Mass Transit Administration Issues Recommendations:

May Marks Clean Air Month--and Clean Commute Month

Why a Clean Commute Month? A majority of Maryland workers commute to work alone in their cars each day. Our commuting practices, although convenient, are harmful to our health and the environment. Each year, much of Maryland exceeds the federal health-based standard for ground-level ozone. Exposure to high concentrations of ground level ozone is unhealthy and can cause eye and throat irritation, coughing, and may cause or worsen respiratory ailments. Over one-third of ozone-forming pollutants nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) come from tailpipe emissions and gasoline vapors.

Why May? May is the beginning of the "ozone season." Ground level ozone gets worse during warmer months of the year when increased and more intense sunlight speeds the conversion of NOx and VOCs to ozone.

What is a clean commute? Walking, bicycling, sharing a ride, taking public transit, and teleworking are all alternatives to driving alone in our cars and helps to reduce traffic congestion and tailpipe emissions. Try walking or bicycling those short distances to the to the neighborhood library, store or playground. Try carpooling, riding public transit, or even bicycling when commuting to work.

Bicycling is a clean, viable way of commuting to work, especially for those commutes of five miles or less. For longer commutes, consider combining bicycling with riding public transit bikes are permitted on Mass Transit Administration (MTA) Light Rail and Metro subway trains, and buses in Annapolis and many MTA buses have bike racks. There are many benefits to bicycle commuting reduced traffic congestion, reduced commuter costs, and improved physical fitness. To promote bicycling and to help commuters and employers get started, Bike to Work Day 2002 will be held on Friday, May 3 in Baltimore, Annapolis, and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

For more information about MTA schedules, call 410-539-5000.

To learn more about clean commute options and how to start a workplace program, visit

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This story was published on May 2, 2002.