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465090-1 Report Abstract

Houston Employee Commute Options Program: An Analysis of Options and Their Potential Energy and Emissions Benefits

J.A. Crawford, K.M. Hall and K.S. Rao, Texas A&M University, July 1996, 192 pp. (465090-1)

A specific program of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments is the Employer Trip Reduction Program (ETR), which is sometimes recognized as the Employee Commute Options (ECO) program. This program required all employers of 100 or more employees in severe and extreme nonattainment areas to develop and implement plans that increase the automobile passenger occupancy (APO) levels of vehicles arriving to the worksite between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. by 25 percent.

In cooperation with the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC), a database of submitted and approved ETR plans and worksite registration forms was developed. The database represents approximately 1,200 worksites that accounts for 396,488 employees in the eight-county nonattainment area that arrive to the worksite between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. This database represents the most comprehensive collection of employee and employer preferences toward TCM/TDM strategies on a regional scale in Texas.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential impact of the ETR program on Houston’s mobile source emissions and fuel consumption. A secondary objective was to evaluate the characteristics of the ETR program through plans submitted by affected worksites.

The ETR database was used to evaluate the potential effectiveness of the ETR program throughout the eight-county nonattainment area had it achieved 100 percent compliance and met the target average passenger occupancies set in the plan. To supplement this analysis, a survey was conducted to determine the indirect trip rates caused as a result of participation in the ETR program. The database was also used for an initial examination into the preferences of employees and employers in choosing specific transportation control measures. Recommendations for future research, based on the finding from this study, are also presented in the report.

Keywords: Employer Trip Reduction Program, Clean Air Act Amendments, Mobile Source Emissions, Automobile Energy Benefits, Employee Commute Options Program, Transportation Control Measures

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Reference Report #465090-1