USF's Transportation Center (CUTR) takes over EPA's BEST WORKPLACES FOR COMMUTERS program

(TAMPA, Fla. May 6, 2008) – The Center for Urban Transportation Research  (CUTR), the University of South Florida’s internationally-recognized resource for transportation policy and education, has taken over the federal government’s Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC) program.  The program was initiated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and United States Department of Transportation in 2002 to identify and recognize those U.S. companies offering employees significant incentives and programs that encourage commuting alternatives aimed at saving energy and money as well as reducing air pollution.  Responsibility for the BWC program shifted to USF in late 2007. 

“Best Workplaces for Commuters recognizes employers who offer commuter benefits such as subsidized transit passes, vanpool subsidies, ride-matching services and telework programs,” said Philip L. Winters, CUTR’s national program manager for Best Workplaces for Commuters.  “Offering commuter benefits is a win-win situation whereby employees who change their commuting habits save time, money and stress.  Moreover, their employers gain a competitive edge in employee recruiting and retention as well as being able to take advantage of federal tax benefits that encourage smarter commuting practices.”

Winters, who has been with CUTR since 1993, has served in leadership positions at the national level in transportation planning since 1980.  At CUTR, he is program manager for transportation demand management (TDM).

According to Winters, CUTR’s responsibility will be to identify and recognize companies of all sizes that meet the BWC National Standard of Excellence as established by the EPA.  Recognition will allow companies to use the Best Workplaces for Commuters logo in a variety of communications, such as on Web sites, in job postings, employee handbooks and on letterhead.

“Our evaluations are underway, data is being complied, and we will be pleased to share the 2008 results,” said Winters. “By opening the window on best practices and Best Workplaces for Commuters, we hope to continue the trend toward energy and dollar savings.”

According to Winters, the number of employers supporting the goals of reducing drive-alone commuting has risen sharply since the EPA introduced the program in 2002.

CUTR conducts nearly $8 million in research annually for a variety of public and private sector sponsors in Florida and the United States, including the Florida Legislature, the Florida Transportation Commission, and state and local governments, agencies, and organizations. Areas of research include public transportation, transportation planning, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), transportation demand management (TDM), transportation economics and finance, geographic information systems, access management, alternative fuels, and transportation safety, among others.

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

– USF –