2013 Diamond Awards recognize outstanding efforts of regional traffic-busting commuter programs

Photos by Metro

More and more people are ridesharing, and it helps when companies give their employees assistance and incentives to do so! Those who rideshare save on gas money and commuting time, and they also benefit the environment. And those who promote ridesharing in Southern California? Read on to find out.

Here’s the press release from Metro:

The Diamond Awards, now in its fifteenth year, are co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) annually to recognize the significant achievements of corporate rideshare programs in the region and their contribution toward decreasing gasoline consumption, air pollution and commuter costs as well as improving mobility. The 2013 Diamond Awards ceremony was held on May 22 at The Grove in Los Angeles.

Illuminating a stellar effort in bringing some relief to the region’s congested streets, the Corporate Blue Diamond Award for 2013 was awarded to the City of Pasadena. The city’s rideshare program, called “Prideshare,” maintains a consistently high rate of participation every year and continues to lead the way in innovation in promoting and easing workday commutes and reducing traffic.

In all, 22 rideshare programs coordinated by employers in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties were recognized for their efforts to bring relief to the region’s congested streets. Among top rideshare programs in Los Angeles County are the City of Torrance, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Herbalife International, WellPoint, Jones Lang LaSalle, Aerospace Dynamics International and the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

A special Jade Award – for excellence in a vanpool program – went to the City of Los Angeles for its vanpool advocacy and development. Los Angeles began its vanpool program 20 years ago and currently has nearly 100 vans on the road with 820 full-time riders.

Honorable mentions lauded: USC Transportation, UCLA Transportation and FirstSouthwest.

OCTA awarded a Corporate Blue Diamond Award to Irvine Ranch Water District for its impressive increase in rideshare rate and expanded vanpool fleet. Its excellent marketing outreach has fostered ridesharing among new hires, creating good commuting habits from the get-go.

Other Orange County leaders acknowledged in commuting and parking management excellence were the City of Anaheim, UC Irvine Transportation and LPS Default Title & Closing. An honorable mention was given to Oakley.

Additional honors in Ventura County went to Adventist Media Center and Oxnard Walmart. Special recognition in ridesharing was given to Waterway Plastics and the City of Ventura. An honorable mention was given to Amgen.

The Diamond Award winners provide solutions to the issues brought up in the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2012 Annual Urban Mobility Report, which noted that traffic congestion continues to plague American cities of all sizes, creating a $121 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy in the form of 5.52 billion lost work hours and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel.

However, while the traffic forecast for the nation is dismal, the outlook in Southern California is optimistic because of the commendable efforts in corporate ridesharing and other solutions already in place. Among them is Metro ExpressLanes, a one-year pilot demonstration program that has converted high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in segments along the I-110 and I-10 freeways. The rideshare program also includes the improvement of transit service and other alternatives to driving, such as bicycling, and the updating of transit facilities in order to relieve congestion throughout Los Angeles County.