybe you aren’t sure how to get from a train station to Fermilab. Now you can take the train to Geneva and catch the new Batavia Pace Call-n-Ride shuttle, which has a direct route to Fermilab twice each morning and three times in the afternoon.

For years, employees, users and students have asked for a service like Call-n-Ride to connect to a local train station. It permits more flexibility when choosing where to live and allows for alternative ways to get to work. This consideration of work-life balance is an important piece of the new program. But there is another benefit to the lab and to you.

Using public transportation helps reduce your carbon footprint. According to the American Public Transportation Association, by taking existing public transportation instead of driving a car for a 20-mile round trip, a single person saves 4,800 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. The personal vehicle is the biggest contributor to a household’s carbon footprint.

At the end of each fiscal year, Fermilab submits a Site Sustainability Plan to DOE that includes reporting of greenhouse gas emissions related to site operations as well as to employee commuting. Executive Order 13514 and DOE’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan require Fermilab to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to employee commuting and business travel 13 percent by 2020, using 2008 as the baseline year. Last year, Fermilab reported 5,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emission equivalent due to commuting. That’s almost three tons per employee!

Fermilab’s Sustainability Committee has been working hard to lower Fermilab’s carbon footprint by making it easier for staff to take alternative transportation to Fermilab. So far, the committee has encouraged carpooling by teaming up with Argonne’s GreenRide Connect website, featured in Fermilab Today in August 2013. Also, three dedicated car pool parking spots have become a permanent fixture in Wilson Hall’s west parking lot. The latest program, connecting the train station to Fermilab, will also help decrease our contribution to carbon emissions.

The Call-n-Ride program has been in place for only a week, but I have already received many notes of thanks. Gary VanZandbergen emailed, “I think I am going to try it for a while. If it works in my life schedule, I may become a permanent user. I live in Elmhurst, and on a day like yesterday (rain, accidents on the toll way) it took me a stressful 1.5 hours to get home in my car.”

If you have questions about the new Call-n-Ride, please email me. Together we can help clear the air.

Katie Kosirog